I think this one article, on the subject of writing strong female characters, kind of brought things to a head for me, this being perhaps the forth or fifth article I’ve read dealing with the (apparently thorny) subject / issue of female protagonists.
Why is it even a issue to begin with? I think — if what I’ve been reading is anything to go by — the thinking appears to settle into two groups:
- the male authors who, for whatever reason, feel compelled to write something with a female protagonist, yet can’t quite figure out an angle of approach, since they’re not writing from personal experience, in an emotional context;
- the author (male or female) who writes something with a female protagonist, with the intention of doing the “crop top, big knife, and tattoos” thing, knowing it’s by far the easiest angle of approach, and therefore likely to monetize more easily, too.
I’ve written two novellas so far, both of which feature a female protagonist. But the only quandry I found myself in was timing; I’d intended to have another novella or novel between them featuring a male protagonist, just to space them out. Why? Because I personally didn’t want to be labelled some kind of neofeminist science fiction writer!
I suppose the characters I’ve written appear (or at least read) more realistic because of the upbringing I’ve had (three older sisters) and mostly having had some wonderful women in my life, removing the need to guess what a woman might do in what might be perceived as a typically male situation, as was often the case with Leonora in Earth Day.
Lucidity, on the other hand, really wasn’t about action or anything like that. So I didn’t have to think hard about how the Barbara would react.
One would hope things might not be as cliché in the future. But the problem is one of experience more than anything else. Obviously, this is just an opinion, not fact, and it would be great to hear the thoughts of others.