Whether we realize it or not, fictional characters shape our views and actions. If these superwomen, who can do no wrong or ever fail, are the standard bearers for the sex, what is it doing to readers who can never relate? My guess, the same psychological damage caused by the standards set by photo-shopped anorexic models. Is it any wonder that suicide rates have risen over 200% in pre-teen and teen girls, not to mention the 60% overall rise in the past 15 years, according to the CDC.
This is of course speculation. However, psychological studies have found that one of the leading factors of the rise in suicide is being attributed to unrealistic life expectations. And that romance novels can give women unrealistic views of relationships. So, it’s reasonable to think that the unrealistic examples of SFCs in entertainment is contributing to this dissatisfaction with the ordinary.Science agrees with Dawn's theory.
How can one be satisfied with the ordinary, when the examples in literature and movies aren’t satisfied with the ordinary? And when you do get a female character with weaknesses, they are just as awful the other direction. Bella Swan in the Twilight series was an emotional wreck who is just shy of being a suicide victim. The two dimensional character of Anastasia Steele in 50 Shades of Gray was little more than a sex doll for Gray. And, while some claim her as an SFC, Katniss Everdeen was little more than a puppet of circumstances and the people around her. She was used and abused, first by President Snow and then by President Alma Coin.
What I want to see more of are female characters who are complicated. Give me characters who accept that they have weaknesses, that they need help from, not only other female characters, but from males as well. Give me characters who are okay with being rescued, failing, and not being the smartest person in the room, but still have a will of their own. Give me characters who are flawed, who make mistakes, who aren’t perfect.
Give me characters that I can relate to.Read the whole thing here.
Observation: consider how SF SJWs insist that readers can only identify with characters who are exactly like them; yet flood the market with inhuman Mary Sues that no one can relate to.
For the platonic ideal of this phenomenon, witness Stefan Molyneux's dissection of Beauty and the Beast by Disney, the studio that's dedicated to finding new and special ways to hate you.
As a counterexample, I've written two books with female protagonists. One is an immortal magic spaceship pilot. The other can bench press a Volkswagen, commands the elemental forces of fire, and controls an entire city with her mind. Yet they're both deeply flawed (thieving wino and emotionally unstable psychotic, respectively), and I've gotten a stream of compliments talking about how much readers love and sympathize with both of them.
Strong female characters can be written well. The key lies in a) understanding the differences between masculine and feminine strength and b) actually giving them vulnerabilities so retain some semblance of dramatic tension.