Film and television doesn’t need more strong female characters. We need more complex female characters. The word “strong” implies the women need to be physically tough or/and emotionally solid and/or intellectually superior. In my opinion having women characters who are all “strong” is equally as harmful as having women characters be passive or submissive. Female viewers of all ages need to see diversity not a singe stereotype no matter how badass the characters turn out to be. Both the silver screen and small screen need to have women characters who are: disabled, able bodied, normal intelligence, geniuses, different races, mentally challenged, crazy, female versions of ” the dude”, strong, weak, white, queer, straight, super heroes, villains, teachers, police officers, etc.
We all need to see multi-dimensional female characters. I celebrate women characters like Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer who has special powers, but still has her emotional vulnerabilities. Buffy can kill any bad ass vampire, but still break down and cry when her vampire boyfriend Angel turns into the bad guy after he losing his soul. Weakness or vulnerability does not equal passivity or submission. A rainbow of emotions means the character is a fully actualized human being.
Women need to see female characters on screen that are just as complex and varied as male characters have been throughout cinema’s history. I call for a new phrase or calling,” We need more complex female characters” , because we don’t need another stereotype pervading our screens even if they are “strong”.