I apologise immensely for my absence lately. I unfortunately had to take a small hiatus due to starting back at university.
A while ago, I wrote a blog post about What Constitutes A “Strong Female Character” and Why They Are Important — and I wanted to write something else along those lines. I really enjoy writing posts about female characters. Fortunately (or, more like, unfortunately) I came across a comment on Goodreads that made me stop in my tracks. The unnamed reviewer said “Celaena Sardorthian is an unbelievable character because her femininity contradicts her being a warrior” and then went on to say that “you can’t be bold, bloody and resolute and also be particularly feminine”.
A small part of me wants to accept that this is her opinion and she is entitled to think whatever she wants. However, another part of me just feels incredibly angry because I do not agree with this statement AT ALL.
(And I really wanted to understand this person reasoning for this, but unfortunately this person “did not have the time to write a detailed discussion”, but had the time to write a full length review about Celaena being unbelievable. Whatever.)
Though, perhaps my anger over this has something to do with the fact that I’m the kind of person who hates being told what I can and cannot be. If I want to wear make-up and love clothes and play with puppies and be silly, I can — and if I want to kick-ass and learn how to fight, I can as well. As a complex, three-dimensional individual, I do not need to fit into one box. I can be feminine and I can be a strong woman. And I don’t believe that one contradicts the other.
I absolutely love Celaena Sardothian because she embodies both feminine and masculine qualities. She can be a girly girl, but at the same time can go out and kick-ass. And I strongly believe that being feminine does not mean that you cannot be a warrior. I mean, who says that someone with feminine qualities can’t be a cold hearted killer? Have you not seen the news or a documentary on serial killers?
Out of interest, I wanted to check what defined a warrior. And I discovered that the definition of a warrior is basically “a brave and experienced soldier or fighter”.
Does Celaena embody that definition? In my opinion, yes she does. And she manages to embody that despite possessing a number of feminine qualities. Personally, I really like her unique blend of characteristics, it makes her a much more complex and interesting character. Additionally, according to this definition, being a warrior has nothing to do with how much or how little someone is feminine.
I don’t understand how someone can believe that being feminine somehow cancels out being a warrior — as though liking clothes or shopping or make-up or whatever can somehow prevent you from being an assassin or warrior or, in today’s modern world, a simple kick-ass woman.
There are also a number of wonderful examples of strong female warriors in fiction and media. For example, one of my all time favourite female warriors is definitely Buffy Summers from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy loves clothing and shopping and girl talk; she can be vulnerable and sweet and kind; she wants to go to prom and wear pretty dresses and date boys; but she is also one of the best fighters to ever exist.
In young adult fiction, I absolutely love Isabelle Lightwood. And she is another wonderful example of a female character who possesses a number of feminine qualities, but is a capable and skilled warrior/fighter. In fact, Isabelle is quite similar to both Celaena Sardothian and Buffy Summers. She, too, loves clothes and shopping. But that doesn’t define her. Once again, Isabelle is a wonderful example of a female character who possesses a unique blend of characteristics, making her a fuller and interesting character.
When I think about other fictional female characters that embody feminine qualities whilst also being a capable warrior, some that come to mind are the following:
Daenerys Targaryen (A Song of Ice and Fire)
Annabeth Chase (Percy Jackson and the Olympus)
Emma Carstairs (Lady Midnight)
Morrigan (A Court of Mist and Fury)
Amren (A Court of Mist and Fury)
So, at the end of the day, I strongly believe that being a warrior does not mean that someone cannot be feminine as well. We are all complex individuals. We are passionate about different things and enjoy various hobbies that may seem weird to other people. I mean, I study history and spend a lot of time reading, but I’m also a huge fan of metal/hard rock and would love to drive a car super fast around a racetrack.
Everyone is complex and different, so I don’t think that characters need to fit into a certain type of mold. Otherwise, they would not be as interesting to read.