From a guy’s point of view, a pretty girl beating the crap out of the bad guys is a wonderful sight, but if that’s all there was to these women, their charm would’ve faded long ago.
Way before the butt-kicking chick became popular, I was into them because I’m a big horror movie fan. Particularly the slasher genre, it was during the 80’s after all. A big staple of the slasher movie was Final Girl. She’s the last one left standing to face and defeat the monster. Frequently these girls are portrayed early on as the goody-two shoes of the group and seem to be the most timid. Once we get to the movie’s climax, we realize they possess great strength and are actually the smartest and most resourceful, which is why they survive.
One of the best Final Girls was Laurie Strode of the Halloween series. Be prepared for spoilers. She’s a babysitter, shy around boys, modest, in short as sweet and delicate as a flower. But when the monster comes after her and flight is no longer an option, she fights and she fights well. If you want to be technical, a guy does show up at the very end to save her, but she still qualifies as Final Girl to me because she’s the only one able to fight off the monster long enough for help to arrive. No one else in the movie doesn’t last a minute against him.
Now we fast-forward to the 90’s when we’re introduced to this cheerleader named Buffy. Even though the idea for Buffy didn’t come from Final Girl, the best parts of those girls were used for Buffy and taken to the next level. She wasn’t only strong in the face of danger, she was strong all the time. In some cases, stronger than her male counterparts. But why not Bobby the Vampire Slayer? Why was gender so significant?
At the risk of sounding sexist, I still believe we live in a man’s world. Yes, I know if you look in any profession, you will find strong and powerful women, but I think there’s a stigma attached to their accomplishments. As if anything they’ve done was some amazing feat because of gender and not personal attributes. It’s unfortunate because as those Final Girls showed, women have much more strength in them than they’re given credit for. That’s why I gravitate toward strong women in fiction and in life because they have just a little more to overcome than a guy in the same situations. They’re like the underdogs of life. My specialty.
I don’t know what it’s like to be a woman, but I know how it feels to have something to prove. To be staring up at the mountain I’m about to climb and wonder how I’m going to get to the top. The main character in my WIP may be a guy, but I’m throwing him in a hole so deep, when he climbs out I want readers to feel like I do when I’m watching a chick kick butt. It’s not nearly as inspiring when a guy’s doing it.
Info Stuff- Follow my ROW80 progress every Wednesday and Sunday and for the month of February, Tuesdays and Thursdays will be devoted to my Love series. Eight loves that have shaped me into the writer I am.