Let this Ace preface this article by making the following declaration: I like female characters.
And you know what I especially love? Female characters who are full-fledged.
You can likely tell where I'm heading with all this. But first, a brief primer.
There's no denying that stories can work in magical ways when it comes to influencing who one becomes later in life. Whether it's harnessing a greater understanding of Mother Nature and the deleterious effects of consumerism via Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Topcraft, 1984) and WALL-E (Pixar, 2008), or broadening one's worldview through works such as The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho, 1988) and The Phantom Tollbooth (Norton Juster, 1961), the realm of fiction provides more than just a dose of escapism: It can enchantingly implant into the participant ideas and characters they may have never stumbled upon otherwise, ideas and characters that can make one look at themselves and derive key lessons from the personages projecting the message.
Speaking of personages, whoever is in the proverbial driver's seat can also impact the way one perceives and interprets a story, hence the reason creating personalities and picking the one whose nose others will follow is anything but a forgiving task when taken seriously. That is why, with the multifaceted nature of humankind considered, it should behoove the artist to do justice to their creations when they possess certain traits people may put a premium on, and female characters are no exception to the responsibility of crafting three-dimensional beings.
Three weeks ago, io9 author Charlie Jane Anders penned a piece on the benefits of having female personages whose character development revolved more around their flaws than their figurative and literal strength. Needless to say that it targeted what the likes of David Corbett feared was the case for many fictional personalities: The fact that far too many (female) characters came off as more akin to paragons of virtue than well-rounded individuals. And like the majority of the links I embed into my articles, I agree with many of the points made by Anders.
As I exposed myself to more works featuring female leads from sundry backgrounds and with multifarious talents, I began pondering the following question: What exactly constitutes a spectacular woman in works of fiction?
Of course, the answer to that question varies greatly on who you ask. Some offer extensive responses containing lots of truth nuggets, others dish out... less than tasteful definitions of female personalities. And given the rising awareness over the infringement of women's rights worldwide, the discussion has definitely proven contentious among many.
While the history surrounding the treatment of women in real-life and fiction is far too extensive for the purposes of this article, I will say that as sovereign beings who can express as much agency and consequentiality as their male peers, there's no reason women shouldn't be granted the respect one would bestow upon a creature of individuality (which humankind is, in spite of its cyclical tendency to fence itself in with conformity).
In my innermost quest for literary recognition via a work-in-progress with a, you guessed it, woman at the protagonistic helm, I figured I'd share with you the personal commandments I use for designing female characters who embody a level of complexity befitting of humanity and not a penny dreadful. Having had the pleasure and honor to interact with many fantastic women who helped me become the lad I am today, I aim to do justice to the personalities I've exposed myself to by dissecting the facets that can engender a compelling and inspiring female personage for your artistic purposes, be it in games, literature, movies, theater and other forms of storytelling.
NOTE: The following tenets apply to all kinds of personalities, not just women, who may be cis, trans, or non-binary in terms of gender. I'm presenting them within a feminine context because in relative terms (i.e. compared to existing female characters), such tenets can make a world of difference with regards to noteworthiness.
Also, I fully understand the position I'm in given my gender, so I encourage you to chime in on the topic if you wish to offer your take on a principle you disagree with. Depending on your creative intentions, not all of them may fit into your narrative (picking certain ones in lieu of others due to conflicts with the experience goal can be A-OK when done conscientiously).
Lastly, this post will be rather lengthy, so take your time with it! As usual, keep the conversation clean to preclude extraneous tribalism. :)
1 - Provide an especial backstory
Humans are shaped by what they (un)willingly let into their lives, and what better way to depict the baggage they haul about than by presenting a backstory? Like other character types, fictional women can benefit greatly from a background, one that is preferably sui generis, reflective of the writer's authentic life experiences and/or derived from multiple sources residing outside their sociocultural comfort zone. While this may seem like a lot of work for something that's unlikely to get a lot of time on the narrative spotlight, one must remember that the way one comports themselves in the present stems heavily from what unfolded in the past, so no corners ought to be cut. A good word wrangler writes a unique backstory for their personage while a great one uses said backstory to communicate and juxtapose with the personage's inner growth.
Perhaps no figure weaves her early days into her character development more poignantly than Persepolis's Marjane Satrapi (2000). Based on the experiences of the real-life artist, Persepolis perfectly captures the tension and struggle of growing up free-spirited in a conservative society, one spurred by the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. Torn between her traditional roots and individualistic predilections, Satrapi relied on the dramatic events she witnessed around her and her loved ones to become the woman she aspired to be in spite of fundamentalist policies. Familial demises, heartbreaks, sociocultural clashes... History shaped Satrapi in sundry ways and served as the springboard for her growth into an outspoken woman, an experience that many readers/viewers hailing from similarly collectivistic countries can relate to.
From the country of origin and its circumstances to the parenting style and political views embodied by their folks, a character's backstory can convey a lot about their personality and provide the groundwork for growing into a different kind of individual by the time the tale has run its course. Simply settling for a typical background with average situations won't do much to provide the personage with the pros and cons they need to double down on and control respectively if they wish to be internally reborn later in their journey. While a degree of verisimilitude is necessary to make the character's upbringing believable and generate empathy in the participant, the backstory must still evoke a fresh sense of wonder and drama that can only be achieved if the writer is willing to treat the background like a genuine individual: As its own beast.
2 - Brainstorm peculiar interests/hobbies/jobs
"You are what you eat." Substitute "do" for "eat" and you end up with the idea of being your own chum via the manner in which you keep yourself busy. Vocations and passions form a core component of how one makes a living, behaves themselves and is perceived by others, hence their importance as character-building traits. Again, looking beyond the usual assortment of time sinks and trades can allow the artist to brainstorm all kinds of scenarios and locales conducive to what their female characters can accomplish and the manner in which they assert themselves. Emotions, tics, worldviews... How one puts their nose to the grindstone has a big impact on their line of thinking, which dictates how they approach inner growth and challenges. The more peculiar the range of endeavors, the more indelible the character's interactions with hazards and other folks.
Mikura Amelia from Wandering Island (Kenji Tsuruta, 2010) embraces that principle with flying (heh) colors. A combination of Amelia Earhart and budding witch Kiki, Mikura couldn't be more far removed from your typical depiction of a female lead. Between her rock-solid relationship with her late grandfather (who instilled in her an appreciation for aviation and Walther PPK-style airguns) and wanderlust revolving around the Izu and Ogasawara archipelagos, Mikura makes no qualms about her dedication to her job as a delivery aviator, even if it means getting into a seeming wild-goose chase to honor her relative's last request. As a result, Mikura's personality, including her industriousness and stubbornness, is heavily rooted in her vocation, enabling her to set herself apart from her peers and escape the sort of social fetters that infringe upon one's self-actualization.
Like one's overall disposition, what an individual decides to invest their attention and efforts into is a reflection of how they were brought up and exposed to the world. Depending on how much freedom female characters can wield to pursue their dreams and make ends meet, the potential for growth-promoting conflict and life-changing encounters can be made tangible and enhanced via the tale's themes and symbolism. Most importantly, however, the endeavor(s) the personage partakes in will influence what they're physically and mentally capable of, so care must be taken to pinpoint the right activities that suit the character's demeanor, lifestyle and desires. Don't be afraid to bestow an atypical venture upon your creation if you believe it'll individualize her and, even better, provide her with the tools for her specific brand of character development.
3 - Get experimental with female physicality
Given how homogeneous and stereotypical depictions of fictional women proved in the past, the need for individuality and authenticity becomes all the more crucial in physical traits. Age, frame, skin color, disabilities... These attributes deserve to be given the proper level of experimentation and respect if the artist aims to create a lasting impression with their portrayal of their personage. This, however, transcends issues of sensitivity and representation: Unique bodily compositions grant female characters a level of personal authority and confidence that showcases the lengths to which they'll go to remain true to themselves. And in the event of low self-esteem, the character can embed self-acceptance in the face of sociocultural pressure into the inner growth process, potentially adding another dimension to her personality that may prove inspiring for the participant.
Sophie of Howl's Moving Castle (Diana Wynne Jones, 1986) fame not only goes against the grain in terms of depicting female physicality, she also leverages for the purposes of character development her aging and rejuvenating body as a way to highlight her inner shackles and breaking away from them. Throughout her quest to rid herself of the curse that birthed her elderly predicament, Sophie gradually throws off the yoke of timidity to become more assertive and confident in her efforts to take care of the titular sorcerer and bear herself up under the pressure of magical adversity. Perhaps the biggest boon of her situation, however, was the fact that through her embodiment of her hex, Sophie was able to attain the kind of youthful perspective she always dreamed of possessing, furthering her willingness to evolve as a human being. As the saying goes, "they who stop learning start growing old."
People can be frustratingly visual and judgmental creatures. something that, combined with the fact that true individualism invites conformistic scorn, can limit corporal adventurism and self-actualization in others. By granting female personages a characteristic look that can potentially inform their personal evolution, the artist can brainstorm the kinds of scenarios, interpersonal interactions and conflicts that only their own creations can face, further humanizing them instead of relegating them to tropes and jokes revolving around their appearance. But it's not just about creating growth via fresh forms of conflict, however: A body that the character can own and embrace from the get-go or gradually throughout their story may also complement the range of mental idiosyncrasies that can establish them as believable beings rather than mere characters.
4 - Promote individualism befitting of the personality
Of all the principles that can make or break a stellar female character, individualism stands as one of the foremost attributes that can humanize said character. Given that people don't come out of an assembly line with preconceived parameters conducive to uniform harmony among humans, it makes sense to portray a raw, innermost and complex disposition (i.e. one spotlighting the subject's physical and mental particularities) befitting of an individual while still striking an empathetic chord with audiences. Sovereignty of mind and/or body enables personages to achieve their desires more sincerely and participants to more easily picture the inner world of the figures, allowing character development to mature at a tangible rate so that the personality may become three-dimensional. After all, the personage's endgame generally equates to self-actualization, the fulfillment of one's unique potential, in spite of what some folks have to say on the matter.
Perhaps no one exemplifies female individualism more tangibly than Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre (1847). In spite of 19th-century cultural biases against women, Jane Eyre demonstrated a level of assertiveness that she nurtured from her time in her aunt's "care" (to put it generously) to her tenure as governess in Thornfield Hall. Even as she developed a romantic fondness for the estate's master, Jane Eyre still tried to hold her ground in the face of adversity (e.g. Blanche Ingram, the truth behind Rochester's marital situation), to the point where she was willing to start over by teaching at a village school instead of sacrificing her self-control to Rochester by returning his feelings for her. Given the patriarchal mores of the Georgian era, the fact that Jane Eyre (successfully) attempted to become Rochester's equal through her leveraging of her past experience and vocation makes her individualistic character arc all the more remarkable and bold.
That's not to say that individualism and relationships are mutually exclusive. Contrariwise, interpersonal interactions can offer characters the chance to leverage their individuality to enhance their and others' lives, and even open personalities up to those around them. But because conflict is what drives the drama and personages' inner growth in most stories, having the character(s) think for themselves in a way that may invite a set-to with others is necessary to showcasing what these people stand for and despise on matters of principle. Having a figure embody a form of self-reliance means that the writer can accurately depict the struggle of remaining true to oneself without sacrificing chief desires, which can constitute a form of metamorphosis that may lucidly convey the story's message and character's true nature. When individuality is taken into account and emphasized, narrative conflict can be waged both inside and outside the mind, which can turn one's creations into authentic reflections of human reality.
5 - Make the character's actions consequential
Of course, it's one thing to be your own chum, it's another to move mountains of your own volition. This is where the issue of consequentiality (i.e. triggering plot events through one's actions) comes in, and it's something that can further drive home the personage's narrative indispensability. While being always successful isn't going to maximize the scoring of empathy points with audiences, the character must at least try to make things happen to ensure they remain in control of the situation and themselves, even if their hopes are likely to be dashed by all kinds of obstacles (remember, conflict drives the storytelling!). By steering the plot in ways reflecting their mindset and keeping the tension afloat, female characters can open the door to opportunities for learning more about the opposition and trouncing it, as well as comparing their intentions with others' in a way that generates greater discovery about themselves and those around them.
When one thinks of female personages who make things happen in sizable ways, Mad Max: Fury Road's Imperator Furiosa (Warner Bros., 2015) is an obvious candidate. Originally a war captain under Immortan Joe, Furiosa decided to take matters (and the wheel) in her own hands by skedaddling with Joe's wives during a supply fetch operation. As the movie's inciting incident, Imperator's betrayal sets off a chain of events (and spectacularly decked-out rides) whose scale is only rivaled by Furiosa's desire to take the wives to the Green Place and her unflinching resilience in the face of madcap adversity. While she does get assistance from the titular road warrior and other figures later on, Furiosa hardly misses a chance to take the initiative in the name of wasteland justice and universal safety, enabling her character to undergo sundry trials of her own making that she converts into the solidification of her desire to do Joe in and become a sovereign woman.
With few exceptions (e.g. Meursault in 1942's The Stranger by Albert Camus), characters who constantly let events happen to them in lieu of making events happen through their doings hardly engender engaging storytelling, hence the necessity of activity and competence in characterization. Because plot-changing actions equate to leaving one's comfort zone and range from conservative to drastic in terms of how much effort the person wants to expend and the amount they must demonstrate to get what they desire, consequentiality and character growth go hand-in-hand. Like tennis players, memorable female personalities must exercise a level of control over their situation and environment if they hope to prevail against their foe(s) in the end, especially given that the opposition may become more cunning over time. After all, it's not (merely) the reaching of their goal that changes a person the most. It's the journey they embark on and the actions they take (as well as their consequences on the initiator and others).
6 - Teach/inspire themselves and others to create understanding, change and confidence
Let's face it: While there is a majority of people who experience stories just to escape reality, there are some among them who hope to derive a lesson or two from their tales. Like humans, female characters can leverage their uniqueness and commonalities with others to promote the upheaval of a problematic status quo (internally and/or externally), and such developments pair perfectly with the theme of inner growth emblematic of quality narratives. Because change can only arise by substituting consequentiality for comfort, characters who enact transformative measures in themselves and others can become exposed to different scenarios of varying scale and intensity that discourage inertia and maximize (inter)personal drama. In other words, the tale must feel as if the world can't better itself without the character's involvement.
Yona of the Dawn's eponymous lead (Mizuho Kusanagi, 2009) fits the bill in that regard, even if first impressions say otherwise. Initially unaware of her kingdom's woes as a result of her isolation in the royal palace, Yona is thrust into a life-or-death adventure when bloody circumstances arise, forcing her to witness the many injustices her father left unattended and undo the ills plaguing her home on her own terms. From learning how to wield melee and ranged weapons to inspiring tribesfolk and even former enemies to adopt measures meant to address squalid living conditions and shady ventures, Yona challenges both herself and others to channel their humanity and unlock parts of themselves they originally overlooked. Although failures abound, the fact that Yona tries her best to create the land her father never had means one can't help but admire her unwavering benevolence.
Long story short, Yona goes from being a spoiled, drinkware-pelting member of royalty...
... to a kingdom-trotting vigilante who can send ruffians downstairs with a fiery gaze.
Yeah, one does not simply ruffle her feathers... and walk the earth afterwards.
Change, understanding and confidence are byproducts of human individualism which, given how its true form earns scorn from those upholding the status quo, makes it all the more noteworthy when someone risks their image and health to shake things up. Stories can act as a reflection of one's perception of an ideal world and how they wish to go about patching things up, so opportunities for a distinct brand of heroism and good deeds may prove fruitful on that front. Through a confluence of locations, events, characters and circumstances, the writer can brainstorm novel ways for female personages to fulfill their individual desires and teach/learn from others with regards to healthy self-actualization, creating a positive ripple effect. Humans constantly evolve, and a character who acknowledges that may inspire both their peers and the participant.
7 - Supply compelling humor along with drama and conviction
Just because drama should constitute a crucial component of a great female character doesn't mean it has to be all doom and gloom. Humans naturally wish to maximize the positives and minimize the negatives, hence the use of humor as a coping mechanism and personality trait. Aside from brightening the mood and lifting their and others' spirits up, risibility and charm can serve to add layers of depth and even those good ol' contradictions to fictional women, allowing them to assume a voice and life of their own instead of simply being used as plot-forwarding devices. Sarcasm, wit, slapstick, self-deprecation, dark humor... When applied properly, jocularity can juxtapose with and supplement the conviction and gravitas female personalities may convey in the heat of the moment, keeping both the narrative mood and character development tonally balanced.
One memorable advocate for that school of thought is Hercules's Megara (Disney, 1997). Taking a page straight out of the Lois Lane/Clarke Kent Chemistry coursebook, Meg efficiently leverages her funny bone and worldview to provide mentally sharp observations on the situations and characters she's in and with respectively. From cheekily teasing a flummoxed Hercules with bouts of sarcasm to nonchalantly relaying her reports to Hades with similes and the occasional pop culture reference, Meg hardly misses an opportunity to make her more playful self manifest in spite of her past predicaments and blooming feelings for the titular hero. While her sincerity does become more prominent over the course of the tale, Hercules's love interest still manages to depict the benefits of having heartfelt convictions and snappy wit coexist cogently.
Given that there can be a tendency to make fictional women stoic in order to portray them as "strong female characters" (especially in sci-fi), the role of humor in humanizing them is made all the more invaluable. Logically there shouldn't be any mood whiplashes or tonal abuses in dramatic works (too little humor = too solemn, too much humor = tone-deaf, as many would argue), but such stories should expose one to different emotions for them to remain engaged. By injecting some levity into a determined personage, the writer may unlock the door to avenues for character interactions and development that may spiceup scenes and draw out unexpected traits in other people. Such depth can help a story and female personage stand out from their peers and open new storytelling and inner life doors for audiences to look through with curiosity and glee, keeping the narrative content fresh and (inter)personal actions multifarious.
8 - Display relationships that complement, not supplant, the character's individuality and self-worth
There's a reason most of the best stories make it a point to anchor their themes around relationships: They allow the characters in question to bandy ideas, dreams, fears and quirks at one another, creating juicy opportunities for conflict and, even better, growth. But this can also prove challenging because when done improperly, personages may lose their agency and individuality, turning them into ciphers that frustrate audiences and deprive the character of any semblance of humanity. The key is to ensure that both sides have their pros and cons, but there must at least be the idea that the two evolve or come to turning points as a result of interactions, something that applies to both main and supporting figures. And since relationships can also propel female characters into a new story beat or fresh mindset that shapes their tackling of events, every interaction with two or more people must count to keep things engaging and personages dynamic.
Merida from Brave (Pixar, 2012) solidly demonstrates the approach to relationships that spice up, rather than smother, her sense of freedom. As a highly individualistic princess butting heads with customs, Merida initially doesn't see eye-to-eye with her folks, particularly the weapon-averse queen. From their dissenting views over the matter of betrothals and regal comportment to the set-tos that make said views conspicuously manifest, both mother and daughter allow themselves to slowly succumb to rigidness and pride respectively until matters become bearly (sorry) manageable. This forces Merida to reevaluate her bond with those who raised her into the lass she is and figure out how to reconcile tradition and freethinking without sacrificing her identity or wholly upending the establishment. It's by finding that balance that Merida and company can self-actualize, hardly settling for a black-and-white resolution that would cheapen their epiphany.
When it comes to depicting the struggle between the heroine (individual) and their peers (group), the communication of relationships via conversations and interactive actions can drive home the idea of agency among the characters and the struggle of protecting one's identity. People survive not just physically, but also mentally, emotionally and intellectually to achieve self-actualization, which is the reason managing believable bonds is hard (and also why having a smaller cast generally means deeper relationships). From finding a sweet spot between one's and others' desires to burning bridges in an effort to preserve oneself in the face of irrelevance, interpersonal ties can go in sundry directions that profoundly impact fictional women, with variety stimulating their growth. When done properly, interactions between people may lead to moments when they find/see themselves in one another, generating a level of empathy in them and the participant that may elevate the story's emotional punch to unexpected heights.
9 - Come up with (inner) flaws the character must manage
Did you honestly think I'd forget this pearl of wisdom given my mentioning Anders?
As I stated before, fictional women, like other characters, are human beings, meaning they're bound to come with their share of weaknesses that juxtapose with their strengths and throw a monkey wrench into their inner lives and pursuit of their desires. Again, conflict is the fuel for drama and story progress, so the character must generally keep themselves busy by wrestling with an obstacle of sorts to ensure they chip away at the fat coating the lean 'n mean version of herself she'll embrace by journey's end. In this case, said obstacle can occur out of sight and cause the personage to subconsciously behave in a manner that, although reflective of her past, may hinder her efforts. This is not just a case of "balancing" a person to avoid the "goody two shoes" problem of characterization: Flaws reveal something about the character that invests us into their struggle and make us wonder when, if and how they'll emerge from the rubble reborn. This gives the repercussions tangibility, adding agency to the personage's successes and failures.
Hellblade's Senua (Ninja Theory, 2017) is a poignant example of a heroine who, although skilled and daring, must wrestle with herself on top of external hostilities for her arc to gain a sense of satisfying closure. As a bearer of psychosis who attempts to undo her lover's demise, Senua faces many trials and moments of truth throughout her adventure that come close to shattering her resolve and body, but compel her to grit her teeth and bear up under the pressure so that she may close the gap between expectations and results. Since she can't exactly wrap her hands around her inner voices' neck (or lack thereof), Senua must learn to work with the Furies within rather than against them, channeling all parts of herself (both good and bad) into bolstering her resolve and strength toward defeating godly forces and, most insidiously, the Darkness embedded in her psyche. A single-front war wouldn't have challenged Senua as much or enough for her to fulfill her unconscious desire, with her flaws upping the stakes for her growth and rebirth.
Like the classic tale of David vs. Goliath, audiences root for the underdog because the theme of overcoming odds dauntingly stacked against them is a universal one that may take many forms. While a degree of competence is expected of the female character to set the stage for the transition into the "Adventure World" and demonstrate growth, flaws serve an important purpose that's beneficial to narrative potency: They amplify the personage's successes when she prevails in spite of her woes and spotlight potential areas of improvement within her that may open the door to more opportunities for self-transcendence. That's not to mention the fact that flaws also deepen interpersonal interactions since characters can act as mirrors to one another, exposing them to their and others' flaws in ways that promote the teaching and learning of methods meant to keep their woes in check. As Jung once posited, “the meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: If there is any reaction, both are transformed.”
A small but significant reminder
To cap things off, I'd like to reiterate one of the most important points about characterization no conscientious writer should ignore: Regardless of your character's gender, the things you ought to prioritize from the get-go are their varying likability, competence and activity. The reason a lot of female, and even male, characters fall flat in terms of the empathy they generate in audiences is because a lot of word wranglers make the mistake of first defining their creations as a man or woman before brainstorming their physical/psychological/sociological (PPS) traits.
Do not fall into that trap: Not only does prematurely anchoring your character to a gender restrict what you may be able to achieve out of the ordinary, it also invites the implementation of stereotypical attributes that can lead to your creation becoming a two-dimensional caricature rather than a full-fledged human being capable of embodying contradictions and peculiarities.
Instead, focus your attention on your personage's PPS characteristics before assigning them a gender, at which point you may make the necessary tweaks to ensure they can still look, sound and act the part as the bearer of a particular gender. Consider a medley of traits deemed "masculine" and "feminine" with varying percentages for your creations so that you can avoid having them pigeonholed based on a specific part of their identity.
I was originally going to include this section as a tenet (which would translate to a total of 10), but I decided to leave it out because I felt that such a characterization issue needed special attention given how deleterious it can be (perhaps more so than if one didn't follow one or more of the above tenets) if improperly wielded. Humans are mosaics, not pigments, so each piece should stand out and complement one another.
Of course, if one is talking about a historical or biographical work that may need to stress out gender stereotypes, then this reminder may be seen in a more optional light, but it still bears mentioning in case a character may feel too "boxed in" to writers and readers.
Lastly, just because you're making an individualistic but flawed female personage doesn't mean her femininity has to be sacrificed. Not every fictional woman has to necessarily be a tomboy to be free-spirited. An athletic and mettlesome figure who likes to get her hands dirty, for example, may still take an interest in fashion and gardening. As long as her individuality is kept cogent, any permutations are welcome.
As someone who considers human beauty to lie in individuality and the unashamed wielding of it, the depiction of figures who go off the beaten path is something I always welcome in the artworks I consume, which in turn leads artists (including yours truly) to uphold the need for said individuality in their respective projects.
In a world that's becoming increasingly defined by its tribalism, creative talents have a greater responsibility to put the peculiar outliers and independents in the spotlight to counteract the lust for conformity that beclouds all corners of the earth. By getting out of their comfort zone and thinking outside the box, artists can be willing to take more risks that may pay off in spades with the right level of knowledge, good judgment and sincerity, including crafting characters wholly different from themselves.
With the above advice I've imparted, I hope that the world will get to see more examples of female personages who not only serve as stellar role models for audiences, but also display humankind's incredible complexity and nuances in a way that shows that the collective unconscious doesn't stop at a particular subset of people. The same way that positive and negative feelings can be infectious and passed on, signs of individuality and agency can manifest themselves in all sorts of people.
The progress being made with women in fiction is something that should be celebrated. Now let's see to it that they inspire further understanding and change with regards to self-actualization.
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