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Making strong female characters (minor GOT spoilers)

Ivory11

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Joined
Sep 13, 2013
Location
Australia
This is an opinion piece, I will say what I think makes a strong female character and while so many "girl power" movies bomb so hard at the box office, in reviews etc...

I got the idea from this from watching a "Nostalgia Chick" video, the one linked here.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ef23qdA034

here she outlines why so many "girl power" movies bomb so much.

A few hours later I was reading an article about strong female characters in Game of Thrones and it got me thinking... comparing the women of Westeros to the women of the movies Nostalgia chick reviews, I found a pattern...

In those movies, the women have no real struggle!

Ok let's get into the meat of this.

Catwoman, pretty much the only way of showing her to be "strong" is at first she was a quiet, sweet young woman who works hard and gets nowhere in life, and once she becomes catwoman, she goes around beating up people in a skimpy outfit and becomes a bit of a bitch... that's it! she has no real struggle, she just becomes catwoman, and PRESTO! the only enemy that even hits her back is another woman (double girl power I guess?)

Now, let's compare this to game of thrones, specifically the fight between Brienne of Tarth and the Hounds AKA Sandor Clegane. At first it starts out as a sword fight but it quickly deteriorates into a brutal slugfest, with Brienne even going so far as to bite Sandor's goddamn ear off!
At the end of this, she was exhausted, beaten, bloodied and panting... she didn't do the "girl power" thing and just overcome him because he's a "weak little man and she's a strong independant woman" no, they were both people, both great warriors, who fought tooth and nail to try and get the upper hand. and while one fell, the other was fucked! exhausted and sore.

Let's compare "Electra" to "Ygrid"
Electra, her whole movie can be summed up with "Strong Independant woman" and her enemies going "She can't beat us, she's just a woman! oop! she beat us!" it craps on about how weak she should be as a woman then BAM she kills like, 20 men... a common theme I'll touch on here is that killing a bunch of men like flies isn't empowerment, empowerment comes from facing adversity and managing to overcome it with everything you have in order to emerge a stronger person.

Ygrid on the other hand, you can understand where she got her skills and how she's so good at it. She doesn't fight close quarters because the fact is, she's not the ultimate warrior, her specialty is ranged attacks with a bow, not beating down 15 men in 5 seconds. and guess what? despite her being a strong woman, she like all other women in Game of thrones are put on a completely EQUAL playing field to the men, that is she gets axed off... you might think it's morbid that I think a woman dying in a show is a good point but it is! it goes to show that women are just as likely as the men to fail, to get assassinated, to get killed on the battlefield, which, when they rise up, makes it all the more empowering.

In my opinion, you can't have a strong character unless they have weaknesses, it helps ground them into being a believable character, when you see them sweat, see them struggle and claw to get to the top, when their adversaries aren't just cannon fodder meant to die but others fighting just as hard for their lives, and with every adversary they face they are just as likely to die as their enemy... THAT is what a strong character is in my opinion.

What do you think makes a good strong female character? is it them being the best at what they do that no-one else can compare to? is it them struggling, fighting and clawing their way to victory all the while losing their friends or even pieces of themselves along the way? what do you think?
 
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