What Makes a ‘Strong Female Character’

All we have being hearing about recently from the news outlets about young adult books is the sudden upsurge of ‘strong female characters.’ And it got me thinking about what a strong female character is (or if they really exist). My opinion on the matter has always been something along the lines of the brilliant Joss Whedon:

Joss Whedon, writer and director of The Avengers , creator of the Buffy The Vampire TV series.


I think we all agree that our best example of a strong female character is Katniss Everdeen. She’s smart, physically strong, emotionally strong. Katniss has all the makings of the best heroes.

Then, we have the more debated girls, the newbies on the scene. We have Tris from Divergent, Clary from The Mortal Instruments, Hermione from Harry Potter (although not new, she’s just included with these as well). They make up our four strong character list.

But it seems like every female character is now vying to be strong. Which, don’t get me wrong, is great. It’s great that we have so many girls in literature who handle themselves with a gun and don’t need a guy. But can’t girls be strong with a guy? And maybe even need them? I think the best case of this is Bella from Twilight. Mention her name and people go into a frenzy debating her legitimacy as a strong female character. Twilight has been one of the most hated series since the beginnings. Bella, yes, isn’t as strong as Katniss. But that doesn’t mean she has no admirable qualities.

When it comes down to it – strong female characters should be strong because they have a good moral character and up stand that throughout their entire series, weather that be against an evil government or a guy or the mean girl at school. And I would like to see more of these that don’t have to use some various weaponry. Strong female characters should be well rounded. Smart. Independent. Brave. Kind. (I’m turning into a list of factions, but you get it).

So, for all the news outlets throwing their support for ‘strong female characters’ down our throat, I think you need to fix your interpretation of that phrase. Stop being so judgey about it.

So, what are your opinions on strong female characters? Do you think they have to be strong, in an action hero kind of way, or are there other ways to be strong? I’d love to discuss this with you!



2 thoughts on “What Makes a ‘Strong Female Character’

  1. Strong female characters are sometimes my favorite things about books, but I do agree that they don’t have to be what we typically think of as strong. To me, Hermione’s strength is her intelligence, Tris’s strength is her ability to overcome fear, and Katniss’s is the want to protect her family. Strength comes in all shapes and sizes, which is why I love when female characters are given a story and a unique quality that will make them “strong”.

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