• Cattleya

3 Female Character Tropes We Need to Let Go Of

Considering how many female authors there are in literature, you would think we may have made some advancements in showing women as more than just tools to help the plot move along.

Yet, even today, with countless books dedicated to showing women as the main characters, there are still some traits and tropes we stick to that make most female characters look like cookie-cutter copies of the same lackluster original person.

Here are 3 I am tired of and hope not to see in books anymore!

The Clumsy Damsel in Distress

woman in white backless dress walking in the forest

She is cute, clumsy, and just waiting to be rescued by a male character that is handsome, brooding, and would likely give his life for her. Aside from being highly unrealistic, having a damsel in distress as the main character only makes the plot seem lazy. She only gets herself into trouble just so the plot can move along.

Aside from being annoying, this trope is a bit unbelievable since you can’t have someone get into trouble all the time without learning anything. To me, let us have less of that and more characters like Éowyn from Lord of the Rings and Katniss from The Hunger Games in the genre!

The Cool Girl

girl with light in her palms blowing colors off of it

She’s not like other girls. She loves sports, she drinks beer, and she can eat a hamburger in no time at all. She doesn’t love wearing makeup, but heck, she’ll look like a model when she does. She doesn’t have a lot of girl friends, and she’s also highly passionate, but so submissive when she needs to be.

Sigh. If I had a nickel!

Done to death, this trope is more like a male fantasy than anything based on realistic standards. Not to mention sexist, this idea of the perfect girl not being like other girls, is often paired with additional tropes such as manic pixie dream girl or women in refrigerators. With manic pixies being the women who have no background but are so unique and unusual, and women in refrigerators being a trope where they have to die to get the male protagonist to change his life for the better.

The Competitive Girl

chess table the queen fallen down

I can never wrap my mind around why so many books pit women against each other. Considering it is a dystopian novel, it is understandable that two women might be fighting over a secret plan. But what grinds my gears is when two well-established characters fight over a man.

Again, a very lazy trope! But handling it correctly and smashing through it by injecting some human emotion at least makes the idea seem realistic. Playing out the trope by having one character behave as though her life depends on her relationship is not only in bad taste, it is also a toxic trait that does not need more promotion.

How I Smashed Through These Tropes

Writing The Black Shade of White, while I may be writing my fantasy and paranormal trilogy with touches of romance aiming to be also counted among romantic suspense writers, this does not mean I fell back on lazy tropes.

For any new fantasy books set to be released, you will see plenty like me who are now trying to break away from these trends. So, if you are a writer yourself, I implore you—break away from this chain. Let us show women as they are; heroes of all shapes from all corners of the globe, each in their own right!

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