What I Want Is Smart, Yet Bad-Ass, Female ProtagonistsPosted on the 27 July 2012 by Theliteraturelion
Over the past few weeks, I've noticed that I've changed some of favorite types of characters have changed. Typically, I enjoy reading from the perspective of female characters that are full of bad-assery, quick-thinking, and their official language is sarcasm.
These may seem like legitimate characters, but I WANT MORE THAN THAT.
What I want, is smart characters. Characters that have intellectual appeal, rather than physical strength. I want them to know how to handle a situation to clear most consequences, rather with going with their gut feeling. I want characters that are easy for me to relate with, rather than characters that I try and act like.
When most people get asked who their favorite character is, the say things like Katniss Everdeen, Clary Fray, or June Iparis.
What about characters like Hermione Granger, Sydney Sage, or Haven Terra?
The first three characters are awesome. There's no doubt about that. Why are they awesome? They've go power, and stealth, and wonderful other physical strengths. Katniss is awesome with a bow in the Hunger Games, Clary kills demons (sometimes by chance) throughout the Mortal Instrument series, and June is super stealthy in Legend. The common word to describe these characters is 'bad-ass.'
What is bad-ass? It's the ability to kick someone's butt with ease, and look good while doing it. They don't care too much about what others think about themselves, and they never give up fighting. They don't know they are bad-ass, and will never admit that they are bad-ass. They just simply are.
What people DON'T know about bad-ass characters, is that they sometimes fall short. Sometimes bad-ass characters have no other personality traits besides being this awesome 'bad-ass.' The three that I picked, thankfully have other characteristics that make them more appealing, but the first word that usually comes to mind when thinking of Katniss, Clary, and June is BAD-ASS.
Certainly, I don't mind these characters. Most of the time, I LOVE THEM. They're known for their rash decisions, and love triangles, and all that other good stuff. Last year, I used to try and be cool and act like I'm tough. There's no doubt that I'm tough (I can beat my boyfriend at wrestling!), but I don't try and be coy and stealthy anymore. These characters are awesome, nonetheless, but here's my problem:
I don't want JUST bad-ass.
I want smart. I want a character that's intellectual, wise, and analytical. I want a character that's more like ME, rather than a character that I have to try and BE like.
Hermione rocks at spells and potions and uses awesome words when she talks in Harry Potter. Sydney Sage rules the text books and can hold intellectual conversations in Bloodlines. Haven Terra is simply genius and smart in Illuminate.
I want more characters like THAT. They don't need to be completely Einstein-like, but I would prefer if they had a little more common sense and their conversations with their best friends wouldn't ALWAYS revolve around the hot new boy next door. Next time, try a conversation about books, or a geeky TV show.
Don't get my wrong - these characters ca still be bad-ass! It may just not be the same definition of bad-ass as the previous one I gave. When describing Sydney Sage I love to say that she's bad-ass. Not because she's an awesome fighter (trust me, she's NOT!) or because she holds herself as a higher power. I say she's bad-ass because she uses her WORDS to fight, rather than her FISTS.
She doesn't have to be completely geeky either. The character does not have to be completely incapable of dressing herself nicely, or the only thing she doesn't know is how to apply the right kind of make-up. She can look like all the other pretty girls in YA fiction, but she should be SMARTER than them.
You may be complaining: BUT LEXI. This character is SMART, and she's pretty and capable of all that stuff you stated above.
Um, no. Of all the books I've read, I've never seen a character that's strong, actually smart, and looks good. Hermione had frizzy hair. Sydney had bad style. Haven was TOTALLY awkward all the time.
But ya know, prove me wrong. In the comments, leave me some recommendations of books where the character is known for her intelligence; not her fighting abilities. Make sure she can look good while having a debate too.
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