Last night I came across a very interesting forum thread. The original poster said that lately she was noticing a steady increase in weak and naive main characters in fiction. She didn’t understand it and she really didn’t like it.
I find this idea very troubling. I can’t say that I have noticed an increase but maybe I have just lucked out. Even in the romance genre the heroines I read about tend to be strong and take charge. Amanda Quick writes historical romances with wonderfully quirky and quick thinking women. And Johanna Lindsey’s ladies are always finding ways to rescue themselves.
The great thing about heroines like these is that it makes the heroes have to work HARDER. They have to be faster, stronger, and more dedicated.
So if there is a growing trend right now for the women to be weaker, dumber and more useless we really need to ask ourselves, why? Why would women all of a sudden feel the need to write weak women? And who are all these readers that relate to them?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a big strong man to come beating down the door and sweep her off of her feet and knock about a few bad guys. I just like the females to be able to do a little head knocking of their own as well.
Maybe it’s my lack of tolerance for these type of women in real life. If I’m reading a book and find myself constantly screaming at the main character to stop being such an idiot over and over again then there is no way I would be able to befriend someone like that in real life. It’s hard to enjoy a story about a person you can’t stand and have nothing in common with.
I like strong women. No, I LOVE strong
women. And I’m not saying that the characters shouldn’t be flawed, vulnerable and make mistakes, but at least give them their basic dignity and some character growth. We don’t need an entire generation of writers suddenly writing women as if weakness and stupidity is an innate gender trait that belongs in fiction.