Women Protagonists Have Amazingly Unique Characteristics We All Want to Follow
What are the characteristics of a strong female character?
We’ve had countless heroine characters from Shakespeare, and a gazillion other stories from famous authors that portray the importance of women in literature. But what really makes a powerful female character?
Oftentimes, a female heroine is pictured out as a woman who acts like a man. But a female character doesn’t need to be physically strong—nor does she need to abandon her femininity—to drive a story. The industry’s most famous women protagonists ooze with bravery, and at the same time, have the ability to encourage sympathy from the audience.
Here are five determining characteristics of a strong woman protagonist in literature:
- She is fierce.
Every female figure in literature has at least one attention-grabbing characteristic that captivates the readers. Think of Lizzie Bennett from Pride and Prejudice. She is smart and outspoken, and she knows what she wants. Lizzie is a woman of character who won every bookworm’s heart. She was not scared of speaking her mind during the time when women were discouraged to do so.
- She evolves.
A female protagonist doesn’t stay the same over the course of the story. She changes—she evolves. She is definitely strong, but she also has her weaknesses. Daenerys Targaryen of Game of Thrones serves as a perfect example for this. At the start of the story, she was a meek lamb who took all the abuse inflicted on her by her cruel brother. She was a princess who wasn’t able to live like one. She was married to a barbarian, and continued to be verbally and physically abused by her older brother. But Daenerys is smart. And because of her wisdom, she was able to turn things around and became a powerful queen.
- She has a support group.
A female protagonist doesn’t support another character. Rather, she has her own support group that helps her achieve the narrative arc of the story. Going back to Daenerys, she has servants who helped her achieve things that she couldn’t have possibly done by herself. For example, Irri taught Daenerys how to ride a horse. Jhique taught her a language that she is not familiar of—the Dothraki language. And lastly, Doreah taught her how to make her husband happy. Although these people are not essentially her friends, they are loyal to Daenerys and helped her cope with a different culture.
- She stands up for herself.
She stands for what she believes in, and is not scared of ruffling someone’s feathers. She is brave, but it doesn’t mean that she is not scared. President Laura Roslin from Battlestar Galactica is one brave female protagonist. She prevented Dr. Baltar from being elected through retrieving the Arrow of Apollo, risking hers and her peer’s chances of going back to earth.
- She is not perfect.
There is nothing more frustrating than a character that seems to be too-good-to-be-true, but Katniss Everdeen of Hunger Games is tough and practical; two characteristics that are quite irresistible. But what sets her apart from others is that she is just an average character who happened to survive in a reality show. The girl knows how to use bow-and-arrow, but that doesn’t make her unbeatable. Katniss showed one major flaw when she refused to be the Mockingjay to rescue Peeta. She has put Peeta on top of her priorities and didn’t care much about the lives of people of Panem. These flaws of Katniss make readers dig for her even more.
All-time favorite female characters to take inspiration from: