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Why Women Characters Need to Be Strong-Realistic

screenwriting tv writing writing writing novels writing women Feb 03, 2021

Happy Writer Wednesday! 

Today I have a new video on YouTube about how to write strong older women characters and you can watch it here! (I'd love for you to subscribe and share with other writers) 

It's so important to represent women correctly in books, TV, and movies but still there are stereotypes that hurt us and it's up to YOU, me and all writers to get it right! 

Having strong female character is about so much more than just having a character like Wonder Women who is strong physically, it means making them real and making them amazing in every way. 

Most recently in the French TV series, Dix Pour Cent or Call My Agent as it's named outside of France, powerhouse Sigourney Weaver played herself negotiating a deal for a film role that put her with an older leading man. There were so many things about this particular episode that got me fired up about this topic. 

It's important for us to keep going as women. It's important to believe that we can do everything that a man can do and not take anything less. Growing up I never thought that there was any difference and it didn't occur to me that I couldn't achieve something just because I am a woman. 

In fact, I never thought about it, but I should have. Things were said to me and done that wouldn't have happened if I was a man, and I'm not talking about equal pay either, and we all know that is still a problem. 

Things like commenting on my looks, or anyone's looks for any reason. I saw a post today from someone who posted about AOC and he called her beautiful. Well, she is, but do you ever hear that about men politicians? Imagine if it went like this. "he is smart, outgoing, has a plan, sympathetic, bad ass, and gorgeous" you would cringe!! Just like I did when I saw the post about AOC. Why did that need to be said? 

Because we are trained to do so. 

Men also often get deeply offended when called on this. "Why can I say a woman is beautiful? They should like the compliment." because it's not a compliment it's a qualifier that implies that our looks have something to do with our position in life and how we can do something. 

GAG ME WITH A SPOON!!! (Yes I just quoted Moon Zappa) 

When we are writing women characters, it's fine to make them beautiful but that should never hit the page in a way that under minds everything else. 

I want you to write real women who are badass in their own right. 

Now you may be thinking, but Stephanie, don't you write chick lit and romantic comedies?

I do and I love the Hallmark and Lifetime movies and one of my goals is to have work up there, but that doesn't mean that any of my characters are less then just because they are women. 

You can write women leads without doing them disservice. 

Look at writers like Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella, Pamela Kelley, Liane Moriarty (and too many others to list) for STRONG FEMALE CHARACTERS. 

I want you to write women who we all want to watch, read about, and be but don't think about it in a way that will hurt your writing. Character is character. Make her strong and real. 

Everyone is sick of the sarcastic woman who doesn't want a man that became so trendy in the 90s. Just because someone may want to get married that doesn't make her less than and since when do all women have to be sarcastic? 

I'm so over that character. 

It's fine if she is but she doesn't need to be. 

Some shows that you can stream right now that I love for their writing of women are: 

Sex and the City

The Bold Type

Girlfriend's Guide to Divorce 

The Gilmore Girls 

Dix Pour Cent/Call My Agent not a female lead show but the character of Andrea is so well written. 

Another thing happening is that female characters all of sudden don't need or want to wear make up or pink--why not? I am a strong woman, and a feminist and I love pink. I love make up and I love dresses and girly things. It's my choice to do it. 

My suggestion to you is to write about real women you know in your real life. Watch, listen, and learn about how they act, speak, behave, etc. 

And please don't make her anything other than who she is. 

You can do it. We can do it, but we need to pay close attention to the words we use when we write. 

Here is a link to an article about Sigourney Weaver and why she immediately accepted the role in Call My Agent at age 70 BTW. What a badass!! 

Thank you for reading and come back every week! 

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