moonspinner (moonspinner) wrote,

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Strong Female Characters - A Deconstruction

So I was half-listening to the Audio Commentary of the Avatar Season 1 finale (The Siege of the North) and the writers were talking about Katara’s growth as a character and general kick-ass Water-bending (Water Bending? Waterbending?) Master and three words jumped out at me: Strong Female Character.

It got me thinking. Now I know what the phrase means to me. I also know I’ve written meta/rants at length because my own definition of sorts has clashed (strongly at times) with others’. I’m thinking of Padmé Amidala & Leia Organa from Star Wars; Elizabeth Swann from the Pirates movies; Arden from LotR; Susan Pevensie from Narnia; Lois Lane, Lana Lang and Chloe Sue from Smallville; Ginny Weasley & Lily Potter from Harry Potter…

There’s a whole spectrum of opinion on these characters and exactly how well they fit the Strong Female Character profile. So rather than write even more meta or limit the answers with a poll, I’m turning the question right back at my Flist, and anyone else who wants to voice an opinion:

1. When you hear the phrase ‘Strong Female Character’, what does it suggest to you? Does it suggest something positive or negative?

2. If you see the phrase in a positive light (or if you don’t and there is an equivalent phrase you prefer: like Heroine; Protagonist Who Just Happens to be Female):

i. What are the qualities that make a character a Strong Female Character?
ii. Can any of these qualities be applied to men or are there some that are specifically female?
iii. Which characters would you use it to describe and why?
iv. If life was a movie, which real life women would you add to (iii)?
v. Do you think the opposite of a Strong Female Character (or your equivalent) is a negative thing?

3. If you do see the phrase in a negative light, is this because of:
A, a misconception of the phrase (i.e. what most people call Strong Female Character is actually a Mary Sue) or
B, is it the phrase intrinsically that is negative (i.e. a Strong Female Character is negative because it holds women to impossible standards)?

i. Care to elaborate more on the specific qualities that make this phrase negative? Which characters would you describe in this sense and why?

4. More thoughts? Don't be shy!

It would be nice if you could also pass this link around because I’d like as many people to contribute on this as possible.

Tags: poll
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