By Nick “Novel” Gabanski
For years upon years, women were pushed to the back while men got all the glory and success in tales of adventure and daring quests. Always getting captured or kidnapped and waiting helplessly for the hero to rescue her, the typical female character was weak, unintelligent and beautiful; making her the perfect trophy for any man after completing a perilous journey.
Lately though, that’s changed and so much for the better. Female characters are no longer being portrayed as the pathetic and helpless damsel-in-distress, but are taking the leading roles by storm and pushing the men aside. Because of how female characters have been written in the past, being portrayed as weak and helpless, this has given rise to the term “strong female character”. Usually, these characters are the main characters, but, you can still have side-characters that are strong too. In this modern age though, the female hero gets the main role now. And who doesn’t love a strong female character? It’s always satisfying to watch a woman with a blade or a gun in her hands while fighting her way through obstacles and bad guys, overcoming insurmountable odds that would make a male character wet himself.
However… because everyone loves seeing this now-iconic image of a woman with a weapon in her hand, the concept of what she is has become twisted and alienated. Ask yourself: “What defines a strong female character? What is she capable of?” If all you can think of is “a woman who can fight and take care of herself without the help of a man is what defines a strong female character”, then I have some bad news for you. Strong female roles, any strong characters for that matter, are defined not by how skilled they are with a weapon, but how much courage and bravery they have. They’re defined by their quick wit, leadership, and unwavering will to stand in the face of their worst fears and move forward.
Because of this, the females in the lead roles that we now have are... well, not strong. I’m no longer impressed when I see a woman character with a weapon in her hands, especially a bow. Good lord, that weapon has become ruined because of its over-usage. But that’s a rant for another time. I’d rather see a female character that can solve conflict through words and wit than through brute force like men with their swords and axes. And they do exist. They’re just so few and far in-between. So, if you ever want to write a strong female character, remember that she doesn’t always need a weapon. And, if you do give her a weapon, please make it a melee weapon and not a bow. Anything but a bow.
Edited by: Maddy D.