Posts Tagged: female characters
Readers are shifting focus from outdated gender expectations and conceptions of identity, and as a result, complex, non-compartmentalized female friendships are blooming in fiction. Books about these friendships are spaces for female writers and readers to explore the complexity of their relationships and selves without the influence of men, whose presence can quickly turn a female character into a label (mother, daughter, lover, keeper) and distract from the potentially subversive nature of female-only friendships....more
It’s in the new black sign arching over the entrance that says, ‘Never stop dreaming.’ A harmless cliché, but once you know the history of the place, it reads like a memo to the bodies once buried below. Never stop dreaming.
Supposedly “unlikable” female characters are often the most complex, humanly flawed, and interesting ones—yet many readers are perturbed by such representations of women. In an excerpt from her collection The Geek Feminist Revolution, Kameron Hurley muses on the reasons why female protagonists are uniquely expected to be likable:
When you find yourself reading about a gun-slinging, whisky-drinking, Mad Max apocalypse hero who you’d love if it was a guy but find profoundly uncomfortable to read about when you learn it’s a woman, take a step back and ask why that is.
If female characters are restricted to the roles of artist, dancer, waitress, or barista, their potential to generate fiction that explores existentially rich and original worlds also seems restricted.
In the ongoing discussion of groups in sore need of better representation in today’s storytelling, Eileen Pollack urges writers to consider writing about female scientists in fiction....more
NPR explores whether and how putting “girl” in the title of your crime novel will garner favorable comparisons to heavy-hitters like Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train—and therefore benefit from an increase in sales:
So in a way, the girl insignia is trying to tie it into this larger marketing purpose, but sometimes it can be a disservice.
At the School Library Journal, Kelly Jensen examines gender norms and double standards in YA fiction, questioning which female protagonists we refer to as “strong”—and why do not refer to male voices as such:
When women take risks in their writing, when they choose to write female-driven narratives with take-no-bull girls who may not care at all whether you like them or not, they’re not seen as brave.
Book Riot discusses the lack of female protagonists who’ve had abortions in literature:
For millions of women, abortion is not a statistic or a political platitude. Although public discourse around abortion tends to stick to abstractions, there is no one “abortion experience.” Women’s sexualities, pregnancies, and terminations are unique.
For the Guardian, Hannah Ellis-Peterson discusses the success of Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist. Since its debut this summer, the author’s first novel has received acclaim for its strong female characters. However, Burton has since expressed frustration over the perception of “strong women” in fiction as a “novelty”:
I’ve always struggled with this notion of a ‘strong female’, because all the females I know in my life are strong, and it’s a term that suggests that by default they would be weak and they are extra-special as a result.
“The “strong female character” who comes closest to equaling Carrie’s volume of carnage is arguably the Bride. But before she turns the House of Blue Leaves into a crimson slip-and-slide, she is battered in flashback after flashback…Before she gets to knife her enemies in the heart or claim their severed limbs, she must lose her husband-to-be and her unborn baby.”
Rumpus contributor Laura Bogart breaks down the correlation to what is perceived as “the strong female character” and on screen violence....more