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Breasts, the ultimate weapon in crime fighting.   —   Writing - Topical

It's no secret that I have a predilection for strong, smart, witty women who kick ass and make no apologies. I think it all started when I began playing Tomb Raider back in 2000. Stepping into Laura Croft's sexy hiking boots and short shorts was empowering (until I died) and firing her pistols at bad guys, wildlife, and dinosaurs was exhilarating (until I died). Watching her gracefully jump and hang from rocks and balance on beams and climb shit, all by my hand and with my mind, was addicting (until I fell, and died). Then I started watching Buffy and MY GOD did I ever want to karate kick someone in the head and then poke them with sharp things. And it's just snowballed from there, everything from the militaristic fighting machine of Alice in the Resident Evil movies, to fiercely independent and witty Lorelai Gilmore in Gilmore Girls. More recently it's been the intense honor, poise, and warrior methods of Wonder Woman in comics and the resourcefulness, wit, and ballsiness of Veronica Mars in the Veronica Mars TV show. Hell, I've even started reading the Kay Scarpetta novels written by Patricia Cornwell, wherein the protagonist is the Chief Medical Examiner in Virginia and every story revolves around her solving a murder. Only recently did I identify and acknowledge a pattern with these things, and a part of me doesn't even think of this predilection as a "thing", though it clearly is one. I'm living vicariously through these women and damn if it isn't a helluva good time.

When I started reading the comic book, Birds of Prey, written by Gail Simone, it quickly became certain that the book epitomized everything a girl like me could ask for. You have Oracle, a computer genius who despite being paralyzed from the waist down and in a wheelchair can still manage to break out of a jail cell (without her chair!) because she's just that damn crafty. Black Canary, who is a devoted friend and a deadly martial artist, excels in operative situations and can improvise her way out of any jam. And then there's my favorite character, Huntress. This woman's dry wit and take no prisoners attitude, coupled with the fact that she is rarely intimidated, makes her incredibly charming. They all have soft sides when they aren't fighting crime, of course, and it's these odd details (Black Canary owns a flower shop, Huntress is a school teacher, and Oracle ... well she's always Oracle) just adds to the depth and femininity of these women. That and they're all incredibly beautiful (in awesomely ridiculous outfits no doubt). It's fast becoming one of my favorite comic books though I'm only in the middle of the series and am bracing myself for the change of writers that takes place in another twenty issues.

So in working on my new story, The Door, I'm finding that it is very difficult for me to write my main female character, a woman who is not strong, empowered or witty. She is instead unsure of herself, timid and scared. At times I feel as though I am almost writing a parody of a weak woman rather than an honest illustration of one. Perhaps it will be a lesson in genuine femininity instead of the fictional goddesses that surround me on pedestals. The difficulty for me is that while these fictional strong women may be the ultimate embodiment of strength, intelligence, humor, grace, and confidence, the qualities are nonetheless transferable to real women in the real world, and I count myself among them. I imagine though that beneath my layers of armor there are elements of timidity, uncertainty and fear. And I will have to expose those fragile things to create this woman in The Door.

Now, if you'll excuse me I have to go polish my sword.

Posted 3.3.2010 7:18:56 PM

N@ wrote:
Yay strong female characters!!! The problem is that not every woman can be Wonder Woman all the time. Acknowledging and embracing those fragile parts are just as important. I think you'll write fragile wonderfully, and I think you'll find that you can take this woman and give her her own strengths and riches, in other ways.
Now, let's go fight crime! I'll grab the capes and leotards!
Posted 3/3/2010 9:28:38 PM
The Husband wrote:
Oh, I don't know, I think you have a little timidity in you now and then. Like driving to unfamiliar destinations, touching raw meat, or confronting fast-moving insects. ;)
Posted 3/4/2010 12:01:47 PM - The Husband's website
Doll wrote:
Hey - I kill fast-moving insects with my hand. MY HAND.
Timidity can bite me.
Posted 3/4/2010 1:29:46 PM
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