Thursday, October 24, 2013

Is Gentle the New Strong?

    This month I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about. It happens. Sometimes I am full of ideas and other times, not so much. I turned to my trusty resource bank, the internet, to see if reading a few good writing blogs would suddenly ignite some inner hidden spark. Not sure that happened, but I did come across an article I found interesting in one of those “not sure how I feel about this kind of ways.” Maybe that just happens to me, but I doubt it.

    I focused my reading on character development. I think with the endless amount of Halloween costume ads and commercials right now I have characters on the brain. So I googled “strong characters” just to see what would pop up and happened upon a blog post by a woman named Sophia McDougall entitled “I Hate Strong Female Characters.” Well that got me intrigued! A female blogger raging against strong female characters? I had to be missing something.

    I reviewed her post to find McDougall’s issue is more about how women are either strong or weak and very little in between. In her opinion, labeling women as strong puts them in a box, continues to isolate, and prevents audiences from seeing them as equals to their male counterparts. It’s a rather long post but if you would like to check it out, here you go:

     And now my thoughts, for whatever they're worth. I found a good portion of this blog post rather frustrating. McDougall primarily focused on women’s strengths only in regard to their physicality - their ability to punch, kick, fight, etc. It was not until the very end that she finally connected strength with broader (and more important) ideas of peace, intelligence, compromise, resilience, perseverance, and commitment.

    When I think of strong female characters, Charlie’s Angels don’t come to my mind. Neither do any of those superheroes. To me, strong characters include the likes of Jane Eyre, Hermione Granger, Anne Frank, Prim Everdeen, and Jo March.

    What makes a female character strong in your opinion? Got a few favorites?


  1. You are right that a strong female character goes beyond being physical strength. Characters with physical disabilities can also be strong. In the book "The Miracle Worker," Annie Sullivan, herself slightly impaired, showed strength of character and determination when she taught Helen Keller.

  2. Excellent example Donna! Both women faced tremendous challenges but persevered. "Miss Spitfire" is an excellent book about Annie Sullivan and her journey working with Helen.