There are certain things that bug the writer in me. One of them came to the forefront today while I looking at a few stories with strong female characters. My least favorites had a few things in common. Most of those strong female leads had been sexually assaulted either prior to the story or during it. Also, most of those stories were written by men.
Now this bugged me for a number of reasons. Sexual assault doesn’t need to be a prerequisite for a strong female character. What does that say about you as a writer and as a person if all your strong female characters need to go through that kind of trauma to find strength?
Maybe this is why a I don’t write a lot of stories with female main characters. I will be the first to admit that women, even during my most enlightened moments, mystify me. Luckily, I have a lot of friends and family who I can draw inspiration from.
It’s true tragedy and adversity can strengthen a character but so can other factors like a loving family and a nurturing environment. Truth be told, a character isn’t shaped by one element or event. It’s a combination of elements that builds a character. Some of those elements will strengthen a character while others will weaken them.
Look at Batman. People like to say that he was shaped by the death of his parents. That’s not entirely true. It was one of the factors that helped shape him. If Bruce Wayne hated his parents or he was raised differently, he might never have become Batman. Another example is Wonder Woman. She isn’t born of tragedy. She’s the product of love and a nurturing environment. Her initial conflict is with her mother who only wishes to protect her.
I’m not saying men can’t write female characters. I’m saying maybe some men shouldn’t or they should find some other tragedy, you know to break up the monotony. Also while we’re at it can we have a a few less orphans. That seems to be one of the leading causes for super heroism and vigilantism.
Okay, done ranting. It’s back to my usual lighthearted babble.