I was scrolling through my Tumblr dash, as I am wont to do, and I came across a fascinating quote that really got my brain juices stirring.
Recently, there’s been an outburst of postings on heroines and female characters in books. While some of this has been terrible, and even downright despicable (shaming teenage girls, arguing that there isn’t still a huge gender divide in literature today, etc.), other stronger voices are being heard. We want more female characters, good and bad and everything in between.
So when I came across the quote below, it immediately caught my attention.
At first, I was like:
I want this. GIRL MONSTERS. How amazing does that sound? And how rare? It reminded me of The Lord of the Rings, actually. In a fantasy series that could’ve be ripe with girl creatures, there are only three main females characters, one human and two elves. Gimli tells this hilarious story about dwarf women, but we never actually see any. The Entwives have literally been lost, completely written out of a story where they could’ve crushed some serious Isengard. I’m not bashing LotR. It’s one of my favorite series of all time, but sometimes I wish there was so much more.
But then I reread the quote and the line that really struck a chord with me was the writer saying he/she wants to “see how you get strong without being broken first.”
There isn’t just one way to be strong. Part of what makes a character’s journey compelling is the hardship, the struggle to overcome. It doesn’t have to be a kingdom to conquer or a one true love. It can be as simple as fighting against the insecurity of looking in the mirror and seeing nothing. But that struggle makes the character human and even monsters have humanity.
It’s been my experience that strength isn’t innate; it’s learned. Being broken or starting off small isn’t a bad thing. So I’m not tired of my heroines hurting. I want them to hurt and smile and break and rise from the ashes and gnash their teeth and roar and show off their shiny scales.
Let’s chat! Do you want to see more girl monsters? Are you tired of your heroines hurting?