It took me aback because I've always used the term "strong women" to mean female characters who are well-rounded, well-written and integral to the story rather than being used as plot devices to motivate their male counterparts.
|More than one? Even better!|
But physical strength isn't the only way to be strong. In Metamorphosis, Lily can turn into a grizzly bear, but that's not what makes her a strong woman. She apologizes to no one for who she is and what she believes in, even when her own family disagrees with her. She's willing to stand on her own to do what is right and insist the rest of the world needs to move.
Metamorph Cali in Inquisition is another example of a different type of strong woman. There is no obstacle that she can't get around, under or through because she never gives up, no matter what the world throws at her. She also has the strength to examine her own beliefs and opinions, recognize when she's made a mistake and take the steps needed to fix it. Even if it costs her everything, she doesn't hesitate to make the necessary sacrifice.
In Judgment, Martha displays yet another different type of strength. The strength that comes when life has hit a person over and over, driving them to the edge of survival. It takes strength to reach that point and stand up to fight one's way back. Fighting against overwhelming odds when it can seem hopeless is one of the most powerful statements of strength a person can make. She may not have any powers, but that doesn't stop her.
Four women, all different, all strong in different ways. And my new heroines, Annika and Katie, will be strong as well, each in her own way.
To me, a strong woman is one with a sense of her own identity, who doesn't hide or make herself less in order to be liked. She doesn't bow down before the world and hope for the best. She takes active steps to shape her own life into the one she wants. It's not a one-dimensional trait. It can be applied in all kinds of ways and it's what makes a heroine inspiring.
Real life doesn't always reward strength. Sometimes it seems to delight in breaking those who dare to be strong. Fiction doesn't always reward strength, either. There are too many stories about strong women who are constantly struggling and fighting, never able to achieve their dreams. Sometimes these fictional women aren't even allowed to complain. They're praised for their acceptance and composure in the face of ongoing tragedy.
This is one of the reasons why I love the romance genre. No matter how bad the situation gets for the heroine, I know her strength will be rewarded and recognized. She will not be put in a position where she must sacrifice her strength for her dreams (or if she is, there will be a way where she gets both). Those are the stories about strong women that I want to read and write.
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