Kate Beaton posted a comic about a week ago. Clicky
(Well not quite, but it has been popular)
I’ve wondered for a long time if, when I state I want to see more strong female characters I simply mean women with their own agency. Of course kick ass women are cool. Just as kick ass men are. But you don’t have to be Buffy to be a strong female character. And you don’t have to be a ‘tough’ women, ignoring legitimate feelings, pretending you are made of steel. You don’t have to suffer to be a strong woman. You don’t have to play the men at their own game (whatever that means.)
I think, a strong female character, is an independent one. Not one unaffected by love or emotion but one who is doing what she wants to do. She’s loving or not loving who she want to love. She’s finding a path right for her in the middle of a rather difficult world. A Strong Female Character is not just A Protagonist*, but a protagonist who is muti-dimensional, who has interest outside of the subject of their affections. If indeed they have one; but let’s face it, love is a good motivating factor in stories.
In the interests of balance, I will say that of course many male characters, especially in Hollywood films, suffer from personalities as flat as a pancake. One dimensional women are to a certain extent matched by the number of one dimensional men. However, I think the difference is that there are simply more male protagonists. More men who have differing flat pancake personalities. And some that even have full developed ones. If you don’t like x as a lead, maybe you’d like y instead.
I think this also leads into the importance of male characters. Often at the end of an awards ceremony you give away the Best Actor trophy, having given the Best Actress one previously because it’s just that little bit not as important as Best Actor. Pixar are only just releasing their first film with a female lead. Looking at the promo material she appears to be a ‘strong’ woman, a ‘feisty’ redhead, and I imagine by the end she’ll fall in love with her man. I hope I am wrong but I suspect I am not.
*After all Bridget Jones is the star of her show, but she’s weak and only interested in being part of a couple. A Married Couple.