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Strong Female Characters


This post in for all those folks who are like me: a little nerdy (okay a LOT nerdy), funny as hell, quite charming, and lacking in coordination and grace.

There, I admit it. While I can teach, design intriguing and relevant lesson plans in my college biology classes, and write scifi/fantasy novels, I am seriously NOT built for sports.

Of any kind.

Although I do shoot guns and am quite good at that…*ponders this fact*

Anyway, I sometimes wish I had grace and poise, and kick ass reflexes so I can do really awesome things. Like slay vampires like Buffy.

What I wouldn’t GIVE to be able to do a back-flip, use a round-house kick to launch a bad guy through a wall, all while keeping my hair in perfect style. Seriously. Buffy is one of my heroes! She’s a girly-girl and yet can kick anyone’s butt, including the Master, Glory, and Caleb.

My husband and I have recently started watching Burn Notice on Netflix. I am seriously loving this show! The female lead, Fiona Glenann, a spunky and gorgeous former IRA member who works with Michael Weston, burned spy and main character of the series. Fiona is just so superbly AWESOME that I look forward to each episode to see what she’ll come up with next!

Fiona is an excellent marksman, explosives expert (seriously…she mixes together C4 like your mom bakes cakes), and the best get-away driver this world has ever seen! She’s charming, witty, gorgeous, smart, wears the CUTEST clothes…what’s not to love?

I’ve decided that I relate to very strong female characters like Buffy and Fiona because they possess the athletic skills I sorely lack. When these women start beating the crap out of the bad guys, I get this little thrill, exclaiming to my husband that I am SO like them. He rolls his eyes and humors me. Usually because at about that time I will jump to my feet to prove my athletic prowess, only to stub my toe on the coffee table, or about fall on my face as I trip over a tiny fold in the area rug.

*sigh* It’s all good. I’ll just live vicariously though women like these. And write strong female characters in my novels 😉

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17 Comments on “Strong Female Characters”

  1. Sherry Isaac March 30, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    My total lack of physical ability, grace, and cool is the prime reason why I steer away from sports and stick to writing… strong female characters!

    Surprisingly, as un-athletic as I was even in high school, I kicked butt in volleyball and was a wicked server. Two years ago I took beginner classes in archery, just because, and it seems I have a knack for that, too.

    But since lack of coordination and grace are not a good mix with a potentially deadly weapon, I have not continued. I bow to Xena and Buffy and Charlie’s Angels.

    Flat beer and dill pickles are also not a good mix, but that is a comment for another day…

    • shayfabbro March 30, 2012 at 9:37 am #

      ROFL! You gotta blog about the beer and pickles!

      • Sherry Isaac March 30, 2012 at 9:51 am #

        Um, no I don’t. But maybe…

        • shayfabbro March 30, 2012 at 9:56 am #

          You’re SO gonna do it…*whispers…do it!!!!!*

  2. caspeace March 30, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    Yeah, that happens to me too, Shay! But I also think there’s a lack of really believable strong female leads in fantasy, which is why there’s one in my Artesans series. I wanted to create a woman who could hold her own in a man’s world, and often surpass the men, without being a perfect paragon or sinewy barbarian type. My girl isn’t perfect by any means, and she doesn’t rely only on either her physical prowess or her others powers to succeed. But boy – can she kick ass when she needs to!
    She was great fun to write. 😀

    • shayfabbro March 30, 2012 at 9:38 am #

      Awesome!!!! I totally agree about making them believable! 😀 Can’t be too perfect 😉

  3. hnsieverding March 30, 2012 at 9:41 am #

    Love this post!

  4. stevenluna March 30, 2012 at 11:04 am #

    Developed a huge and permanent crush on Jennifer Garner watching her rain down fire and brimstone on the forces of human evil on “Alias”. I think Sydney Bristow was one of the most intriguing and complex characters on TV during that show’s span – a perfect combination of tough and sensitive, and Jenny G. played her brilliantly. Big ups to the female characters who can kick ass and break hearts, all at the same time!

    • shayfabbro March 30, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

      I need to see if Netflix has Alias on live streaming! 😀

  5. shayfabbro March 30, 2012 at 1:40 pm #

    It’s also quite funny that what I lack in total body grace, I make up for in precision movements. I am darn good at animal surgeries and such for research purposes…and yet, I trip over a tiny crumb hidden in the carpet…

    *head/desk*

  6. Rebecca Byfield March 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    I try to have strong female characters that don’t need saving but do the saving. They might have a moment or two where they are weak and want to be saved (don’t we all) but then they decide that the buck stops with them and the fate of the world rests on their shoulders. I also like kick-ass female villains as well. They are great fun to write.

    • shayfabbro March 30, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

      Agreed!!!! GIRL POWER! *fist bump*

  7. JesseJamesFreeman March 30, 2012 at 7:11 pm #

    I love strong female characters and they tend to show up in everything I write. I think (hope) it means I wanna find a girl who can ride out the zombie-apocalypse with me.

  8. Eva Rieder April 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    I deeply enjoyed this post, Shay, because I can identify with everything you’re saying—and here’s the really terrible part: I spent 6 years as a part-time aerialist. Which is to say I somehow found myself quite graceful in the air, but then came down to the ground, took two steps, and tripped on the mat. 🙂 So down here, I just write; it seems safer and a heck of a lot more graceful…until I get out of my chair…

    (Now commencing cheerleading—in a safely padded room—for all strong female characters!)

    • shayfabbro April 9, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

      An aerialist?!? That’s impressive!!!! 😀 Isn’t it funny how we can be so graceful in some areas and yet to clumsy in others?? 😉 And I agree, writing is definitely safer…at least for us. The characters? Not so much!

      • Eva Rieder April 9, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

        Thanks! I “retired” somewhat–still train here and there, but just for fun. I decided my next performance had to be my writing. 🙂 As for our characters…yeah, good luck to them!

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