#Meanwhile… Strong Female Characters

For those of you who don’t know, audiences have been crying out for “strong female characters” for years now, and we’ve been treated to ever stronger and more kick-ass women on screen since. But is beating men to a pulp and cutting off their cocks really what critics were calling for?

Not exactly, according to the blog Jo Writes Stuff.

In her excellent and ongoing series, Jo takes fictional female characters and puts them through the grinder: her self-devised, 10-question assessment.

  1. Does the character shape her own destiny? Does she actively try to change her situation and if not, why not?
  2. Does she have her own goals, beliefs and hobbies? Did she come up with them on her own?
  3. Is her character consistent? Do her personality or skills change as the plot demands?
  4. Can you describe her in one short sentence without mentioning her love life, her physical appearance, or the words ‘strong female character’?
  5. Does she make decisions that aren’t influenced by her love life?
  6. Does she develop over the course of the story?
  7. Does she have a weakness?
  8. Does she influence the plot without getting captured or killed?
  9. How does she relate to stereotypes about gender?
  10. How does she relate to other female characters?

I came across her blog when Scarlet Johannson’s portrayal of Black Widow had won so many plaudits for being one such Strong Female Character she was to star in her own Avengers movie; but to me, she’d seemed utterly at odds with the idea of feminist depth, bemoaning her scars and referring to herself as a monster for her inability to bear child.

Lo, Jo had given Black Widow the 10-question treatment, and this is what she found.

Here’s a list of all the others. Her examination of Trinity is particularly good.

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8 thoughts on “#Meanwhile… Strong Female Characters”

    1. Same here – I’m going to use the questions to check my characters pass. I think they do, as few of them adhere to gender stereotypes, they have their own agency and they’re not driven solely by romance. Always worth checking though.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thanks for sharing this list. Will be useful to give my own female characters an assessment.
    Although, I found Jessica Alba on Dark Angel a strong female character, I’m not sure how I’ll take her as Black Widow when I loved Jo playing the role.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a great set of questions. I hope your characters pass!

      To be honest, not seen Alba in anything particularly good for a long time. But it’s the writing that makes the characters for the most part. So if they write her well, I’m sure she’ll pull it off.

      Like

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