There’s been a lot of controversy over the term Strong Female Character for some time now and whether or not it’s a useful term that helps women’s perceived roles in media and literature.
This was one major reason why I selected the theme of Strong Female Lead for our first issue and to have a short story competition leading the way. Basically, the way I see it is that you can’t start a literary magazine that’s based in Las Vegas without having to really address the role of women. Head on.
Las Vegas is well-known as a place for exploiting women. Yet, it was a woman who helped forge the valley and played a significant role in its’ creation: Helen J. Stewart.
Mrs. Stewart wasn’t what you would normally define today as a Strong Female Character, yet she is exactly that. She was considered demure though she clearly knew how to stand her ground. A widow. A pioneer. A mother. She was clever and valued the companionship of other women and had a greater sense of community and what that meant.
She valued education especially reading. And instilled that love of reading into her children and to all those who came to know her.
What does it mean to be a Strong Female Lead? It means to lead a life by example. To be someone who is remembered and valued. It means that the role you play in your own life and in the life of others matters.