Discussion: "Strong" Women
Kel Tuesday, April 14, 2015 discussionWhat makes a "strong" female protagonist?
It's a question I've been pondering since I ran across a Twitter conversation wherein several authors were discussing the new "Cinderella" live-action remake. They talked about how the MC wasn't "fierce" and how stories about quietly strong women are good, but there are already enough of them out there. I saw another author give a series of tweets explaining why she saw this same Cinderella as a survivor of abuse who went on to find happiness in life.
Tabitha (Not Yet Read) did a fun, snarky interview with urban fantasy author Faith Hunter a little while back (which I recommend reading in its entirety), but this particular quote caught my eye:
FAITH: All females are strong. Or we should be. Pollyanna went out with the fifties. We have female warriors serving in dangerous places, lives on the line. .....This struck me because, as annoying as Pollyanna can be, I often envy her unquenchable optimism and faith in people. Being joyful is something I struggle with. To me, Pollyanna is pretty darn strong. I don't say this to belittle the strengths of women serving in dangerous places or in other capacities; but I think there are different kinds of strength, and women span the entire spectrum.
How do we define "strong women"? Jane Austen wrote opinionated, sarcastic Elizabeth; kind, quiet Jane; sensible, practical Elinor; passionate, impulsive Marianne; and meddling Emma. They were all strong, and weak, in different ways. Doesn't that describe everyone, men and women?
I think we all identify with different types of characters. I think we all respond differently to what's in front of us based on our experiences, beliefs and hopes. I'll admit to connecting more with Lizzie and Elinor than I did Jane and Marianne, but their different brands of strength don't make their stories any less valuable or worth telling.
What do you think makes a "strong" woman? Are there are any characters or people in your life the term brings to mind? And (controversy ahoy), who do you think is the strongest Disney princess/female, and why?