Posts Tagged ‘The Matrix’

We’re losing all our Strong Female Characters to Trinity Syndrome

This excellent piece by Tasha Robinson sums up a lot of the problems mainstream storytelling has with “Strong Female Characters.”

For the ordinary dude to be triumphant, the Strong Female Character has to entirely disappear into Subservient Trophy Character mode. This is Trinity Syndrome à la The Matrix: the hugely capable woman who never once becomes as independent, significant, and exciting as she is in her introductory scene.

If you are interested in learning how not to bury your SFC’s light under a bushel, I recommend this article. It highlights on-point questions creatives should ask themselves, like:

03. Could your Strong Female Character be seamlessly replaced with a floor lamp with some useful information written on it to help a male hero?


In many instances, what starts out as an interesting character is hobbled in order to provide the male hero with whatever thing he needs (knowledge, motivation, etc.) to make it to the finish line. There are exceptions, of course, and I’m pleased to say that Emily Blunt’s character in Edge of Tomorrow was one such.

So maybe all the questions can boil down to this: Looking at a so-called Strong Female Character, would you—the writer, the director, the actor, the viewer—want to be her?

Like Tasha Robinson, I loved Cate Blanchett’s character in How to Train Your Dragon 2 and was as disappointed when the role for this supremely kick-ass woman who was willing to live in exile for twenty years to uphold her principles just sort of… fizzled out. I hope to see more from her in a third installment. In fact, I hope to see more Strong Female Characters across the board.

Who knows, one day we might even just call them, oh, I don’t know, “Female Characters.”

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