I write very androgynous female characters. It is very rare that you'll find a soft woman in my writing, and if you do, they're either minor characters or it is to illustrate how tough they inevitably become. While women who have read my writing really like the characters, I can't help but feel that the characters are really just men with vaginas. I can't stand it when women are depicted as manipulative puppeteers, and would rather they be openly powerful. So, I'm looking for advice on how to portray femininity in women who are tough. Vanity and manipulativeness are things that a lot of writers use, but I find them to be two of least endearing features in a person, and I want them nowhere near my precious women... Does anyone like Cersei Lanister? Or, does gender even matter? Can a character simply be a character without factoring masculinity of femininity. EDIT: Great advice, but I failed to mention this is in a medieval fantasy setting.