Headstrong is Code

In my last episode I mentioned that he use of “headstrong” to describe a female character is almost as bad as calling her “beautiful”.

Headstrong. I suppose I should explain why I find that appellation awful, even as it is widely regarded as a strongly positive trait for female main characters. We can add to the list ‘rebellious’ and ‘independent’. In a man, the exact same traits would be spun positively as ‘confident’.

Why is confident considered a separating characteristic for women? Why is independence a trait worthy of a fantasy hero?

Independent and whatnot are all traits that, applied to a fictional role model, imply that she is somehow special. But hold on there, Sparky! None of those things should be regarded as special. “She a woman… but.. she’s also independent? MADNESS!” Let’s just stop right there.

All those descriptions are code for “hasn’t met the right man yet.”

Seriously, I wish I was wrong. While there are a couple of notable exceptions, there exists shit-tons of novels and series of novels based on the simple premise that an otherwise-powerful woman must somehow care about the merits of her multiple asshole suitors, and when she chooses the best asshole-suitor prosperity ensues. Each asshole is almost-perfect, and fans can form teams around the assholes. But that misses the point.

Our girl doesn’t need any of those assholes.

So let’s get to the real headstrong. She’s got her opinions, and she’s ready to defend them, but she will also listen gracefully and accept when she’s wrong. She’s strong that way. She loves hard, and when her best friend says, “that woman is using you,” she says, “hope you’re wrong,” because she’d not going to stop loving. She’s not one to let go easily.

But she’s headstrong, and change isn’t so easy. It’s a curse she lives with every day, the inability to let go of the little battles to win the war. Her lover whispers in her ear every night, little nothings that add up to something, but nothing will erase the big picture, even for a moment. You can never stop being a hero.


3 thoughts on “Headstrong is Code

  1. Hi Jerry
    I’ve been going through a process of extricating myself from the car crash that is the Social Internets. As a baby step away from that dopamine driven affection, I revisited a long idle rss reader.
    And here you are, same as always, writing and thinking. I’ve enjoyed catching up with your last few posts.
    I don’t know how long I’ll stick around this time, and I’m sure you’ll feel no pangs if I slide away, but I wanted to say hi. Because you seem nice.

    • gizo! Great to hear from you. I have (mostly) abandoned Social Media as well – I will sneak a peek on Facebook every few weeks, and I will post self-portraits on Instagram, but for the most part, this (and knives-the-novel.net, which you might enjoy) are my Internet presence.

      This blog is no longer the hub for a group of interesting people; Facebook lured them away and then killed the very idea of “hub for interesting people”. But still I Ramble on, and a few of my most-cherished interesting people show up now and then and make my day.

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