I can’t say enough about strong women in films. It really does it for me. Let’s look at Marge from the Coen Bros. snow laden crime thriller Fargo. She’s not a feminist by any stretch of the imagination. But she is strong. Like iron. Like decades old ice. She’s tenacious; every bit the bulldog you might expect a hard boiled New York detective to be, albeit muted behind small town pleasantries. She’s a character that could have been played – almost line for line – by a man, which I think in this case, would actually have been much less effective.

That’s the true mark of a great lady character. Her conflict doesn’t arise from the fact that she’s a woman. She doesn’t have arguments about makeup. She doesn’t bitch-slap a single person. She’s not even forced against forces of sexism. Her character is not a woman. Her character is a human being, victim to all the same flaws and gifted with all the same strengths as any single one of us, regardless of what’s in our pants. This is why I love a great movie. It denies all boundaries between us. It brings us together in the exact same temporal space, regardless of petty factors like sex, belief or geography, and celebrates our oneness. A great character – regardless of sex – reflects every single one of us simultaneously.

And in the end, look at the world around you. Look at the women around you. The women I see around me are strong, in exactly the same ways that Margie is in Fargo. The dialogue that comes out of their mouths is filled with the same stuff as that which comes out of mine. Hopes, dreams, desire for love, fear – all that juicy stuff. These women aren’t the women I see in an overwhelming majority of Hollywood’s output (lookin’ at you Michael Bay). These women don’t need me as a man in order to be able to complete their own arcs. Their journey is their own.

I guess I have a couple of people to reference in terms of this outlook on lady characters. Both of my sisters and my long term girlfriend are symbols of feminism to me. Strong, beautiful people with big hearts and just reserves of willpower and tenacity that I really fucking envy. I don’t understand why Hollywood fears such women. I look at them and they’re magnificent to me. They’re camera ready. They kick ass without a fictional spin, imagine what might happen if you put the fate of humanity in their hands.

That’s why in anything I write, you’ll see an emphasis on strong female characters. If for nothing else, they’re simply too cinematic to resist. ‘Nuff said.

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One thought on “Strong Women

  1. I feel the same way about strong female characters. I was changing channels on TV when I caught my first glimpse of Margie in Fargo. Time stopped. Every word she said made me long to hear the next one. Talk about inner strength and honesty.

    I’ve been writing about the same strong female character (Johanna Fujiwara) since the mid 90’s. She gets younger with each re-write. I get older. It’s an amazing feeling!

    All my best,
    Talmage
    http://www.storiform.com

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