Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Unapologetically Strong

Had an interesting discussion on “unapologetically strong” female leads, which seem to be popular of late. It’s an interesting label. But what does it really mean?

A man who is unapologetically strong is what? Pushy, unconcerned about the feelings and needs of others--a jerk in other words. This is not a good choice for protagonist as readers are unlikely to sympathize with such a person.

So is that what an unapologetically strong female lead is? A jerk? And if so, why do so many people like to read about characters like this? It seems to me that a person who behaves with callous disregard for others is a poor choice for a protagonist whether male or female.

Don’t know--but a strong character is certainly someone readers can connect with. Strength can mean uncompromising, determined, stubborn, driven--many things that people respect and admire. However, for such a character to be sympathetic, someone a reader is going to bond with, someone a reader wants to spend 400 pages with, then this strong person needs to be concerned about the needs and feelings of others. Thus, a strong but sympathetic protagonist is probably not unapologetic.

Curious how others define this and what their reading experience is like.

No comments: