Ruminations today on what we mean by the "strong female character" and why this might be a more relevant conversation than I thought, given the state of feminism and challenges some female friends are facing.
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Good morning, everyone! This is Jeffe Kennedy author of epic fantasy romance I'm here with my first cup of coffee. It's good, but it's cold. Ah, um, today is Monday June nineteenth
Juneteenth now a federal holiday in the us has been since 2021? Um, no banks today. Um, obviously been recognized in New Mexico for some time I guess not all states hashtag not all states. Ah, recognizing it the usual suspects right? The south and the west to the north like Wyoming our old friends at any rate happy Monday happy June chance. Ah yeah, seems like. Celebrating people not being kept as slaves would be a universally approved thing but apparently not. Ah, although I am working today but I often work so there we go I have been having internet issues this morning. Our internet is down I tried rebooting a couple of times to no avail. So now I'm using my mobile hotspot for the first time on my. New phone new ish phone and it took me a bit to get the hotspot set up. So my coffee got cold. Oh the humanity. The thing is is I was actually running pretty good on time this morning until that happened so but.
Into every life. A little little bit of internet chaos must fall I wish that um I did not have to have ah a live internet connection to you zen castor and so I'm tempted to switch to something else. Um, if any of you have suggestions. So. Would be interested to know. Um I like Zencastr because it gives me the mpthree and the and mov file and then it also processes the transcript for me. Um, but I do use it for I do pay. So if there's another service ah slip me a note I know I could I just don't want to have to do a lot of video editing say low production value. That's me no low production expense high value I feel like you got high value.
So anyway, um I had a great weekend. Lovely weekend. Gorgeous weather been enjoying the summer um I had a great week last week I did talk about it some on Friday but after I talked to you all I did not get a 3000 word day on Friday I did start to peter out. And a good couple of hours and then kind of got tired and I thought you know what I've had a great week I should report myself. We've been talking about that reward thing right? Ah so I um, but I got over 12000 words last week which is great. Um, it is the second highest week of the year so far and I've only hit over twelve thousand for six weeks in the last two years so I am super happy I'm over. 32000 words on oera it is clicking along I am loving this book and so excited about it I'm still writing high on my potentially good news. We won't hear anything until tomorrow because federal holiday. Um. And that's at the soonest tomorrow with the soonest but I've been sharing it judiciously with some of my friends and it's great to hear who's excited. Only 1 person hasn't been excited so far and I'm not sure she liked processed it I don't know what to deal with.
Anyway, um, yeah, so I did a lot of reading this weekend I finished reading my feminist science fiction. It really has given me some ah interesting ideas. Um, you know if we think we've come so far. And the last fifty years right you know a lot of these stories they were written from like I think all the ones in this collection were like 73 to 78? Um, so yeah, the last fifty years and I grew up thinking that I was post feminism but. I was helping a friend sort through some problems that she is having and we were talking about our relationships with men and coming back around to I was realizing how much these stories had illuminated for me that in some ways. Even the men who are our age and are enlightened men. Um, who consider themselves feminists who consider themselves to be really good guys and are really good guys in many ways when it comes to some of these core deep things. Um, which a lot of these stories focused on you know, like if we go into space will it really be different or will men still want to possess women. Um, and I'm trying to keep my my language clean or my themes clean.
Because of the monetization sorry about the monetization but does help me I appreciate you all putting up with it. Um, and that's only if you're watching on Youtube but um, so I don't know if it be wrong to say this. But um, you know in some ways still continuing to view women as objects. Even if there are friends and they love us and we have great conversations that there is still this atavistic core where they come back to where they believe that women are somehow their trophies their their prizes for success. Um, that if they are successful enough then they get to have women they get to have multiple women maybe right because that's like seems like almost all men not all men like I could only do half a hashtag because I'm drinking my coffee but. I think it comes as as a prize to us when certain men do behave this way and it's like there's no other explanation sometimes um, it's like why would this guy do this thing to hurt me that or that did hurt me. When he could have kept his word or he could have been faithful right? But instead he chose to indulge himself and why and why and it I think it comes back down to some of that stuff. So.
Interesting, interesting to read these old stories and then have it be relevant to a conversation I'm having with someone fifty years later. Um I guess that makes some good stories I guess that means that a lot of things right? So but it's led me to. Think a whole lot about females female characters how we write female characters because 1 of the questions that we really hate. Um because it's become I don't think I want to say cliche but it feels worn. It feels like ground wave Trod and trod um trod is a funny word ah is is the the strong female character right? A strong female character. And it's gotten to the point where a lot of women authors I know are like if there's a panel topic on the strong female character. They'll say can we just not can we not have this conversation anymore which I understand um and I was on a panel at um tucson festival of books. Which was actually hugely well attended and there were a bunch of great women on this panel and I won't name them all because I'll probably forget one. But um I was like dazzled to be on the panel with these amazing women writers and someone asked the question. How do you write a strong female character and i.
Snapped back with my witty retort and it was a guy who asked and I said how about just writing characters and I and it got this round of applause right? because that's where we get frustrated is like why do we have to specify a strong female character. Why can't we just write characters. And yet I am now reconsidering my stance and I feel like maybe that was an overly flip answer I think it's a good answer I think it's a real answer and yet I was thinking about this in context for these things because one of the things that my friend said to me. Is that I have very good boundaries and that she does not and she's working on having better boundaries and and I found this to be a really interesting thing because I said I was talking about Well you know like if I don't like a situation and I don't know if it's necessarily a good trait in myself. But I. I've realized that I'm very much a cut Bait kind of person like if I think something's not working if a relationship's not working if a friendship isn't satisfying me anymore if a situation isn't making me happy then I will walk away I'll be like ah this just isn't working and I'm gone. And it happened a couple of times recently and the other people involved were um, you know I Want to say shocked kind of deeply shocked that I they're like well Wait. You can't just walk away from this situation I'm like watch me here I go um and.
And I was talking to her about that you know like maybe I feel like this is at the best trait myself and she said no that means that you have really good boundaries and and she said I need to be better about walking away and. And I was thinking Well maybe it's this part of what we're talking about with strong female characters and it comes back to this feminism thing right? that when we're talking about a strong female Character. We're talking about someone who knows who she is She has confidence. She doesn't necessarily have to be a warrior she doesn't have to be kick ass. It doesn't have to be any of those things but she does have to know where her boundaries are and refuse to let other people particularly men manipulator and maybe. This is something as women as post-feminist enlightened liberated women. Maybe we don't want to talk about this because we don't want to believe that it's possible for men to manipulate us. And yet I'm having these conversations with my friends women my age that we are now in our 50 s and we are seeing this same thing happen that happened to our mothers where the men are age financially successful possibly facing their own mortality are.
Going out and finding younger women and it's like really, we're still doing this and their wives their girlfriends or partners are kind of astounded by this and trying to figure out how do you deal with these situations. And it's like well do you put up with it. You know you make your choices and certainly there are a lot more options available these days with polyamory and ethical non-monogamy and all of those things but it's only if if the woman is. Is buys into it out of her own free will right now now that this poly under duress thing right? You know? Thank you Dan savage for you know be u d but poly under duress meaning that your man wants to go out and screw younger women but you know you don't. 1 him 2 but you also don't want to lose him that's polyander duress right? So I think that this idea of do we let men push us around and and it's still really programmed into us right? There's still. A lot of that where um, you know what? the man wants and needs is more important than what the woman wants and needs and how do you push back on that you know it's you know we have more choices we can get divorced it thankfully still legal.
We can be financially independent so when I look at this now through this lens of the strong female character is that she is a character who does not depend on a man um does not exceed. To men's wishes I've also went down a hamilton rabbit hole this weekend I rewatched Hamilton and I've I've got a book of the score with all of Lin Manuel Miranda's notes in it which is really great to do I love to study how other creators do things and so it's fascinating to go through and see. Everything he thought about how he worked through creating Hamilton but there's that great line right? from um from I want to be in the room where it happens where they say the art of the compromise hold your breath and close your eyes. Um, great line great line and yes all relationships are compromised but this whole sense of fighting for what what you want to need in a relationship means that it's an actual compromise. It's not that the man gets everything he wants and I know that it feels funny. It's like why? Why are we saying this. But clearly we we're still having these conversations. It's not over It's not gone. Um and the other things so a strong female character. Yeah that she has these clear boundaries. Um, and 1 thing I've noticed.
The other thing that brought this to mind is that my own husband David who is a lovely man I mean been together for I forget now 32 years um he is a gentle person. I don't think he would describe himself as a feminist because he's from Northern Wyoming and they think that that's a dirty work but he in his relationship with me. He has always dealt with me as a person. Um.
And in ways that are very important to me like the things that he values about me are the same things that I value about myself. Um, he loves that I am very smart. He loves that I'm very independent and capable. He loves that I am a problem solver he has never expected me to be be dependent upon him. Um, he's always been fine with the occasions when I've made more money than he has so all of these things are true, but there's a certain like if we're watching a movie together which is like 1 of our main things that we do together as we stream movies. Ah, there are certain female characters that I just know I can like. You all know this if you've been with someone for a really long time you you have a little clock going off in your head until they make the comment that you know that they're going to make and there are certain female characters that he'll always say I don't like her and it's always someone who is a commanding demanding. Female character that we would describe as I think being a strong female character. Um, so like even if she's like leading the charge against the monsters I've got dappling on my face I'll scoot over this way. This is why I get for taking so long to get my internet set up.
Ah I'll pass.
I'm just gonna have to deal with dappling said dapples across my face. Um two of the great leaves. So that's nice. So anyway, um oh no.
It's telling me it failed to resume recording. Let's see if it's better now I should not have paused I think maybe we're okay now. Okay I just had sun dappling on me I hopefully we're still recording Zencastr you're driving me crazy. Okay, so anyway, but. My point and I did have 1 ah you know it's like these female characters that are leading the charge against the monsters right? or they're a general or you know in these kickass roles and I know that this is his programming I know that this goes back to. Um. This knee-jerk programming and and I've pointed out to him I'm like well I would act like that in that situation. He says no, you wouldn't no, you're not, you're not mean like that or something like that and it's like I know that there's this divide in his mind. So I don't know if there's an answer to this. Um, certainly not with like dealing with the men in our lives. How do we figure that out women have been sorting this for what centuries now. Um, but as far as writing characters I think let's think in those terms that this is what it means to write a strong female character is the idea of boundaries. Um, that she has things that she is not willing to compromise on because they violate her own sense of self because they violate her own sense and wants and needs right? You know poly under duress your man wants to go out and.
Play with younger women and you don't want him to you know do do you capitulate to that where at what point are you willing to walk away and maybe that's a really interesting thing to think about with female characters and I'm going to. I'm going to play with that. You know it's like at what point are they willing to cut bait and walk away and say no I am I'm not going to do this thing. Um, yeah, so I hope you all have a fabulous week I really hope this continued to record and. I will um yeah hope you give me some some of your thoughts on this strong female character thing and I will talk to you all on Friday you all take care bye bye.