First a disclaimer. I am not a woman nor do I identify as one. The opinions stated here are purely my own. I do not mean to offend, just merely state what I believe. If you are a female and are reading this, I would love to have your opinion.
Look, I love a nice pair of tits or a round arse. I’m not saying I want women to always look ugly when portrayed in media. I’m also not against sexualising women (and men for that matter) if appropriate to the story.
Generally in media, a woman’s ‘strength’ is basically defined by how much she can beat up other men, or drink as heavily, all whilst wearing a ridiculously revealing outfit. Take for example this scene in The Expendables 3 that introduces Luna (Ronda Rousey).
Look I’m sure even considering her recent defeats in the ring, Ronda could still beat me to a pulp without breaking a sweat. I will also concede that The Expendables franchise is not one concerned with intelligent writing. That being said this becomes her only character trait. She can literally kill people. That’s it.
So what gives a character depth? Well to me any good character is flawed in some way. They might be attractive and smart, but on the flip side, their egotistical ways makes them a hard person to like. Nothing makes a story more boring than knowing the protagonist has no chance of failing. Take the end of any Expendables movie as a great example of what I just mentioned.
One of my favourite female protagonists of all time is Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) of Sicario. A lot of people consider her weak because she spends a lot of the movie scared, confused and uneasy with what she is doing. In my opinion this is what makes her character strong. She isn’t just a puppet. She’s a thinking human being, wondering do the ends justify the means?
In one scene, she is in a convoy that’s ambushed. During this scene she makes numerous mistakes, one that almost gets her killed. She only makes one kill during the whole situation, which is against a direct threat. This shows us that not only can she fail, but she is scared. That emotion is understandable, and if we’re being realistic, relatable. Most people couldn’t handle that situation.
Another example is Lara Croft of the Tomb Raider franchise. Yes, she does kill a lot of people, and is admittedly very attractive. That beginning said she has other qualities. She an extremely intelligence person, who’s also adventurous and brave. She’s not just another pretty face who kills hordes of enemies. This is probably why she’s become such a prominent figure in pop culture.
In fairness in some of the games she does dress a bit impractically. That being said the latest games in the franchise (Tomb Raider 2013 and Rise of the Tomb Raider) see Lara wearing fairly practical clothing. That being said I don’t feel her being sexy takes away from her being smart.
In the end, all I want is to encourage interesting characters. If the character is human let them be human. We are flawed. We have our vices. We make bad choices. We don’t always win. To ignore this is naive.
Your Male Writer