There’s a certain charm about innocent female protagonists who readers root for despite their clumsiness. However, these teeter toward being cliché over time, often creating an offensive stereotype for women. What readers deserve are strong female characters, naturally imposing and charismatic.
Female empowerment has reached new heights in today’s society. The fight for equal treatment and their pursuant to a new outlook about them have transcended from plain murmurs to measurable actions. Women have taken the responsibility of redefining their essence to their hands, with a proactive stance in reforming how society views and treats them.
To others, this may seem like a futile response, but given the impact of literature on societal systems, women have taken their cause of cutting these restraints to literature.
From female authors fighting for their crafts amid the male-dominated industry to books highlighting strong female characters as an attempt to reformat the female perception, the fight to break through a patriarchal system in literature has been unwavering. Fortunately, women’s empowerment has found the light in present-day literature.
Modern-Day Empowerment in Literature
The Pool of Tears Nights of Alice 2 follows an empowered woman who gets torn between her reality and fiction. Alice Hightower is initially introduced as a charismatic CEO of a medical device company. But her strong ground gets shaken when she loses everything, from the man she loves to her CEO position. She gets into a debacle, testing her grip on what’s real and what’s not.
She finds herself getting transported to different places and in the arms of different intriguing men whenever she chafes into the clothes that magically appear in her room every night. Although the story premises itself as a romantic fantasy, nothing short of a plot to satisfy women’s need for romance, a sliver of women empowerment is also present throughout its pages. Underneath the allure of multiple romantic connections, author Melissa Rea focuses on the commanding presence of the female protagonist and the choices she firmly stands by throughout.
What’s empowering about Alice Hightower isn’t her dominance of the success she finds for love overnight. Instead, her empowerment is found in the authenticity of her emotions and thoughts. Readers are given a glimpse of how vulnerability can also be empowering. It’s not all about strength and blatant bravery. Often, it’s showcased in vulnerability and the prioritization of her happiness.
Strong Female Characters Exist Not as Descent but as Empowerment
Women have long been associated with weakness, purity, and lightness. They’re expected to be meek and kind. Concepts like “damsels in distress” or the heroine who needs rescuing, while commonly enforced in a romantic light, limit women to submissive individuals. And whenever they’re portrayed in the opposite spectrum, this denotes a failure in their morality.
Strong female characters don’t exist solely as dissent to how society views women. Instead, having them at the forefront of literature highlights the existence of women embodying traits contrasting damaging stereotypes. There’s nothing wrong with women who are naturally clumsy, naïve, or frail. But to portray a generalization of women and to limit them to these traits is offensive and demeaning to their worth.
The portrayal of women in a positive light challenges existing stereotypes that influence how they’re treated in reality. By distancing them from adverse characteristics, women, young or old, are empowered and taught to stand up for themselves. It enforces the “if these characters can do it, so can you” mentality, motivating change for women and society.
Developing This Empowerment in Literary Characters
As authors, creating strong female characters have the power to reform society’s stories about females in general. If written well, a woman can be a strong symbol of courage. Here are tips and ways to create the perfect multifaceted two-dimensional character who can be an excellent role model.
She Finds Strength In Her Flaws
Empowered, strong female characters don’t have to be little-miss-perfects. They don’t need to be the epitome of perfection to be deemed powerful and charismatic. Their strength isn’t found in the lack of flaws but in how well they manage them. Imperfections and mistakes make these characters more relatable and closer to their readers, allowing them to resonate better.
A captivating story must be peppered with obstacles and errors that push the protagonist to their limits and wits’ end. It must allow them to maneuver, test themselves and show what they’re truly capable of. When they end up victorious at the end, that’s when they can be hailed as strong characters.
She Is Opinionated and Stands by It
Women are mostly known for their gut instincts and sticking with them. Strong female characters have the mental fortitude and resilience to make their own opinions and stand by what they believe is right despite the obstacles. These opinions shouldn’t be made without a rationale. Instead, they must be based on her principles and values, which makes her independent and separate from the rest.
Empowered women aren’t immune from persuasion. But she must take pride in her values while respecting conflicting opinions. Strong female characters must be capable of making and standing by their own choices.
These characters don’t have to start this way. Instead, authors can make them undergo a character arc that empowers them. There are no precise means of how strength comes to women, but how they will surpass these challenges must be known. Strong female characters must have a sense of purpose in these stories for readers to be interested in and resonate with them.