What do you think of when you hear “Strong Female Character” in terms of a movie or novel?

womens-silhouette-1361098-mI love a story with a good female character. I like seeing strong females in the books I read, but usually end up disappointed as the woman generally becomes useless; needs a man to save her despite supposedly being very strong/skilled/powerful; ends up boinking everything she can find; or just devolves into a Mary Sue. Or worse, the woman ends up being some sort of caricature. IE. whiney, crying all the time, can’t save herself from a groundhog, obsessed with her looks…etc.

The strong female characters I like can fight, scrap, throw a punch, fire a gun, etc. Beyond what they can do, a strong female must have agency. She must be able to demonstrate her ability to choose her actions and her decisions must affect the plot. She is active more than reactive. Strong is a word with an often male connotation — it carries with it a lot of baggage. And what we end up with are female characters who are physically strong and little else. Meaning, they can fight, scrap, throw punches, fire guns. What makes them interesting is that they choose to fight. And it’s that word — “choose” — that matters.

Does anyone know any good books where the woman (who does not have to be the main character) is interesting, strong, and kicks rear? An example of what I am looking for is Cordelia’s Honor by Luis McMasters Bujold. This is actually a compilation of two of her books, Shards of Honor and Barrayar and part of the interstellar Vorkosigan Saga.

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