So @KaTrian and I are writing a few different medieval fantasy stories set in the same universe and roughly the same time period. These societies are all somewhat reminiscent of medieval Europe, meaning religion plays an important role in people's lives, and, as it tended to be in medieval Europe, the only way for women to be fighters was crossdressing and pretending to be men. All of the above means that most women aren't fighters, and those who are, are rare exceptions. In 3/3 of these stories, we have one crossdressing woman/girl per story, all of them different characters. They are from different countries and different social groups, so beyond the universe, there is no real crossover between the stories save for the few neighboring countries sharing the same patriarchal religion. To be fair, these three girls and women are of different ages, sizes, with their own personalities, developmental arcs, pasts, aspirations, stories etc, and even the ways they are "fighters" and crossdressers are different: to one woman it's just about self-defense, no more, no less, she still has long hair and she alternates between presenting as male or female depending on the situation. Another woman is a mercenary, i.e. to her, fighting is a livelihood instead of something particularly glorious, and she has to conceal her sex at all times for her safety (if her enemies or even allies found out she was female, she would suffer a slow and painful death). The third is a teenage girl with somewhat childish dreams of becoming a swashbuckling adventurer like the heroes of the folk tales she fell in love with as a child, and a part of her story is about the grim reality hitting her in the face once she's exposed to real world violence. In essence she grows from a fledgling newbie into a proper warrior over the course of the story (although she develops otherwise too). Her friends do know she's female, but she maintains her male persona pretty much throughout the story except when she's alone or with just her closest friends. We're a little worried that because all three characters (note: they are co-MCs, i.e. there are other MCs in the story as well) are females who crossdress as men and partake in violent altercations as defenders and at times even assailants instead of always being only victims, they could be lumped together by some readers as the same archetype of the fighting female (or "fighting fuck toy" as some call it if the character is physically attractive) in different clothes, especially considering that all three are rare exceptions in their given societies. We don't really agree with that view because we firmly believe that females can be capable of violence without sacrificing their individuality just as much as males because there are a ton of male fighters in stories and it's impossible to lump them all together as some archetype of "the fighting man" or some such. In essence, we believe that just because female fighters have less representation, they don't all have to fall under the same archetype. We do our best to be conscious of the rarity of the characters in their given societies and have deliberately allowed the characters to develop into wildly different directions to drive even deeper wedges between them (we tried to let ot happen as organically as possible, though). What do you think? To give the thread a purpose beyond our stories, do you generally write such exceptions to the rule or do you prefer to use more ordinary (I mean characters who are largely average) characters and possibly place them into extraordinary situations? Generally we do both because we enjoy writing both exceptional individuals and their exceptional lives as well as "ordinary" people in extraordinary situations where it's interesting to see how they handle such scenarios etc. Anyway, ladies, gentlemen, the floor is yours.