I'm Tired of "Strong" Female Characters Part Three

Friday, June 29, 2018

Last week, I shared three tips on crafting a strong female character in this blog post. This week, I've saved my biggest tip for last. It's just one tip, but I've saved this for one big post so that it's easier to understand and apply. Are you ready? Here we go! 
Let Her Be Strong in Other Ways.
The only way that strong women seem to be depicted as being strong is in a fierce and violent way. 

The strong woman is the one beating up all of the bad guys. She's the one leading the rebels into battle. She's the one going undercover. She's doing what the guys can't (my thoughts on this will need to wait for a different post). But fighting isn't the only way a woman can be strong.

One strong woman in fiction is Arwen of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series. 

She doesn't fight anyone. She doesn't kill anyone. She doesn't run around "breaking stereotypes" and "proving that women can do whatever men can do." Yet she doesn't sit around making doilies either. Arwen waits loyally for Aragorn to come back to her. She never lets go of the hope that she will be reunited with Aragorn. She encourages others around her. She is full of grace and isn't afraid to be feminine. 


 

Arwen makes the hard choice to stay behind with the man she loves instead of leaving Middle Earth with her people for someplace far safer. She refuses to let go of love, even if it is the "easier" way out.

Sometimes, being strong doesn't mean chasing the bad guys. Sometimes, it means simply being brave, no matter what's going on around you. Sometimes it means being strong for others, even if we aren't the ones charging into battle against an army of orcs.

Doesn't it take more strength to heal than it does to hurt? 

Coolest place ever, and I will continue checking all wardrobes until I find it. xD 

Lucy Pevensie, from C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, was given a special healing cordial from Father Christmas. She uses this cordial to heal others, including her brother Edmund. Yes, Lucy uses a dagger when necessary, but she is primarily a healer, in my opinion.

It takes more strength to heal and mend than it does to hurt others. It takes more strength to help others than to tear them down. Women were designed by God to be nurturing, loving, and caring. These traits shine in healing. Why shouldn't the strong women of fiction do more healing, not just in the physical sense, but also in the spiritual sense? 

We need to see more women who are strong in character in the books we read.



When I think of a strong female character that is strong in character, I almost immediately think of DC Comic's Wonder Woman. Wait a minute, you may be saying. Isn't she one of those cliché strong women? And aren't you a Marvel Comics fan?* Well, yes, Wonder Woman does a whole lot of this....



...But what I love about Wonder Woman is that she has a strong character. She is full of compassion. She wants to help others. She stands strong in her beliefs, no matter what. She encourages the people around her. She is full of grace, and despite all of her fighting for justice, she is also gentle. Wonder Woman isn't just strong physically, but she is also strong in character. She's a great example of a strong female in fiction, in my opinion. Her character is something that girls can truly look up to!

*Yes, I am a HUGE Marvel Comics fan, but I have two exceptions to my I-don't-like-DC-that-much stance. Those two exceptions are the Flash (Grant Gustin's Flash, of course) and Wonder Woman. 

These are just a few ways that women in fiction can break free from our culture's fake version of strength and be truly strong. 

I've only scratched the surface of this subject with this post. There are so many different ways women can be strong without having to hurt others or be a ninja-warrior. Are there women that can beat up bad guys? Yes, there absolutely are. Is there anything wrong with having a female character who happens to be skilled in archery or swordplay? No, there isn't. But girls need to see more than just that in the women they look up to fiction. 

I hope you'll join me next week as I wrap up this series on strong female characters. 


What do you think? What are some other ways women can be strong? 

13 comments:

  1. I LOVE Wonder Woman. She's so epic and strong but still feminine and sweet, and I appreciated her character so much. That's the kind of female character I think girls /should/ be able to look up to. <3

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    1. I appreciated her character so much as well! It was so refreshing to see a female superhero like her. <3

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  2. I love all of these characters, they are almost sweet in a way.

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  3. I love this series that you're doing :) If I'd answer your question, whatever I'd say would only fall under categories like character and virtue, quietness and loyalty -- which you've basically already covered. You make some really great points and I can't wait to see what more you have to say!

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    1. Thank you, Grace! =) I love that you pointed out quietness. In our culture, to be strong means to raise your voice, to be heard, to be known. Yet sometimes it takes more strength to be quiet.

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    2. Yes, I think I've always appreciated the strength and spirit of people, especially those with a tendency to be quiet. And a great supporting verse that just came to mind is Peter 3:3-6, an exhortation that sadly is being disregarded by much of our culture today :(

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  4. Yes! So true! I believe that a characteristic of a strong woman is having high standards for herself. Knowing who she confidently is in Christ, and not going with the status quo of the world. Its in the quiet moments of life, where God gives us strength for the bigger moments to come!

    Livvy
    P.S. Come for a visit to my blog? belivy.blogspot.com
    Thanks!

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    1. Those are great characteristics of strong women that you pointed out! =)

      Lovely blog! Also, you have a new blog follower! =)

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  5. WONDER WOMAN!!!! <3 <3 <3
    'Strong female' cliches drive me nuts, but I don't think Diana was one of them. She's physically stronger than most of the men, yes, but that's explained in the world building. Watching Wonder Woman was such a powerful experience, especially as a young lady. I love how caring and gentle she is, despite her strength. She isn't hateful, she's loving, and her whole goal in fighting is to find peace.
    (AND CAN WE TALK ABOUT STEVE TREVOR FOR A SEC PLEASE. <3 THANK YOU.)

    Wonder Woman rant over (*cough*), this was a great post. Lucy Pevensie though! I think reading the Chronicles of Narnia before I was ten made a HUGE impact on how I view myself as a woman. Probably my favorite of your three posts, what a finale! =) I'd love your thoughts about the differences between male and female character though. . . I always hesitate to just say "girls are more caring," because I know a lot of guys that are super caring and kind. Being loving is just part of being Christ-like. Maybe it's just not that simple though--I know you can't just bundle good character into a flat stereotype. =)

    -Hanna
    takingmytime.rothfuss.us

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    1. Diana didn't drive me nuts either! It was such a great experience to watch Wonder Woman with my little sisters and for all of us to get to see a truly strong woman on the big screen. I did cry though... =(
      (AND YES STEVE TREVOR IS AWESOME!)

      Thanks! =) I'm excited to present my thoughts on that... It's going to be quite the rant. xD I agree with you. I think that there are lots of differences between men and women that are getting erased in the YA genre today, and it's sad to see.

      Thanks for your sweet comment, Hanna! They always make my day!

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  6. My favorite thing about Wonder Woman was that in the end such an emphasis was put on her compassion, it was truly her biggest strength which made her so unique. Great post!

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    1. I loved that about Wonder Woman too! She wasn't just fierce-she was loving. She was kind. She had a good heart and good intentions. And thanks! =)

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