I had an interesting discussion on Facebook the other day over a photo. Here it is:
So. One heroine is strong - Hermione - and one is weak - Bella. They deal with the loss of their loves in different ways. One sinks into depression, one decides to keep going. Both are realistic. But some argue that Bella is dangerous because she teaches our girls that it's ok to retreat into yourself, and potentially harm yourself over a boy.
I'm not going to go into the myriad characteristics of each character. Instead, I want to ask this question:
Does this mean that we should never portray weak heroines?
That is the idea one person posited to me. In fact, they went so far as to say that weak heroines were the villains and do not belong in fiction at all.
I disagree. I see value in both heroines. Why? Because for one, we're not all like Hermione. We don't all have the inner strength to go out and get the bad guy. Two, Bella's character is a wonderful way to open a dialogue with your own daughters. I have had great discussions with my daughter over the Twilight movies. She sees Bella's choices and knows that they're the wrong ones. They have consequences. But she also realizes that it is just a story. (And yes, we could get into a deep discussion on how fictional character can influence us, but that is for another day).
The way I explained it was that we need both strong and weak heroines to see the complete picture. It's kind of like not knowing joy without first knowing sorrow. There are lessons to be learned from both.
So. What say you? Is it important to have both weak and strong female lead characters in our stories? I say yes. You?
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