Of Strong Female Characters

At a book event, I met several women who wanted to know if my stories have strong women characters.  I hesitated to answer not knowing how a ‘strong female’ is defined in today’s world.  Is it defined by financial independence from a man?  Is it defined as a woman who can dodge bullets and defeat ten men at once with martial art moves?  I hope that many women will read this post and provide me with many thought provoking comments on their own definition.  This will help me write better female characters for my stories and provide some hilarious moments for my monthly ‘Female Code’ blog posts.
But to clarify my position on the topic, let me refer you to a woman that meets my definition.  This is my mother, Dixie.  Born in 1935, my mother was raised during the waning years of the great depression, but which lead to the Second World War.  She is a military brat, by her own definition, with a language of a salty sailor.  She has a competitive nature to say the least.  She has some of the best jokes you would want to hear, some pretty dirty, but good! She fiercely defends family and country. She is not politically correct, but straight forward and honest. You know exactly where you stand with her. She is a warrior and a survivor, without ever holding a gun or sword.

I recall one instance where her heroism defines a strong female.  There was a time when a small argument and fight was overblown as I was outnumbered three to one by older teenagers. The fighting spirit of my mother was unleashed by me and all of the teenagers went down in defeat.  However, one carried a grudge and began stalking me with more friends until he had an entire gang come after me.  I was one guy against thirteen.  The odds of my victory were not sufficient enough to pursue battle.  My mother, along with my father, took on these teenagers and let me say that “hell hath no fury!” is an accurate statement about a mother’s defense of her family.  At that very moment, I saw character that I shall never forget.

Now as another birthday nears, she has seen hardship and sorrow that most of us will never know. She survived the separation from her parents during the great war.  Is that strong enough?

She has outlived her entire family, when most thought she would not.  Is that strong enough?

She has battled and survived cancer and other illnesses when most would have given up. Is that strong enough?

She has called one man her husband for 56 years.  I have known only one set of parents, against all odds, against all of evil’s attempts to break that sacred vow and bond. Is that strong enough?

She has fought long and hard to protect and see her children survive in very tough times.  Is that strong enough?

She has fought the good fight with all her being and enjoyed life with every breath.  Yes, she is of strong female character.

As you will witness in my trilogy, “The Chosen One of Allivar” the women are willing to stand and fight as fiercely as any man when the one family is threatened.  They will stand next to their man to compliment his very being, taking fewer accolades without fear of inferiority. But there is also the gentleness and femininity present in them as only daughters, mothers and wives can display.

Fifty percent of my DNA comes from a very loving, giving, yet very strong female character. Behind the story of my father Wayne “The Undefeated” is a woman whose unequaled fighting spirit easily defines, in this son’s mind, a strong leading female character.

Happy 77th Birthday, Dixie!  Along with Wayne, you complete a team that no one will ever defeat.  Keep on fighting and keep on loving until your final breath. I expect nothing less than this.  I will do the same and thank you for all of life’s lessons.

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