Video: “Strong Female Characters”

The “Strong Female Characters” title is in quotation marks because I mean it a little differently than people might think I do.

In this video, I explain how a “strong” female character is actually one that has agency and is an active participant in her own storyline. Often, these days, in a well-meaning attempt to diversify female characters and teach equality, writers and publishers are pushing an image of traditional femininity as weakness, and consequently presents girls and women in media who reject femininity and embrace more traditionally masculine attitudes, clothes, language, and roles as a way to show their strength. My video explains why this is not the only way to make a female character strong, and why we need other images of strength too.


One thought on “Video: “Strong Female Characters”

  1. Excellent video essay. I’ve had this same thought. Not every worthwhile female lead has to be Katniss Everdeen (though she’s an excellent addition to a broad spectrum of female leads). I’d go on to add that it would be great for male characters to be seen as “strong” in nontraditional ways as well; basically, I think that our culture’s praise of stereotypically masculine “strength” is problematic in general. Women who rise to political leadership positions are frequently those who have this “boy with long hair” character type. That’s sad because one reason I want more women in positions of political power is that I think some more traditionally feminine traits would be a good addition to our policymaking community. And hey, the things we value in our broader culture — friends, leaders, coworkers, etc. — are influenced by the stories we read! This stuff’s important.

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