Not all characters are created equal. That’s all coolio-schmoolio but it gets tiring when the same characters appear in every story I read. I’m not discussing archetypes (that’s kinda expected) but the annoying female characters. They’re cardboard cutouts and are here to instill sleepy readers during a supposedly epic fight scene.
1. Evil seductress
This chick is leaking of pure sexuality. They are gorgeous, perfect even. She turns heads when she enters a room. Everyone wants to fuck her…even the gay dudes!
Many authors excuse her by saying that she uses sex as a weapon. Which is all fine and well…but does she do anything else? Maybe a hobby…like swimming or running? Does she even do that sexy as well?
Here’s the thing, not every person is sexy 24/7. People forget to shower. People get sweaty and smell disgusting. People wake up in old clothes that need to be washed. Reducing your gal to nothing but beauty is hella offensive. She’s unrealistic, dull, but not a lot of readers will call it out ‘cause they’re too busy fapping off. Proceed at own discretion.
2. Damsel in Distress
I can’t make this list and not mention her. She doesn’t do anything in the novel except wait for her prince to save her. Now don’t mistake me when I say this, tropes can be done well. It hardly ever is though in this case.
If we ever do get one on one time with this character, she can’t make a decision to save her life (literally). She doesn’t do anything in the novel except look pretty and refuse to defend herself.
This chick could be replaced with a stuffed animal. Albeit, the prince might be accused of being a furry but I’m sure that’ll add more intrigue to the novel than this girl is doing.
3. Not Like other girls
The author claims their character isn’t like other girls. How? Does she have horns? Perhaps she is the literal devil. Now that is something I can get behind.
This is simply a lazy attempt on the author’s part to make their character unique. A girl wears sneakers and skates? Well, why does a woman have to be interested in traditionally masculine hobbies to be seen as interesting?
It is bad writing but it’s also a whole other topic of women being shamed for being interested in traditionally feminine things. Girls wearing heels and makeup are often the mean girls in movies, snotty and desperate for a man’s attention.
Yo writers, let’s not contribute to bad writing AND misogyny. Let’s stop the girl shaming and make the world and our writing better.
4. Fixer upper
She’s an ambitious and intelligent girl. This gal’s got friends, a family, and tons of other responsibilities to juggle. Then, she meets a boy who is often verbally and physically abusive.
Yet she sees something in him. She will fix him if it is the last thing she does. Her willingness to stay in an unhealthy relationship isn’t a reflection on his abuse or her lack of confidence, but more rather is her being empathetic. She is kind so that’s why she chooses to stay in a shitty relationship.
Now…let’s get this straight. I’m not tryna imply it is the victim’s fault for staying in a toxic relationship. There’s a huge difference with the fixer-upper though. THE AUTHOR’S INTENT. A female character who is trapped in a toxic relationship is different from the author literally romanticizing a dangerous and abusive relationship.
5. Stereotypical badass
She can shoot arrows, wave a sword, and fist fight like a god damn champ. This girl is hella badass…I mean that’s what the text says. We never get to see her do all those badass things though.
This may fly by for some readers but actions speak louder than words. I don’t know why writers don’t put those fight scenes in. She’s so much potential! Plus writing badass scenes is hella fun and readers devour it.
Some readers might fall for it and accept that they’re badass simply because it is stated. That won’t work for me and a ton of other readers. I’m a huge believer that you should never tell your reader something if you can convince them.
6. The Virgin
I’m not tryna virgin shame so let me explain, lack of sexual experience is not synonymous to sexual ignorance.
This girl is a virgin? Okay cool. Then she says some ignorant shit about sex that should be common knowledge. There are tons of different reasons someone may be a virgin. They’re waiting for the right person. It’s part of their religion. They haven’t had the opportunity nor are they comfortable with the few that have come their way.
Maybe a straight girl has never seen another man naked…fair enough. Does she have friends though? Maybe a friend that has had sex with another man? We can’t do that because that’d be too realistic.
Cis men have penises. This should be common knowledge yet she doesn’t even know that much.
7. Thinks she’s ugly like shut up
This character is a gorgeous girl. She has luscious brown locks, bright blue eyes, and a curvy figure. Men, women and everyone between turns their head when she enters a room. Yet, she despises her self-image.
Tons of people have self-esteem problems. It sucks man but there’s a bit of a line when it comes to a particularly girly character. She doesn’t realize that people lust over her; it goes right over her head.
It comes off as ignorant. Let your gal flaunt her stuff. She should as least admit that society sees her as pretty. Hell, just let her notice that a guy bought her a drink had some dirty intentions.
I think this originates more from the myth that attractive women are rude and arrogant. The author is trying to sidestep this myth by saying She’s pretty but she’s humble! It’s fine man, let her feel beautiful every once in a while.
8. Strong Female Lead
The strong female lead is often seen in YA. However, the difference between a genuinely strong female lead and the strong female lead is that her strength is defined by her masculinity. God forbid that a femme gal be able to apply lipgloss and fight monsters.
What’s worst is when the character starts out as a femme but slowly evolves to be masculine. It’s almost like femininity is a flaw that she overcame with her character arc. Of course, there are exceptions but for the most part, this character arc is downright shameful.
9. The Old Hag
This is the only woman in her middle ages. God forbid that women above thirty-five exist in a novel! At that point, their beauty is gone (I really hope you realize I’m being sarcastic).
The Old Hag despises her Strong Female Lead protagonist. Why? Because she is envious of her beauty. The Old Hag is getting wrinkles, a few gray hairs, and it’s starting to show. Hating a young woman will surely bring her youth back-it’s simple logic!
Hell, I’m so sick of old women being devastated over their “lack of beauty”. ‘Old’ women, in the real world, have ambitions. They’re mothers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, and soldiers. They have a life and sure, they may start to worry about their beauty but they are and always will be beautiful.
I love me a female villain. Although can we make this villain not so jealous of beauty. Let her be evil because she is trying to overthrow planets and is willing to disregard all morals in her pursuit.
What all these issues conclude to is that I like real women in my books. Women who are complicated, developed, and flawed are my kryptonite. I know I’m not the only one. At fellow writers, let’s do the world a favor and create some amazing female characters. The world could always use some more.