Let’s Talk Bookish – Strong Female Characters

Hey there guys!! Welcome back to another Let’s Talk Bookish discussion! Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme hosted by me & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Today’s topic is: How do you feel about strong female characters?

This topic was suggested by Dani, and even though this post is incredibly incredibly late, I’m still going to write a full discussion about it.

Everybody loves strong female characters. They love those girls & women that go around taking what they want, not waiting for someone to hand it to them on a silver tray. They probably do a good deal of threatening men’s precious body parts when these men even think about suggesting that they are any lesser, and they are an absolute sight to behold with their strong boldness and unwavering determination.

But just as awesome as these deadly women are, sometimes they are kind of annoying. They’ve become so common that they kind of have the same backstory. Something tragic happened to them, such as slavery, or witnessing their family murdered, etc etc. They’re always always seeking revenge.

And while that’s not bad, it’s just become so common in YA that it gets boring after a while. Sometimes, it just makes me roll my eyes. Just because the MC is a woman with guns ablazing and a thirst for blood and revenge doesn’t make her all that awesome anymore.

Now of course, there is usually something more, and as the story progresses, you get to see the other vulnerable side of them. The side that “died” when they became who they are now. And that’s good, because it gives them a personality beyond their tough persona. But then it all gets kind of reversed when the first guy swoops in and they are determined to push him away because they are “independent” or “don’t need a partner” while at the same time having an emotional breakdown every time they hear his name.

But other than that, they are driven and determined and amazing. They don’t let anyone tell them no. They’ll sooner kill you than admit you were right.

And while it’s awesome, it’s also one of my pet peeves. They’re just so strong (unless a guy is involved) and so awesome, they don’t really seem real. They aren’t people that I can possibly become.

My other pet peeve is that they always come from a broken family, or a horrible past like slavery. I’m not saying that it’s bad that they do come from that, and honestly, that’s what makes them stronger than the rest. But can’t we also have a strong female MC who wears glasses, likes books or math or whatever, is quiet/bubbly, comes from a “normal” and stable home, and can’t throw a punch to save her life? Not necessarily wealthy and spoiled, but comfortable and possibly sheltered? Why can’t they be heroes too?

Right now, I can’t really think of any such character except for Khalila from Ink and Bone. She’s, well not really quiet, but she comes from a good family without a horrible past, is sheltered in a way, I’m pretty sure she wears glasses, and she definitely isn’t an advocate for violence. She loves learning (she’s a Librarian) and she’s the exact opposite of all these common strong women, yet she’s just this amazing calm and collected fountain of strength. She doesn’t go around slitting people’s throats and making threats, but when pressed she’s just like steel anyway.

I want more characters like her. Maybe because I can relate to her better than I can relate to all the other strong female characters out there. Maybe because she reminds me that I can also be strong and formidable without learning how to throw a dagger.

Strength comes in many forms, and I appreciate the fact that we are getting more strong women in YA books who don’t let themselves be stopped from doing what’s right. However, I would also like to see other types of girls and women being just as formidable and amazing as knife-wielding women, but in their own wonderful and quiet way.

This Week’s Participants:

Dani @ Literary Lion | M.T. @ The Last Book on the Left | Rian @ Dogs & Books | Aria @ Book Nook Bits

So, what do you guys think? Who’s your favorite strong female character? Do you think that sometimes, they’re a bit repetitive? What other kind of strong women would you like to see? Chat with me in the comments below!!

29 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish – Strong Female Characters

  1. i love this discussion so much Rukky!! i like that “strong female characters” are prevalent in books right now, because yay feminism, but i’m not sure if i’m a fan of them, exactly. first, it’s annoying when writers think that the only way a female character can be strong is if they reject stereotypically feminine things (e.g. dresses, the color pink, makeup, etc.), and if they’re better at being a man than most men. there are so many ways to be strong!! you can be strong emotionally, you can be strong without knowing how to kill someone, you can be a strategist instead of a fighter, etc. I just—there are so many different versions of strength, and I feel like writers are only focusing on one. And secondly, I completely agree with you that these female characters don’t feel real. It feels like they’re only there to be badass, and they have zero emotional depth. I want to see female characters who’re really nice, who’re cheerful. who are extroverted, ahhh. i want female characters to feel like real people and not just caricatures, or stereotypes, or tropes πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ
    actually, I think a good example of a writer who… doesn’t write strong female characters all that well is V.E. Schwab. I know you love her books, and I love them too, but… all of her female characters come across as weapons, and not real people LMAO. this is especially evident in the Villain series πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! I’m so glad you loved it :))
      I knoww! What’s wrong with liking makeup, and dresses, and all of the stereotypically “feminine” things? Why do they have to be “one of the guys” for them to be considered strong?
      Exactly I 100% agree! There are so so so many ways, and in reality, you don’t actually see these kinds of women that much IRL. (how many women go around murdering everyone who even breathes wrong?) Lol yes. They’re so tough that that’s all their character is.
      It’s alright, because you are right. I mean, Marcella, Serena, Sydney-they’re all weapons. Sydney’s the only one who kind of comes close to being more than someone with extreme powers. And Lila from the Darker Shade trilogy, honestly, she’s just UGHH and I didn’t like her that much at all.
      Thanks for your lovely comment πŸ’•

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I quite like revenge driven characters tbh but it is true that they do get similar backstories at times. And it would be nice to see characters who are strong in different ways too, especially intelligence as that’s such an underrated quality. I’d kind of like more strong, female villains too because not every strong female character has to be good, they’re just as capable of being the bad guy too. Plus villains are fascinating πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved this post! 🀩🀩

    Yes! We want more strong female MCs who are normal and that we can relate to. I think the best thing is finding a character who’s relatable because you feel so represented πŸ’β€β™€οΈπŸ’œ

    Spensa from Skyward was an amazing female MC who was intellectually strong and i really loved that 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you did πŸ™‚
      It’s such an amazing feeling when you find a character who understands you, who you can relate to! I really wish it happened more often.

      I’ve seen Skyward several times and I still have no idea what it’s about lol. I’ll be sure to check it out now! I’m glad you liked her ✨

      Like

      1. You NEED to read Skyward! 😭
        I was just screaming the whole book because of the sheer awesomeness! 😍🀩

        On another note, it’s like my second Sanderson YA book and I don’t have much experience with high fantasy or anything so maybe it want that great, but I loved it πŸ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Okay okay! I’ll look into it lol ✨

        Oh that’s ok, I’m sure it was still pretty good. I’ve heard about it a lot, and everybody loves it, but I’m here just mentally wilting at the thought of Sanderson’s very long books lol

        Like

  4. Love this post, sorry I had no time writing a discussion myself this week! I really hope I’ll make it this Friday! And you are absolutely right, I feel the exact same way. I hate it when they’re all independent and then fall for this guy and have a breakdown and everything – I mean the independent strong character is awesome and I’m all for strong feminin characters, but it’s okay to fall for a guy!
    Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s not problem at all!! No need to apologize ✨ Lol, it’s amusing at times, frustrating at others, and just plain sigh when it’s repeated all the time. You’re so right! It’s totally okay to fall in love, and it defintiely doesn’t make you any less of a strong character at all.
      Happy reading to you too ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I agree! A female main character I’d consider strong in her own ways is Audrey Rose from Kerri Maniscalco’s Stalking Jack the Ripper series. She’s a female forensic student in a time where this is unseen. She knows her strength and weaknesses, she’s vulnerable and she’s determined. She doesn’t fight with a sword like many other ya-characters but with words, with science and her mind and I really like that about her. 🌹

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, Audrey Rose. I guess she is a strong character, and I did like the way that she wielded her knowledge, and didn’t let people tell her no because she was a girl. I guess my view is a little tainted since I ended up really not liking her by the end of the series, but I’ll admit, she is a good example πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Totally agree with your points! I wish these kind of characters weren’t all just the same. They just come up too often and are too similar. I’d like to see more quiet but strong protagonists too. Also why do they all have to be about revenge? I’d like to see different motivations for these kind of characters.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Honestly, bloodthirsty revenge driven women are very my thing so I don’t mind it πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ but yeah women really do not have to have all the kindness tortured out of them for them to be ‘strong’. I love when they go through a super hard past and still come out happy and gentle and not revenge driven just as much haha but I need to read more of the every day strong women, where they literally cannot wield weapons to save a life or have never stepped foot in a gym. There are so many more things that make a women strong rather than physical strength and they need to be protected too !!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, they’re my thing too (sometimes lol)! I’d just like to see some variety as well. Please give me your recommendations! I just thought of another character who had a relatively good childhood, but then was scarred by an event: Thia from The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson. I love that her depression made her stronger, not in bodily strength, but in her mind. It was really refreshing, and I can’t believe that i forgot about her πŸ€¦πŸΎβ€β™€οΈ
      Exactly!! I’m so glad you agree!

      Like

  8. Love this post. ❀
    I think the big problem with "strong female characters" is that what authors are writing is basically men. There are so many books with female characters that can gladly be replaced by a guy and there wouldn't be any difference. That's not the "strong female character" I want. If you just write a book with a main female character because it's popular and just tweak the gender of your male protagonist, then don't write the book at all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so glad you did!!
      I never thought of it that way, but I see your point! It honestly would make no difference if the character was female or male, and that’s really sad. It’s good that we’re getting more female leads, but it should also be authentic, and not just something used to sell books.

      Like

  9. I agree with all of this, especially that most strong female characters have terrible or hard pasts. I feel like even if the characters aren’t violent or out for revenge, they never have easy lives. Anyways, this was really fun and interesting to read!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. “My other pet peeve is that they always come from a broken family, or a horrible past like slavery. ” I really agree with this. Why does it seem like so many characters who are “strong” can’t just have a normal family life? Strength does come from adversity but it can also come from love and nurturing! There are plenty of ways to explain why your character became strong other than everything bad that could possibly happen to a person happened to them.

    I might have to add Ink and Bone to my TBR now that you’ve spoken so highly about it. Khalila sounds amazing and I adore librarian main characters. I loved Sorcery of Thorns for that reason!

    Really lovely discussion this week!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I would love recommendations if you have any!! I guess you do, because that’s what spurs the MC to fight or seek whatever it is right? It’s just that most books that I’ve read have the MC coming from a horrible situation (a fantasy that I just finished reading had an MC who had been enslaved for the past 7 yrs) rather than there being one instance in an otherwise normal & happy life that creates the plot.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well, I think many of the strong female MCs I’ve read are ones that have difficult lives in general. Historical fiction seems to lend itself to that because, well, women have been pushed aside by men since the beginning of time. Seems to me that romance novels have more of the “she had everything she ever wanted and then BOOM” tropes.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I guess historical fiction is the best place to find a character like that. They usually come from a good family, and then something happens and they find themselves fighting for something/to protect someone etc. I don’t read romance novels, so I haven’t see that, but I do get what you mean πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I completely agree! It’s like the whole world falls on every character that is supposed to be strong, and the side characters who come from nurturing & supportive homes are ignorant and soft little cinnamon rolls. (This may be kind of our fault too for labeling them as such, but they are cinnamon rolls, and not really “strong” characters)

      Oh yes, I hope you enjoy it!! I also need to decide about Sorcery of Thorns. I’ve heard so many mixed reviews and I’m still sitting on the fence about it. But glad to hear that you loved it!

      Thank you for an amazing topic ❀✨

      Liked by 1 person

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