Lyn Gala

One writer's journal through one version of reality

Strong Women Wanted… Maybe

7 Comments


kimaI have a wide range of male character types I really adore. Women… not so much.

I love early Daniel Jackson (Stargate) in all his geeky glory. When he argues in favor of the power of mythology and gets in Jack’s face, I’m right there with him. Yea! It’s not just myth, Jack! Everyone knows that bad boys with a heart of gold get me every time. Give me Mal and Jayne and Spike and Dean, and I can die a happy fangirl. Yeah, they may act all gruff, but we know what they’re really like.

I see that same variety in my writing. Liam is quiet and efficient. Petroc is a cold killer, who has more morality than he knew. Casey is a disaster in terms of romantic relationships but Stunt is an experience player who can dance between Doms—at least until he meets Alex.

But when it comes to women, I’m not as egalitarian. Human hybrid Da’shay completely takes charge of her man, and even uses him as bait for the bad guys. Paige would never do that, but as an experienced cop, she takes control of her partner, even when he showed up as a vampire. Even my secondary characters like Allie and Carmin are brassy, bold, and perfectly willing to piss off the world.

Why?

I don’t know. Maybe I see so many women making themselves smaller that I feel a need to write them larger and stronger.

I dislike most Disney heroines because they spend their lives trying to live up to a man or find a man or get out from under a man.

I want my fictional women to be like Zoe from Firefly. THAT is a woman. I didn’t like River at first because she cringed in her brother’s shadow, but when she came out into the light and kicked Jayne’s ass, I fell in love. Captain Janeway was a little cold, but B’Elanna from Star Trek: Voyager totally hit the sweet spot for me. Kima Greggs. Oh god. She’s gorgeous, kick-ass, and lesbian. I’ll be in my bunk for a bit…. Okay, back now. Oh wait. I forgot Xena. Gorgeous… check. Kick-ass… check. Lesbian… Oh hell yes. Back to the bunk.

Oh baby.

Right. I clearly need to focus. I had a tougher time with Buffy who could kick ass one minute, but who then seemed unable to function without Giles or Angel another. I actually preferred Faith—at least the one we see in Angel who has gotten her head screwed on straight. She can be Angel’s equal and appreciate how he backed her up without getting lost in her shadow.

Is anyone surprised that my first television crush was Murphy Brown? God how I adored that woman. And I would add to that list Leela (my favorite companion), C.J. on The West Wing, Nikita, Seven of Nine… you see the pattern.

I loved Ziva on NCIS until the writers insisted on giving her personality flaws that seemed to eat the character. I had equally mixed feelings about Dana Scully. I think she kicked ass; I think she had to put up with more than she should have given her partner’s occasionally dumb-ass moves.

And I should get to the point here.

I don’t know what to do. I have an idea nagging me that I am utterly ignoring. I have thoughts for a different sort of relationship.

Ben is Nicve Marine—in fact he’s the marine from Turbulence and Drift. He kicks ass and he takes name. Becca… doesn’t.

She’s young and unsure about her skills. In her world, she was trained as a gunner because of good hand-eye coordination, but she hates the idea of killing. She trained as a tech, but it’s a struggle for her. In many ways she does want to disappear into Ben’s shadow. It feels safe.

She’s exactly the sort of woman I have never cared for, and yet she’s whispering. Then the Ben-Becca relationship is more complex because it includes Copta. She is asexual, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t want to sleep in a bed with someone and wake up with the warmth of another pressed up against her back.

She is Ben’s equal, willing to go toe to toe with him. She appreciates having a man who respects her for this. She loves Becca’s gentle soul and sees some of her own struggles in the younger woman. Even more, she feels at home because those two are sexually involved so she can love them without fearing that they are sacrificing their own sexual natures by loving her back.

Vortex is possibly the most out of the box piece my muse has ever inspired, and I’m not sure where to go.

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Author: lyngala

Lyn Gala started writing in the back of her science notebook in third grade and hasn't stopped since. Westerns starring men with shady pasts gave way to science fiction with questionable protagonists which eventually gave in to any story with a morally ambiguous character. Even the purest heroes have pain and loss and darkness in their hearts, and that's where she likes to find her stories. Her characters seek to better themselves and find the happy ending (or happier anyway), but it's writing the struggle that inspires her muse. When she isn't writing, Lyn Gala teaches history part time in New Mexico and constantly prays for that one big breakout novel that will let her leave the classroom behind forever. She loves teaching, but she loves writing more.

7 thoughts on “Strong Women Wanted… Maybe

  1. I feel like girls and young women get a chance to see amazing characters in books and movies and tv nowadays.

    Katara, Suki, Toph, Azula, Mai & Tai Le from Avatar – The Last Airbender. And now ther is Korra, the new Avatar. Those teenage girls are amazing, even Azula who is just insane, is strong and fierce and determined.

    There is Yelena from The Poison Study books. I can’t believe how much I love her.

    Katsa from the Graceling books is a favorite of mine too. There is Arya Stark from Game of Thrones and of course Hermione and Professor McGonegall & Luna Lovegood.

    There’s no denying that Disney is starting to let their Princesses lately shine for other reasons than a man. Tiana only wanted to cook & Rapunzel actually did most of the saving of the man. Merida saved her mom and Elsa & Anna’s true love was each other.

    There’s Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass and Harley Quinn (again, another nutjob, but clearly focused on a goal).

    The Lord of the Rings had Eowyn take down the witch king.

    I actually loved Voyager best because it had women leads. B’lanna was my favorite too. She was so strong and brave and relentless.

    Most shows I watch because of the women. Scully on X-Files and all the women on Buffy.

    I watched 30 Rock because Liz Lemon is everything I love about women characters. She fought for everything she believed in, but was still herself, in the best way possible.

    I want these girls and women so much in my media.

  2. Exactly… I can’t imagine living in the days when women were all weak, but I do still feel like too many women get shoved to the sidelines in favor of male characters. However, between us, we do have a good list of kick-ass women

  3. One of the early heroines that I adored was Mrs Emma Peel who was smart, sexy and extremely capable. I recall hearing that Aaron Spelling was going to make a series about 3 women detectives and so looked forward to it until “Charlie’s Angels” premiered with 3 beautiful women who chased the bad guys in high heels and never could figure out what their boss looked like – some detectives they were. For every strong intelligent heroine Hollywood gives us there are hundreds of beautiful but stupid girls who only want a man and nothing else *sigh*

    • Modern media loves to take strong women and turn them into window dressing. Mrs. Peel was the rare exception, that’s for sure. Every once in a while, a character rises above the dreck.

  4. Pingback: Strong Women, the Love Story and What I Learned Speculative Fiction and Slash | Ciara Darren

  5. If you are looking for wide range of strong women with all types of goals (from happy housewife to benevolent ruler of her people) I can really recommend Anne Bishop’s Dark Jewels book series. It has serious dark themes, but has always been a source of inspiration for me when it comes to writing female characters.
    (and if this post wasn’t about a search for motivation, then I’m sorry and just hope this story of yours will find a way to flourish because I am curious about where it’ll go)

  6. Maybe too late to comment, but –

    You know, perhaps it’s because I don,’t watch many movies, but at least on television, haven’t the depictions largely switched these days? Most sit com husbands range between lovable dunce and apathetic idiot. He women usually seem to have it more together on average.

    Actually, I think both sexes often her served poorly by popular media. Men are are about cars, guns, and girls and don’t do relationships( well ); Women often are window dressing are ‘strong, in a way that almost loses their identity as women – unless they’re married to a sitcom husband!

    There are, thank god, no few exceptions – see ‘Burn Notice’, ‘Flashpoint’ and ‘Criminal Minds’ for starters, but concepts for striking the right ballance like ‘quiet strength’, ‘first among equals’ and ‘servant leadership’ don’t seem to be near enough to thebentertainment industry’s regular vocabulary.

    Joel

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