I love strong female characters in books and movies and television shows. I love strong male characters too, but I can identify with a female character who is both confident and feminine.
But something has happened to me as I’ve gotten older. There just aren’t as many strong female characters I feel kinship with anymore. Why? For me, it’s that most every major female character in books, television, or movies has to end up in a relationship of some kind. Have you noticed that?
A woman can’t just be single, can she?
Maybe she can start out single, but she’s obviously missing something from her life.
So she tries adventure, but that isn’t it. She tries friendship, but that isn’t it. No! She needs romance. That’s the missing piece.
And she settles down happily ever after, and the series is over.
Um … no.
And please don’t misunderstand me. Marriage is awesome. Most of my closest friends are married, and I’m so very happy for them. And if the path of my life had led toward marriage, I probably wouldn’t feel this way about it.
But I’m 32 years old, I’ve never been on a date, and at the moment, that actually doesn’t bother me.
So why is it one of those topics that seems to bother both the culture and the Church? Is there something wrong with a woman being single?
Even the culture wants to marry us off
Best recent example? The Hunger Games. Katniss Everdeen. A great, strong character. Tough. Versatile. Intelligent. And what is everyone talking about? Will she end up with Peeta or Gayle? Are you kidding me? She doesn’t need either of them.
That’s just one example. There are many others. Like Avatar: The Legend of Korra for instance! Oh my goodness! What an amazing show! I’d been a big fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender when it first aired, and I just loved Korra.
Korra of the Southern Water Tribe. Beautiful. Strong. Fierce. She wasn’t willowy or skinny or built impossibly. She was tough. She was independent. She was fierce. She fought for what she believed in and was willing to risk everything for the people she loved.
In the first season, she ended up in a relationship with one of the male leads. In the second season, she walked away from it because she was called to something bigger. And I adored her for it. I thought, Finally! A character who understands the bigger picture of life.
And … the creators of the series decided to end the show with Korra hooking up with the other female lead character in the show.
Really? Is that the only other choice? You either get married or you’re a lesbian?
Regardless of my personal beliefs on the subject (although, I’ll say I think Stephen Burnett over at Christ & Pop Culture did a fabulous job), that just doesn’t work for me.
A personal perspective that may need to change
I’ve stayed pretty quiet on my feelings about this for a while, mainly because I fell into the same trap as others have. Both of my currently released novels have a strong female character who ends up in a romantic relationship. And that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with stories like that. I just wish there were more stories where the strong female character is okay on her own.
One of my novels, Finding Fireflies, is a romantic comedy. It’s designed to talk about relationships and romance and such, but Nameless is a science fiction action adventure. I have another series too where all the female characters end up in a relationship. But the thing is, I planned those stories when I was young. Most of them were created between the age of 11 and 19. That was back when I had it in my head that a woman’s greatest calling is to be married and have children.
And you know what? That is so true. Having a godly marriage and raising godly children is one of the most amazing things you can do with your life as a woman who follows Jesus. But it’s not the only thing you can do with your life.
You don’t have to be in a relationship before you can do something great for God. Honestly, it’s almost better if you aren’t in a relationship. Ministry is so much easier when you just have you and the Lord to think about.
If not us, then who?
The best thing to do, however, isn’t to sit around complaining about a problem. The best thing to do is to do something about it. So you can guess what my upcoming non-series books are going to be about.
That’s the path we should all be on, ladies. For many of us, that path will lead to a relationship, and that’s awesome. But for the rest of us, we may only have God. And you know what? God is all you need anyway.