Daily Archives: March 8, 2017

Strong Female Characters Essay series

A few years ago, I wrote a series of blog posts talking about “Strong Female Characters” and the problems that we have with those types of characters. To recap, here’s the essays that I’ve written so far:

OK, so it’s been a while since I’ve done this series, but not to worry, as I’m giving this series a much-needed reboot in the coming weeks. So watch for it!


About Women’s Day 2017

It’s no surprise to you that most of the main characters in my stories are girls. After all, it’s easier for me to fall back to writing about girls than it is to write about guys.

But I warn you now, most of my female characters are not “strong women”. Far from it. In fact, the female characters I write about don’t seem to care about feminism, as most of them have other things to worry about.

For example, the girls of my YA series “The Green Hill Manor Mystery” don’t have time to concern themselves with being a female, as it’s harder to be a girl in a town where girls with disabilities are being killed simply because of their disabilities. Plus, the girls don’t concern themselves too much with school or relationships, not when their mutual friend has gone missing and very few people seem to care about her fate. So feminism won’t work there.

In my story “Janette Lennox”, Janette deals with not only being a pseudo-orphan, but also being a girl in a world where being an orphan means that other children have the right to pick on you without repercussion. (Small wonder why she didn’t have a lot of friends before going to Gamaris!) Feminist Janette would have kicked the butts of the kids who made fun of her, but that’s not how I write. Janette needs the help of other people to cope with her unhappy life circumstances.

Likewise, Lycia Stormfield comes into a leadership role at age 18. She has very little confidence in her magical abilities and was kept isolated from the world by people seeking to control her. Despite that, she quickly learns that the world is unforgiving towards people who are ignorant of the world they live in. Lycia knows that in spite of everything, she was to be a leader for a reason.

Nadia from “Life, Sin, & Blood” is more of a moderate feminist, as she’s strong, independent, and will whatever it takes to get what she wants. But when an unexpected house fire sends her to relatives in South Carolina, Nadia quickly learns that she was spoiled and a bully; she’s forced to change her ways. Of course, let’s not forget about Nadia’s friend Joanna Norwood, who has seen the progression of women over the centuries and hates what she sees. She also reminds Nadia about what a woman should and shouldn’t be.

Other girls I will discuss are Noelle Forbes, Kristin Hernandez, Juniper Chadwell, Temmy Bennett, Josie Stebbins, and Elva Shepherd. These girls grew up in a world where your life circumstances, not your race or gender, determined how your life would take its course. Noelle is a girl geek in a world where being a geek was discouraged, especially for girls. Her being a fangirl puts her at odds against not only her family and friends, but against a school that would rather have her wearing short skirts than reading a book.

Kristin is the girl who loves social media and hides behind it to escape from an unhappy home life. She prides herself on being an independent girl, which causes trouble in her new school. That school controlled what a girl should and shouldn’t do, and using social media was one of those things girls weren’t allowed to do. As for Juniper, she too is a reader of books, but girls in her story weren’t allowed to read fantasy. In fact, they were forced to read stories about teen dating and relationships, two things Juniper vowed never to touch. She pretends to be a princess, but when her fantasies give way to reality, she learns that being a princess wasn’t what she imagined.

Temmy Bennett was marked by her circumstances; she lost her parents at an early age and lived with cruel relatives. She is sure that one way or another, those relatives would find a way to get rid of her and her older brother. As she says in her story, “When has feminism helped anyone? Women like [Setsuke’s mother] are being told that their traditions have no place in the United States and they must give up those traditions and embrace feminism”. She has seen that feminism isn’t strong enough to save her from her unhappy life.

On the other hand, Josie is fiercely independent, yet rebels against the status quo. She’s not a huge fan of feminism, as she’s seen that feminism has forced her Iranian father to stay at home and her mother is forced to work for long hours without much pay. Plus, judging from how her friends were treated by the women in their lives, Josie realizes that it’s best if she follows the traditional ways of her father’s homeland instead of trying to live an empty life as an American.

Elva Shepherd is another fiercely independent girl; in fact, she rejects most of the rules placed on orphan girls in favor of living her own life. Yet when she ends up in Greywyn Academy, she learns that she was her mother’s biggest secret. And yet, she breaks many rules to get to where she is.

So as you can see, I don’t write “strong” female characters. In fact, my characters have issues that prevent them from becoming “strong”, weaknesses that can destroy them in a second. But I do write about females more than I write about males, which should tell you something about me as a writer and as a person.

I’ll be back with another essay about my female characters.