Thursday, 4 June 2015

My Favourite Characteristics in Female Characters/Protagonists

This week's Tuesday Talks topic on Booktube was about your own personal favorites when it came to characteristics/personality traits in female characters or female protagonists. I think this is a pretty interesting and important topic. Time and time again, readers are given female characters with extraordinarily similar backgrounds - they've been abused b
y someone, they've been abandoned so don't trust people, they're orphaned or they're the main person keeping their family together. While none of these are bad, it's also nice to get variety and spice when it comes to female characters so reading doesn't become monotonous.

I think a hugely important characteristics in females is the ability to be able to think and act independently. A strong female can think on her feet and act when she needs to act. She can stand up for herself and for others without a male presence by her shoulder. While heartbreak is a real thing, and extremely crippling at times, it's not an excuse to allow a character to become a shell, simply because she doesn't have a man. It's something I won't be able to forgive Stephanie Meyer for when in New Moon Bella basically became a mute robot because she didn't have Edward there. Not a great message to be telling young girls.

I also love when characters have personality or physical flaws. It's too easy to read a book and say "this kind of great love could never happen to me because I'm ugly and she's so pretty." It's a common thing to assume this character you're reading about never gets spots or split ends, and is basically a literary twin to a Victoria Secrets model. No. We have to love Hermione's bushy hair and goofy teeth,  Tris's long nose, and Katniss's scrawny arms. These are what makes these characters more human and less ethereal. In our heads, they suddenly become more like us.

I also believe an ability to be kind to others and forgive people for their cruelty is important. While I adore The Hunger Games, a decision Katniss makes near the end of the trilogy let her down (something to do with Snow's granddaughter). The real Katniss would never have agreed to such a thing and while it was right to show the ordeal had changed the Mockingjay, it wasn't right to make her do something so backward to what we originally thought of her as.

At the end of the day, it's an important job to give females in particular some respectable and strong role models to look up. Again and again, women are told by the media that we are just a body, just a pretty face and while things are changing, it's not changing fast enough. If girls who read can learn it's okay to be smart like Hermione, brassy like Kami and strong and fierce like Katniss..than they'll be less likely to succumb to eating disorders pushed upon them by advertising campaigns or be told they're nothing by manipulative partners. Sometimes what's written, or even not written, in a book, can stay with you for a lifetime.

P.S I know Imperator Furiosa is a movie character rather than a book character but she's so fierce and amazing, I can't not put her picture in here.

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