There’s been an explosion . . . of books starring women and girls. As if to make it perfectly clear, publishers put it in the title: The Girl in the Tower, All the Girls in the World, The Girl in the Spider’s Web, My Husband’s Wife (wait, what?), etc.
To quote Esme Squalor from Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, women are clearly the current ‘in’ thing.
This is good.
Unfortunately there seems to be two inclinations in the minds of writers of female stars these days:
A majority (but certainly not all) write their women as victims (so that they can then be excused for hating all men?), and a majority equate prickly or snarky demeanors with strong female protagonists.
As writers, we must ask ‘Does snarky equal engaging?’
The answer is: rarely. So then what character traits make for truly strong and engaging female main characters?
- Is it a sharp tongue or wit?
- Does a curvaceous body make for an impressive character?
- Does a woman who dominates men really appeal?
- Does a stunning superiority complex make her rise above her male counterparts?
- Is it physical strength which sets her apart as great?
- Does an abusive past make her sympathetic?
That last one is a question worth exploring further, considering the current social movement #MeToo. Continue reading “Female Protagonists: Hermione, Clarice, Ellen Ripley and MeToo”