Fiction’s Females

Hello, friends.  Today, we’ll be talking about female characters in modern literature.

As a female myself, I identify with several aspects of several female characters.  For example, Cath Avery from Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.  Like Cath, I spent a great deal of my time absorbed in fictional worlds.  Books are just so much safer than reality.  Or maybe Hermione Granger.  I wasn’t quite the know-it-all she was, but I was definitely teacher’s pet.  I also had the outrageous, uncontrollable curly hair.  Or what about Katniss Everdeen, perhaps my favorite modern literary heroine?  I would go to any lengths to protect my little sister.  I would rather die than let any harm come to her.  That’s what big sisters do, and Katniss is just… wow.  I love her.

Of course, all these characters have their flaws, too.  Cath is timid and antisocial.  Hermione is stubborn.  Katniss is cold and hardened after the loss of her father and having to become the primary caregiver and supplier for her entire family.

There is a big push today for writers – of books as well as movies – to create what is known as the STRONG female character.  We’re not talking about a damsel-in-distress whose one goal in life is to meet Prince Charming, fall in love, and live happily ever after.  Although I have to say, I have friends who want just that and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.  Who doesn’t want to find companionship?  It’s a basic human need.

But you know what I’m talking about.  The swooning schoolgirl just isn’t “in” right now.  And that’s fine also!  I love female characters who are intelligent, ambitious, witty, independent, talented, powerful, etc…  What I don’t like is female characters who come off as rude, ungrateful, sarcastic, and pretentious.

Why do I bring this up?  Because I’m reading a book with exactly that type of “strong” female character right now.  Or should I say I WAS reading the book.  To be totally honest with you, I hate this girl so much that I probably won’t make it much farther.  Disappointing too, because this is a book I really thought I was going to like.  I downloaded it on Kindle on a total whim.  It wasn’t one I had planned on reading.  Now it’s on that I don’t plan on finishing.

I know what the author is trying to do.  She’s trying to make her female protagonist “different.”  She’s super smart, totally focused on her studies and her budding career (more power to her for that), but she’s totally aloof, unimpressed with anything the other girls find interesting.  That’s fine, you don’t have to fawn over Harry Styles if everyone else does, but don’t look down on them for doing so.  This girl acts so snobby and above-it-all that I can’t imagine why she has any friends in the first place!  She’s so completely rude and unappreciative to everyone she meets, even when they treat her with nothing but courtesy and respect because she’s so smart and special… It just drives me crazy!  Of course *spoiler alert* she gets the guy in the end, the one that she scoffed at all the other girls for swooning over.

I try to take a whole different approach to the STRONG female character in my books.  I like my heroines to be independent and smart and witty… but I also like the to be genuine.  I like them to be honest, to struggle over what’s right and wrong, to enjoy what they enjoy, and to not be ashamed of being themselves and loving what they love.

Take Mel in Boy Band.  She’s not particularly intelligent or ambitious, but she’s loyal and she’s a hard worker and in this new book, boy does she struggle with what’s right and what’s wrong.  She’s a good friend and she’s so completely in love with Sam, but that doesn’t make her weak or anti-feminist.  It makes her her.

Kate in Cemetery Tours is a bit different.  She’s older, more ambitious, more intelligent, and she doesn’t let anyone tell her what to do.  She’s brave and adventurous, but she also loves nothing more than sitting around in her pajamas and marathoning her favorite television show.

I love my female characters.  I wouldn’t enjoy writing them if I didn’t.  And I don’t love them because they’re STRONG.  I love them simply because they’re them.  They’re real to me.  That’s what I’ve always tried to achieve with all my characters.  I want them to feel like real, fleshed out people.  Not a jumble of characteristics on a page with a name attached to them.

It’s important for women to be strong, but it’s just as important for us to be real, to be genuine, and to be happy and proud of who we are no matter what.  We’re all different.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  Nothing at all.

Just For Fun: Questions All Women Need to Answer

Like so many in the modern age of technology and the internet, I am a big fan of Buzzfeed.  I can spend hours and hours browsing and enjoying articles like What It’s Like to Watch Harry Potter for the First Time or Reasons Matthew Gray Gubler is the Nerd of Your Dreams (he really is).  Yesterday, I stumbled across one I hadn’t seen before.  41 Questions that All Women Need to Answer.  Upon reading through the list, some of the questions are silly and some I truly cannot answer due to lack of experience or whatever, but I thought it might be fun to go through and answer the ones that I can to the best of my ability.

Note: I answer only for myself. I cannot and do not speak for all women.

Another Note: There were questions that are not family friendly and will not be included.

Q: Why do women lie?

A: I think the more accurate question is Why do people lie, because as Dr. Gregory House so eloquently put it, everyone lies.  But women in general?  Like, why do women lie to men?  Probably because we don’t want to hurt your feelings or we want to get out of something.  Or we’re being sneaky and trying to figure something out.  Or we want to make ourselves look good.  But I feel like those aren’t specific to women.  I feel like those are the main reasons that people in general lie.

Q: Why do women always want to “squeeze” babies?

A: I am not a baby squeezer.  I’m always afraid I am going to somehow hurt a baby or hold it wrong, so I try to be as gentle as possible.  But I do know what it’s like to want to squeeze a cute animal.  We like hugging cute things.  It’s that simple.

Q: Why do women bring the whole family to doctors appointments?

A: N/A

Q: Why do women wear 1-inch heels? Like, what is the purpose?

A: Heels are stylish.  Heels make my legs look good.  Heels make my feet feel fancy.  True, it is difficult to walk in heels and yeah, they can be uncomfortable.  But I like my heels.  I like to feel pretty.

Q: Why do women have small feet?

A: I wear a size 9. We do not all have small feet.

Q: Why do women complain about their relationships and still stay in them?

A: I’m not in a relationship, and when I was and I was unhappy, I did end it.  But I felt very guilty about it.  I felt like I owed it to him to try to make it work.  I felt like I didn’t have a good enough reason to end it.  He was a good guy.  He’d never hurt me.  Complaining is really easy.  Taking action and making a decision that affects not only your life but another person’s as well is hard.

Q: Why do women have to be so hard to understand?

A: Why do men have to be so hard to understand?  In all seriousness though, what I’ve come to understand is that men and women’s brains work in different ways.  Women are very analytical.  We’re dwellers.  We have like, fifty things running through our heads at once.  We remember every moment from every interaction we’ve ever had and we consider every possible reaction and every possible outcome.  Being a woman is actually very stressful.

Q: Why do women get so upset when you unfollow them on social networks?

A: If I don’t know you, then I don’t care.  If I do know you, I’m going to be wondering what I did wrong.  Forever.

Q: Why do women dislike each other so much?

A:  I don’t dislike other women.  Most of my friends are girls.  But if one woman doesn’t like another, it’s probably because she makes her feel insecure.  Or maybe she’s just not a good person.  It has nothing to do with gender.  I don’t like men who are jerks either.

Q: Why do women in rock songs always wear cheap perfume?

A: This is a very good question.  Maybe the women that rock stars like can’t afford expensive perfume.

Q: Why can’t women sit still?  They’re always fiddling with something!

A:  I definitely do this, but to be honest, I don’t know why.  I just have to be doing something with my hands.  If you give me a sheet of paper, it will be folded and crinkled and ripped within ten minutes.  Maybe it’s because if we just sit there, we think, and when we think, we overanalyze and suddenly we end up reliving some embarrassing thing that happened in high school and worrying that everyone still remembers it, which I’m fairly certain they don’t.

Q: Why do women need to use more than 4 towels to shower?

A: One to step out on, one to wash your face, one to dry you off, one to dry your hair, and one for when you need to wash your hands.

Q: Why do women take pictures with half of their faces cut out?

A: It’s artsy.

Q: Why do women get mad when guys approach them?

A: Half the time we won’t. If we’re in the mood to flirt, then we love it. If we’re just trying to enjoy a night out with our girlfriends and want nothing to do with men (it does happen), then it’s annoying.  Unfortunately for you men, you’ll never know.  However, I think most of the time we’re flattered.  Again, can’t and do not speak for all women.  Only myself.

Q: Why do women friend zone the nice guys and then date jerks?

A: Oh man. This requires a long, long, long answer. The short version is we don’t intentionally “friend zone” anyone.  It’s either there or it isn’t, although I do think it is possible to escape the proverbial “friend zone.”  And believe it or not, we do date good guys.  We love good guys.  All the guys my friends have married are lovely people and totally nice.  However, I do encourage anyone who has ever wanted a more thorough and thought-out answer to this question to google Good Guys vs. Nice Guys.

Q: Why do women get upset when someone gives their baby the same name as theirs?

A: I don’t have a baby.  I do, however have two little cousins, the exact same age, who are both named Cade.

Q: Why do women wear form-fitting and revealing clothes?

A: I like to wear clothes that flatter my figure.  I think all women do.  I don’t wear clothes that reveal.  If I want to look good, then I’ll do my best to dress well.  Most of the time, though, I’m happy in sweats and t-shirts.

Q: Why do women dress up in dresses and high heals to go to the airport?

A: I don’t.  Again, sweats and t-shirts.  But maybe they’re on their way to a business meeting.  Maybe they’re meeting a guy at the airport.  They could have someone important waiting for them.

Q: Why do women cut their hair and then cry about cutting it later?

A: We’re complicated and we change our minds.  We’ve all regretted haircuts.  I cut my hair two months ago, and immediately after, I was missing my long hair.

Q: Why do women think that leggings are an acceptable substitute to trousers?

A: Good question.  I can’t just wear leggings.  My legs are my worst feature.

Q: Why do women hate Leos?

A:  I’m not really partial to any specific astrological sign, so I can’t help you here.

Q: Why do women have like 8 purses?

A: Different outfits require different accessories. As do different season.  I don’t carry my summer purses in the winter.

Q: Why do women try to get their man to propose?

A: I’ll ask all my married friends and get back to you.

Q: Why do women text you “hello???” if you don’t text them back right away?

A: We’re paranoid creatures and we want to know you’re not ignoring us!  Though I like to think I’m pretty tolerant of the delayed texter.  Sometimes it will take my best friend a whole day to text me back.

Q: Why do women like to drink wine and watch sad movies?

A: Why would anyone not like to drink wine and watch sad movies?

Q: Why do women want to look like men?

A: Guys get to keep it casual and your clothes look comfy.  I’m totally jealous of your clothes.

Q: Why do women throw things when they get angry?

A: I’ve seen men do this too.  I don’t think I’ve ever thrown out of anger.  I did throw a pillow once because I was in a lot of pain though.

Q: Why do women always have the final say?

A: We’re stubborn and proud and we like to have the last word.

Well, I have reached the end of the article.  I truly hope I didn’t offend anyone or give women a bad name!  This was all just for a bit of fun.  And again, I do not in any way speak for all women or any woman other than myself.  I’m interested to know how others might answers these questions, though!

The original article can be found on Buzzfeed here: 


I make it a point to never present myself as a victim.  I make my own choices, I take the cards that I have been dealt in my life, and I try my best to play them as well as I can.  I know that on blogs like these, the ones that we use to try to get our names or books or photography out there, a certain level of anonymity and aloofness is a good thing.  Here, on my blog, I am a bright, spunky, somewhat off-beat yet optimistic young author.  I love Harry Potter and Benedict Cumberbatch and I like writing ghost stories.  I try to present the very best of myself on this blog.  The heavy stuff, the stuff that gets me down or that weighs on my mind, I normally don’t discuss on here, because, in a way, it’s better not to acknowledge them.  After all, this blog is about trying to spread the word about my books, not the heavy stuff.

However, this #YesAllWomen movement has got me thinking.  Maybe it’s okay to be open about the personal stuff, the serious stuff, every once in a while.  In past trending topics, I haven’t had a whole lot to contribute.  This time, I just might have a few things to say.

I’ve never been what one would call a hardcore feminist.  Do I believe in equal rights for all in spite of gender, race, or orientation?  Of course.  But do I still like it when guys hold doors for me?  Duh.  I don’t like misogyny, but I don’t have a problem with little girls wearing pink or idolizing Cinderella.  If a little girl (or boy for that matter) would rather be a Princess than a scientist, well then let the kid dream! But then again, this isn’t really a discussion about feminism.  This is a discussion about what it’s like to be a woman in a society in which being a woman isn’t always safe.

I’ve never felt safe walking by myself at night.  It’s just a fact.  And it’s always been my normal.  Whenever I have to walk somewhere alone after dark, I always call someone to talk to until I reach my destination.  Always.  I walk with my keys in hand.  I’m constantly glancing around to make sure no one is following me or watching me.  Overactive imagination?  Paranoia?  Perhaps.  But when I was in grad school, a young girl was attacked on my campus one night.  Her throat was slit.  She was alone.  It happens in real life.  It’s not just a scary story.

I’m one of the lucky ones.  I’ve never been attacked.  I’ve never been raped.

I have been harassed.  It was terrifying, but it’s not something I talk about very often, because, to be honest, I’m ashamed of it.  It embarrasses me.  I tell myself, “Oh, it’s not a big deal.  Nothing happened.  You got out fine.  Besides, it makes you sound like a slut.”

How messed up is that?  I was cornered by a man that I don’t know, who was twice my size, who touched my hair and my shoulder and told me to come back with him to his hotel room, and yet I’m the one who ends up feeling like it was my fault, that I’m the sleazy one because of it.  It’s just something that’s been engraved in our minds.  He didn’t do anything wrong.  It must have been something I was doing, or I did, and I don’t want people to find out about it or else they’ll think I’m dirty somehow.  If these are the thoughts that come from being unwillingly cornered, I can’t even imagine what other young women who have been raped or attacked feel.

I do believe that most men are good.  I don’t blame them.  I love all the guys I know and I know I can trust them.  I’m not sure how men feel walking to their cars at night, if they ever feel apprehensive or that they have to run or talk to someone on the phone in order to feel safe.  But that’s just how it is for us.

Love to all.