1. keats81
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    keats81 Member

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    'Strong' Female Character

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by keats81, May 28, 2011.

    I will say up front that I am somewhat of a feminist despite being a male. I also know that I hate seeing macho female characters in books and films and plays. I'm talking about when female strength is overdone so much that it is obvious that the character is a wonder woman or a cat woman look alike. I want to make a real woman who has strength without having to be in leather spandex. I already have an idea of what she looks like and who I'm sort of basing her around but I wanted to hear some suggestions. I also already know her profession, or what she does at least...it works with the world I created. The personality is the issue. This character is nice and somewhat shy but in an awkward sort of way that is quite charming. How does that work in a novel that is takes place in a warring world.
     
  2. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Hold on. Okay, tomboys can actually be amazing characters, especially when there are very interesting reasons why they decide to become masculine. In the anime Revolutionary Girl Utena for example, the main female lead is trying to become a Prince. Not a princess, a prince. When she was saved as a little girl by a Prince, she didn't want to marry that prince, she wanted to become him. That means becoming physically strong, but also becoming emotionally masculine, i.e. coldness for example.
     
  3. keats81
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    keats81 Member

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    I have a tomboy character. That is not the character I'm talking about right now. This is not a tomboy. When I say tomboy I mean it in its extreme sense: a girl trying to be a man, or at least a stereotype of what it means to be a man. I just want to make her a person who has an amazing effect on people of all genders. In effect I'm trying to create a strong character that didn't exist as visibly in the past due to bigots, extremists, racists and sexists. Her strength lies in her composure and not her sexual frustration or need to be 'sexy' or 'manly'. She is ten times more attractive than most 'strong' females I have seen.
     
  4. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    You missed my point, in Revolutionary Girl Utena SHE WAS a strong character. An incredibly strong character. For another character, this not a tomboy, check out the Lisbeth Salander series. Self-sufficient, incredibly smart, and won't anyone step on her.
     
  5. keats81
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    keats81 Member

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    I never said she wasn't strong. On the contrary, I think we are talking about different kinds of strength. My female character is all those things but she doesn't need any flash to do it. She also does not aspire to be a man. She's not a dude. She doesn't have a six pack but she's a fast runner and quick on her feet in sword fights. In conversation she is sweet to other people. She isn't mean to anyone unless they are trying to kill her.
     
  6. SerenaYasha
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    SerenaYasha Member

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    How about a female who on the outside appear real sweet and kind. who is smart but doesn't brag nor look like she watches PBS on perpose.

    she can keep her temper but ther key things that just send her in a rage.

    in a sicuation when she is arguing with someone she might ask them questions that seem harmless but she is traping them with thier own words.

    she doesn't like to fight but will try to talk her way out but if she must she will fight ( maybe she takes martial arts to keep healthy or other reasons)

    if she happens to have tears in her eyes after geting hit the tears only make the anger in her face look deadly.

    this kinda sounds likea person who has been hurt in the past and tries to trust poeple but there is a point to which she can trust or old habits die hard when being safe who is a friend who is not.


    to me it almost sounds like you want a wonder woman or cat woman with out the sexy clothes then changes the clothers lol

    I kinda want to type just write you chracter as if they were a man first then just change "he" to "she" and leave the sexy clothes in the closet ( add moment of simpathy but usually just changing the gender you automaticly get it)
     
  7. keats81
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    keats81 Member

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    lol no I don't want wonder woman...she was a big fat liar and too into herself...

    Why can't someone who is interested in singing and nature be a good character? Shes going to be feminine...not masculine and hairy. What is wrong with that?
     
  8. katica
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    katica Senior Member

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    You keep confusing me with the things you are saying because everyone's giving examples of things you are talking about and you say things like you don't want someone who is "masculine and hairy" and you don't want "wonder woman."

    Wonder woman isn't masculine and hairy. In fact, I can't think of one strong female character in any story that is.
     
  9. keats81
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    keats81 Member

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    a year ago she was a strong whip wielding type...then I changed and the characters in my book underwent revision.I no longer wanted a 'strong' whip wielding gal...i wanted a strong character. Character is what i need help with. What makes one strong? it certainly isn't a whip. I think that I can go back to writing this book now. I've seen enough of the Trinity's from the matrix. Any helpful suggestions are still welcome.
     
  10. keats81
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    keats81 Member

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    I think it is because I got bored with the character I made and then suddenly stumbled on a new concept of strength and it changed everything. Anyways I know someone who resembles my new understanding of strength. She enjoys a good pint but she seems so womanly and wholesome. Responsible. Serious about serious things. Never overreacts.

    I might add that she is not the 'main' protagonist.
     
  11. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Warning: Your concept of strength could lead you to create a Mary Stu character, something to keep in mind. Okay, what you're looking for is basically an angel of some sort. As I've also said, look at Lisbeth Salander. She may have masculine elements, but she isn't a tomboy, although she may appear to be to you.
     
  12. keats81
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    keats81 Member

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    no no this lisbeth sounds intriguing. I'll look her up.
     
  13. dianableu
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    dianableu Member

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    I think that there must be something in her past that made her this way. It could be something good or something bad. Maybe doing some brainstorming on what made her how she is will help you.

    I think what you are talking about is the strength of self-control and the strength of patience and the strength to think for herself and not be influenced by others and the strength to not be pressured and a strong moral compass and an innate ability to know how to handle herself, an inner grace. It's sort of a trans-gender thing really, isn't it?
     
  14. katica
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    katica Senior Member

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    Well, the thing is, I love the show Revolutionary Girl Utena and that's exactly how the girl in the show is.

    She gets rescued by a Prince and strives to be a Prince herself someday. She's still very feminine (she has pink hair and bright pretty blue eyes), but she dresses in men's clothing and also, she has a huge heart. She views a Prince as someone who basically helps the helpless and is strong and rescues women and there are many, many girls in the show (and guys really) that she changes the life of and saves through her good character.

    She also can wield a sword and beat other guys in basketball, but I'd say her main characteristic is her good heart.

    This is why I continue to be confused by your refusal to accept any of these examples and to call them strange things that they aren't.
     
  15. Ice Queen
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    Ice Queen Senior Member

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    I think some writers (not all of course) fall into the trap of thinking that; to have a strong female character you either have to make her act like a cold warrior, or give her a fiery temper or something; and that female-male equality means both genders acting like men. (this happens a lot especially in fantasy)

    However, other things make for a strong female character. Perhaps her kidness and selflessness makes her have a strong personality and she does her best to help others. Perhaps she's strong because she's a mother and as we know, mothers will often do anything and everything for their children making them keep going where others might give up. Maybe their strength is in their determination, or even intelligence. I like strong female characters whose strength is their mind (because that's where my strength is, XD I'm horrendously week in body). Softer characteristics like maternal instinct, creativity, intelligence, kindness etc. make just as good strengths as the things like power, stubborness etc. It can make for interesting situations; compare the warrior heroine who fights her way out of prison; to the witty heroine who manages to talk her way out. :)
     
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  16. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    The thing about strength is; it is more often than not associated with physical strength.

    Whereas people(both male and female) can have a great inner-strengths that are not always obvious.

    Some women are the centre and strength of their families. Women can show and often do have great strength when faced with adversity.

    Is it physical strength you need or would strength of character fit your needs.
     
  17. Lilithmoon
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    Lilithmoon Member

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    I agree with Ice Queen on what makes a woman strong. It really has nothing to do with physical strength. I think what you are looking for is a strength of character. This comes from an unwillingness to compromise her principles even in the face of adversity. It is a stead-fast determination to accomplish her goals even if it means she must sacrifice everything to do it. You are looking for a female that will not back down and will not give up no matter what it costs her, even her life.

    This does not have to be a young physically fit warrior woman. There are plenty examples of women like this of all ages, race and background. Here are some of my examples: Annie Sullivan (The Miracle Worker,), Temple Grandin (an autistic woman who becomes one of the worlds top scientist in animal husbandry), Dorothy (Wizard of Oz), Rosa Parks, Dian Fossey (Gorillas in the Mist), Professor Lily Penleric, PhD (Songcatcher) and Madam Curie.

    I think this is the character type you mean. I hope this helps. :)
     
  18. Kio
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    Kio Contributing Member

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    I'm shocked to find two people on one thread who know about Revolutionary Girl Utena when I can only find one who knows about it outside of the internet. I love this site so much more now ;_;

    Utena is a good example of what you're looking for, I think. To be honest, you kind of confuse me too with what you're looking for. You're looking for someone that isn't "manly" and isn't like Wonder Woman or Cat Woman. Understandable. It gets confusing when you mention that Wonder Woman is lying to herself and trying to be like a man. You're going to have to explain this because there is no instance that I know of where Wonder Woman tried to be a man. You must be thinking of Lady Macbeth or something because she is the only woman I know that actually asked to be a man (at heart at least). You know, the whole awkward "unsex me here" scene. Then again, Shakespeare hardly knows how to write about women a lot of the time.

    Sometimes it's necessary for a woman to adapt "man" traits, especially in a war fantasy setting. Since most fantasy are based off of medieval Europe, it was the only thing a woman could do in order to join the men's forces. No matter how good a girl is with a sword, it really depends on how she'll use it. If she's going to be merciful, kind, and shy in the battlefield, she's gonna have a problem being taken seriously.

    However, a good example of a girl who is feminine and is by no means "masculine and hairy" in a fantasy setting is Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series.

    A word of advice, though; like I tell others with a similar problem to yours, you should probably model her after a female you know who would fit whatever quota you've got here. Modeling can really go a long way because, unlike fiction, experience can never lie to you. It's the most reliable source of information.
     
  19. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    It sounds like you already know what character you want to write. You just need to believe in her, to feel confident that such a character can exist, and the details will work themselves out.
     
  20. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    A woman can be 'strong' and still be feminine.

    And 'strong' doesn't translate to 'can bench press 200 lbs and use a sword better than any man.'

    You want to see a 'strong' woman in modern day society? Look at any good single mother that strives to raise one or more children all on her own.

    Previous posters have already given you many examples of strong women and the different forms strength takes so I don't really have much more to add.

    I will add that a woman being able to use a sword isn't a masculine trait. Men might have traditionally fought in wars rather than women, but in a hostile environment, if someone aims to kill you, defending yourself is defending yourself.
     
  21. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    My favorite strong female characters are Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games trilogy, Hermione from the Harry Potter series and Lisbeth Salander from the Millenium trilogy. Maybe try reading those books to get some insight?
     
  22. maxwell1422
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    maxwell1422 New Member

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    When i create a strong female i make her independent. That's key. I make her smart and funny as well as never takin' any lip form no one. There is a big difference between a girl dressed up acting like a super hero dude like your Wonder Womans and such. I strong female is also open and free with her sexuality.
     
  23. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    As some have already suggested, a "strong" woman character can be any number of traits. Just make sure you don't fall into cliches and stereotypes - i.e., like the fiery, angry man-hating amazon - to express their "strength". Express their strength through their own unique actions and personalities.
     
  24. SteamWolf
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    SteamWolf Senior Member

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    It sounds to me like you're talking about a self-confident woman rather than "strong". While she may be swift and with great stamina, she's not built like a truck. Nor does she get angry and shouty to enforce her will.
    Rather, she is confident and well placed in all she does, without having to refer to others or question why she makes the choices she does.

    A friend from India made the comment to me once that when he first came to Australia he was surprised and impressed at how self-confident women are here, compared to his homeland. He made the point to say that he didn't think the women of his home were weak in any way, only that they would usually defer to someone else or not take the lead in things.

    Is this what you were looking for? More Julia Gillard and less Lara Croft?
     
  25. Three
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    Three Member

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    Not Strong Female Character.

    Strong Character, female.

    Her gender does NOT decide her personality. Her personality decides her gender. The character always comes first.
     

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