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Strong Female Characters by Tsaalyo Strong Female Characters by Tsaalyo
Alright, before I get yelled at by a horde of people throwing 'misogyny' around like a sock they crapped in to beat me with, read this. When it comes to most media, be it movies, tv shows, videogames, books, I find that most of my favorite characters are women. The ones listed in the stamp, and a bunch more. And I'm not referring to brainless women wearing nothing and spreading their legs for the camera. Cortana from Halo, Celes Chere from Final Fantasy VI, Raven from Teen Titans, Zatanna from DC Comics, Makina Hoshimura from Shikabane Hime, Alicia Claus from Bullet Witch, Jade from Beyond Good and Evil, Ashrah from Mortal Kombat, and the list just goes on. I'm also a very big professional wrestling fan, but I'm disgusted by the state of women's wrestling, for the most part. It's oversexualized eye candy. That said, there are smaller independent promotions like SHIMMER which feature real female athletes, and I love them. Hell, I own some of their DVDs. So don't start with the "oh you hate women characters unless they're wearing nothing", you couldn't be further from the truth.

My problem? Too many writers seem to think that a 'strong' female character needs to be overbearing about it. The fact that she is a 'strong woman' becomes integral to her character. They try too hard to make her come off as strong, which makes her unlikeable, impossible to relate to for either gender. And then, when people voice dislike, our critics automatically jump to "you just can't handle a strong woman!" Such mindless rhetoric is why I stay out of politics.

For a woman to be strong (or for a man to be strong!) what matters is: If she gets knocked down, does she shake it off and get back up? If she's the victim of some sexist remark or action, does she cry about it, or does she move on? Can she stand up for herself, does she hold her ground when a volatile situation comes to blows? Even if she's not strong in the physical sense, is she strong emotionally? All this is important to a strong character. What is NOT included in a strong character, however, are:

-Emasculating men for fun.
-Yelling constantly when she doesn't get her way.
-Having to point out that she's a strong woman and you'd better deal with it.
-"It's DOCTOR, not Miss!" or some similar thing, constantly stated.
-Blatant bias and hypocrisy when it comes to her views between men and women.
-"I don't NEED you to come and RESCUE ME", or some similar thing, constantly stated, when all the male character did was ask if she needs help in, you know, defeating the demonic supervillain and his legion of horrors, and saving the world.

These are a few of the many mistakes that writers of today seem to constantly be making, believing that these are important in making a strong character and believing that it's what people want to see. It's the reason why so many strong female fronted works, like Canterbury's Law, are failing left right and center. It's not because "we can't handle a strong woman character." It's because, in a thinking audience, neither gender is amused by an over the top, overbearing, unrelatable, bitchy character, crammed down our throats as the lead of an otherwise great show or movie.

I hope writers start realizing their growing mistakes, and start producing more strong female characters who are actually likeable and relatable. Sad that almost all the characters in this stamp were created in the 90's or even earlier. Honestly, can't writers start getting it right again?

And yes, everything I stated here? Just as annoying if a male character does it.
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:iconmatt67potter:
matt67potter Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2013
What do you think of sarah palmer from halo 4?
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:icontsaalyo:
Tsaalyo Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013
Sadly, I couldn't tell you. I never finished it. I was really disappointed that Halo 4 was more of the same - go down a hallway to a large, square/rectangular area, kill everything, advance into next hallway, repeat. Plus, the end was spoiled for me. I didn't feel like grinding through the levels for THAT to be my reward. It just... wow. :/
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:iconmatt67potter:
matt67potter Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2013
I suppose that's fair
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:icontsaalyo:
Tsaalyo Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2013
Hopefully Halo 5 saves the franchise. If the ending of 4 really is final, I think that's it.
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:iconmatt67potter:
matt67potter Featured By Owner Jun 23, 2013
yeah
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:iconaetherya:
Aetherya Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's funny how the characteristics you pointed out in fact suggests a person's psychological insecurity rather than strength. So no matter what the creators may think, in effect, they are still creating weak women. xD
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:icontsaalyo:
Tsaalyo Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013
Rofl, didn't think of it like that. xD
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:iconaetherya:
Aetherya Featured By Owner Jan 21, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Such as "emasculating men for fun"... Well, if abusing women for fun does NOT make a guy stronger, but suggests just the opposite, then it's very turn-around-able, that abusing a man for fun does not make a woman stronger, but she has to do it because she feels weak otherwise. :lol:
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:icontsaalyo:
Tsaalyo Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2013
Yep, pretty much. :)
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:iconssx12345:
SSX12345 Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Lara Croft is my favourite!
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:icontsaalyo:
Tsaalyo Featured By Owner Jan 14, 2013
:D
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:iconguei-girl:
Guei-Girl Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2012
I hate what they did to Samus in Metroid: The Other M. She's basically a slutty punching bag for her abusive boyfriend//father figure. Basically, they turned Samus into Bella Swan.

And no, the decay of strong female characters isn't just a Japanese thing. Look at Mileena Kitana from the new MK game. They turned her into a suicidal damsel and Mileena into a giggly, immature, psycho bimbo instead of a evil cold femme fatale.

Ever noticed that with recent video games? Fuck you twilight and yandere genre stories.
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:iconjamesthedrow:
JamestheDrow Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
its funny cause i kinda feel that way about street fighter. when i was a young girl child i grew up worshiping chun li and her bad assness...and then i got my first talking street fighter game (admittedly was street fighter 4 because i kinda stop paying attention to the series for a time) i was so crushed to see she was a ditz....oh well at least i will always have cammy
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:iconguei-girl:
Guei-Girl Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013
I prefer Sakura, Makoto and Juri Han myself. Then again, I am a sucker for both the cute young cheerful Asian girl archtypes and Dark Action Girl archtype characters in fighting games.
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:iconjamesthedrow:
JamestheDrow Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
well normally i love the cute girl archetype ..i just dont think i expected it from chun li...like her movements and her behavior just dont seem to match lol.i loovve juri havent played as sakura or makoto though
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:iconguei-girl:
Guei-Girl Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013
Agreed.
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:icontsaalyo:
Tsaalyo Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012
Yeah, pretty much. Women are either overly bitchy, or completely dependent on their two dimensional boyfriends. It's sad, what the current generation of writers have done.
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:iconguei-girl:
Guei-Girl Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2012
Blame Twish*t for this.
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:icontsaalyo:
Tsaalyo Featured By Owner Oct 31, 2012
Yep. :/
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:iconelite-modesty:
Elite-Modesty Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012
I kind of like bitchy female characters. Only if they're unique and the show/book is aware that it's bitchyness not strength.Point is you can have a strong and interesting character that has bitchiness as a flaw.
However, I'm tired of people seeing kindness or gentleness as weekness, especially in female characters. It doesn't matter if they save people in a realistic way and stand up to themselves, if your not biting/blowing off heads then you're a pushover.
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:icontsaalyo:
Tsaalyo Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2012
Problem is, most forms of media play up the bitchiness as a strength. Blah.
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:iconelite-modesty:
Elite-Modesty Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2012
Probably, that's easier to write. But even if there are consequences for these actions and the voice even states the bitchiness for a flaw the audiencemay still assumes it's a strength.
Put your work in another culture and the meaning completely changes.
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:iconkianturada:
Kianturada Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2012
Homg yes. I even have friends who have bitchy 'strong' women. And this is what I feel.
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:icontsaalyo:
Tsaalyo Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2012
Glad you agree. :)
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:iconrodman1901:
Rodman1901 Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I agree. I get tired of reading about female characters who are considered strong, but have Donald Duck tempers, contradict themselves, or complain about everything. I designed a few female characters myself and I try to make sure they don't fall into the categories you mentioned.
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:icontsaalyo:
Tsaalyo Featured By Owner Jan 17, 2012
Good, I'm glad. :)
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:icondirtscan:
dirtscan Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2011
Interesting stamp, but what do you think of strong women in Fighting Games? I would love to know who would be listed as a tough chick. Personally, my favorite is Makoto from Street Fighter, but I bet you have a better choice, correct?
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:icontsaalyo:
Tsaalyo Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011
I never really played Street Fighter. For fighting games, I like most of the women from the Mortal Kombat series, particularly Ashrah, Frost, Sindel, and Sareena. I wish Sareena's clothes were a little less revealing, but eh, what can you do, Midway has to market to the 15 year old male demographic. xD
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:icondirtscan:
dirtscan Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2011
That is true indeed. Not alot of women I like in MK, but if there are some that comes to mind, Sonya , Sindel, and Sareena are some I can think of. Also personally, MK Women are trying to look too sexy is what made me start to like other fighting game babes, I don't know, maybe I don't like western made chicks, but MK is still my favorite fighting game.
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:icontsaalyo:
Tsaalyo Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2011
It really is a game for mid-teens, so of course they make most of the women wear nothing, lol. The newer ones are getting more modest though, or even if not, their storylines typically more than make up for their fighting in a thong and duct tape. Ashrah especially~.
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:icondirtscan:
dirtscan Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2011
Ashrah don't look too slut imo, other than her alternate, but she's probably one of the few I can tolerate.
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:icontsaalyo:
Tsaalyo Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2011
I know. I was more referring to her awesome story.
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:icondirtscan:
dirtscan Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2011
Oh ok, great
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:iconf14ace:
f14ace Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2011
Don't forget Princess Leia from Star Wars. She back-sassed Darth Vader and actually lived to tell about.

Captain Janeway from Star Trek Voyager. She bitch-slapped the Borg on numerous occasions.

There's also Ziva David, Kate Todd, Jenny Shepard, and Abby Sciuto from NCIS. These characters are all awesome and the show wouldn't be nearly as awesome if they weren't in it.
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:icontsaalyo:
Tsaalyo Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2011
Yay. :)
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:iconf14ace:
f14ace Featured By Owner Aug 13, 2011
There's also Nala from The Lion King and Saphira the dragon from the Inheritance books. Both of them are so many levels of awesome... Who says strong female characters have to be human?
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:icontsaalyo:
Tsaalyo Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2011
:XD:
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:icondarkproxy:
DarkProxy Featured By Owner Jul 24, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
yeah Re-L mayer is a bit of a bitch which is why I named my cat after her they are so alike
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:icontsaalyo:
Tsaalyo Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2011
She is, but it's sort of justified by the whole Romdeau mindset. She gets better, so it's all good. Character development. :)
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:icondarkproxy:
DarkProxy Featured By Owner Jul 25, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
yeah after leaving the dome she lightens up
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:iconinvaderlix:
invaderlix Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2011  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes! Win!
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:icontsaalyo:
Tsaalyo Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2011
:)
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:iconcqueenc17:
CQueenC17 Featured By Owner Jun 22, 2011
Thank you! Thank you! :dance: Gawd, you don't know how irritatating I find it and feel insulted and appalled when people think that a strong female HAS to be bitchy, have a chip on her shoulder, violent, hot-tempered, condescending and/or overbearing, while other female characters who don't have or show these traits get burned at the stake and called "doormats," "weak," "sex symbols" or "perfect housewives." this sentiment is especially strong in the anime fandom, where the majority of fans seem to be brainwashed to think that the tsundere characters are strong women. I also see this sentiment a lot in the movie and video game fandoms as well; where a lot of the female character fall under the "overbearing and unlikable bitch" stereotype. I find it so sad that this belief is going strong and very few people realize this "strong women must be overbearing and unlikable bitches" belief is in itself offensive and untrue. :disbelief:

Anyway, :+fav:'ing this as well. You voiced everything I thought about this topic.
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:icontsaalyo:
Tsaalyo Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2011
I know! I will admit to liking some tsundere anime characters, IF they are done right, but I at least understand that the fact that they yell at lot doesn't equate to some kind of strength. It's how they act when they're not yelling for comedic effect that we see if they are strong, or if they are bitchy.

But what I really agree with is how a lot of people think that women who don't show the bitchy traits get passed off as doormats, weak, perfect housewives, and ESPECIALLY sex symbols. My god, I cannot stress enough how much that annoys me. "She's not bitchy towards him? OH MY GOD WHAT A MALE FANTASY SLUUUUT." *facepalm* Some people have issues.
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:icontsukikokyochi:
tsukikokyochi Featured By Owner May 27, 2011  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Exactly! Anime is ALWAYS trying to create "strong female characters." You know what usually happens? It's just some stupid bitch who punches a guy halfway to hell screaming "BAKA HENTAAAIIIII!" Drives me up the wall. Hey, I love anime and all, but come on....can't we get some characters who aren't just there so the writer can go "ZOMG IM NAWT SEKSHIST C SHE JST KICKD DAT PERVURT CAUS HE MOLESTD HR!"

No...sorry, but you fail miserably, manga-ka. Although it's not always the case, but most strong women are portrayed as tempermental, bitchy, and whiny, wheras men can be awesome and kick ass. How is that fair, eh?
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:icontsaalyo:
Tsaalyo Featured By Owner May 29, 2011
It really does. That's one of the stereotypes in anime that makes my taste in the genre so specific. I've actually found but two animes worth watching for me, Ergo Proxy and Shikabane Hime. I've heard good things about a couple of others, but yeah, not many animes get though this "strong female character" filter, sadly.
Reply
:iconcooldude104:
Cooldude104 Featured By Owner May 26, 2011  Student General Artist
Thank you. you know I have a few female characters myself. all of them are capable fighters, not bitchy, can handle their own, and they ignore any silly comments they get, they are quite capable of doing things themselves but they do call in for help every know and then.

tell me how does that sound?
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:icontsaalyo:
Tsaalyo Featured By Owner May 26, 2011
Perfect.
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:iconcooldude104:
Cooldude104 Featured By Owner May 26, 2011  Student General Artist
Thanks.
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