The Weakness of Strong Female Characters

Five years ago, I wrote an extensive essay on the role of heroes and heroines in science fiction and fantasy, under the deliberately provocative title Saving SCIENCE FICTION From STRONG FEMALE CHARACTERS.

My point was rather less provocative: I held that in a story any character, male or female, displaying the admirable virtues of heroism should act in character, and neither be a effete male nor a macho female. The flaws of one sex do not become virtues merely by being swapped to the opposite sex.

I was frankly disappointed that not a single critic of the essay answered, addressed, or offered any argument against any points made within the essay. They all reacted like screaming ninnies to the title, and none of them actually read it.

In honor of Galatea of Authentic Observer, who addresses the same theme, I here republish the sprawling essay gathered now into one page for your ease and delight of reading.

Part One

Anyone reading reviews or discussions of science fiction has no doubt has come across the oddity that most discussions of female characters in science fiction center around whether the female character is strong or not.

As far as recollection serves, not a single discussion touches on whether the female character is feminine or not.

These discussions have an ulterior motive.

Either by the deliberate intent of the reviewer, or by the deliberate intention of the mentors, trendsetters, gurus, and thought-police to whom the unwitting reviewer has innocently entrusted the formation of his opinions, the reviewer who discusses the strength of female characters is fighting his solitary duel or small sortie in the limited battlefield of science fiction literature in the large and longstanding campaign of the Culture Wars.

He is on the side, by the way, fighting against culture.

Hence, he fights in favor of barbarism, hence against beauty in art and progress in science, and, hence the intersection of these two topics, which means, against science fiction.

Read the Remainder of this entry>>