another look at strong female characters

I've been lurking about the interwebz, reading blog posts and reviews for different movies and the upcoming Wonder Woman series. Some of what I've seen has intrigued me, some has baffled me, and other things, I just accept that we all aren't going to agree.

One thing I have noticed (other than a WHOLE lot of book covers with sassy young women sporting large tattoos across their shoulders and backs) is the number one requirement for a strong female character is her ability to fight--and win. Sometimes against guys that outweigh her by a hundred pounds or more. The justification for this is "she's fast and well-trained."

Uh-uh.

I think we're putting our priorities in the wrong place, ladies. There is much more to being a strong woman than being able to fight well; although, I think a lot of this fighting and sleeping around that I'm seeing is due young women stretching their wings. They want what the boys have in terms of being respected for their prowess, be it on the battlefield or in the bed, and I can't blame them.

Decades of literature have been dedicated to male protagonists and their conquests. Why can't the girls have some fun?

But let's not cheapen ourselves in the process, ladies.

We should be eager to exhibit what's between our ears more so than what's between our legs.

A woman's true strength lies in her emotional maturity. An emotionally mature woman will intimidate even nastiest of villains. She can be flawed, no one is perfect, but a strong female character is not afraid of your demons, because she has conquered most of her own.

She knows when to give the battle so she can win the war. If she is going to fight, she's not going to dance. A strong female wins a fight not only because she's fast and well-trained, but because she gouges out eyes and rips with her teeth. She knows she's out-weighed and out-gunned, so she fights dirty.

And no, she doesn't fight in a star-spangled bustier or a chain mail bikini. Those are geek-boy dreams.

Her strength is in her bearing, her eyes, and her poise.

And with all that said, I'm glad that the series Wonder Woman got the ax. What the world doesn't need is another pretty face pretending to be tough. It insults battle-scarred old ladies like me.

P.S. My friend Kate Jonez had some interesting things to say in a Goodreads discussion we had. She has written her own response to this post at her blog. Check out Creating Strong Female Characters.