My latest trilogy The Outcast Chronicles has two strong female leads (and two males). In these books I play around with our prejudices about male-female roles, while telling a rollicking tale because I love a good story.
It got me thinking about female characters, specifically female leads. Here Jennifer Kesler talks about female leads in movies. Apparently, the consensus of opinion is that movie goers won't accept female lead characters, so the females end up as girlfriends and love interests. Kesler talks about Ripley from Alien and how no one had trouble taking her seriously. She reviews other lead females in successful movies and in flops like Ultraviolet, and comes to the conclusion that if females are dressed too sexily we (viewers) can't take them seriously.
In this post about female characters in movies Kelser talks about how her screen writing tutors taught her to write scripts the WOULDN'T pass this test. Apparently the test goes like this:
1) There are at least two named female characters, who
2) talk to each other about
3) something other than a ma.
I laughed aloud when I read this. She says:
'According to Hollywood, if two women came on screen and started talking, the target male audience’s brain would glaze over and assume the women were talking about nail polish or shoes or something that didn’t pertain to the story. Only if they heard the name of a man in the story would they tune back in. By having women talk to each other about something other than men, I was “losing the audience.”'
Unlike the film industry which believes that Women don't go to see movies, publishers know that women read books. You can see from the very big slice of action heroines in paranormal books that women are happy reading about female action characters who drive a story forward. These female characters are often weapons/martial arts experts who can take a man down in 3 seconds flat.
In her post, Writing Strong Women by fantasy author Glenda Larke. Glenda talks about the kind of women are aren't super heroes and don't know how to kick butt. She talks about women who have to be strong while being physically weaker. She says:
'... in the Stormlord trilogy, I wrote of an ordinary woman. She’s nothing much to look at. She’s seriously short-sighted in a society that hasn’t yet developed eye-glasses. For years, she’s been in love with a rogue who’s never given her a second glance. Her magic powers are weak, so she’s not much of a rainlord, either. She’s twenty-eight and unmarried.'
Will readers accept a character who is a mother, who also happens to lead a nation? We'll see when I send my new trilogy off to the publisher. Do you have a fave female lead character in film or books? Is she short sighted? If she takes off her glasses and lets her hair out of its bun do men fall off their chairs? LOL