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Female Led Action

Female led action isn't a common trope in the action adventure genre.

Well, it is, but not the way it's done for male led action. There are some significant differences in how they're approached.

When you have a movie, book, etc, with a woman in the lead role, 90% of the time, she's the ONLY woman as a main or even secondary character.

Instead, it's far more common to see a man as the lead and a single woman as part of a group. Usually, it's 3-5 men and 1 woman, and the implication is that this is an equal amount of screen time across the board.

Lemme 'Splain:

Take Alien for example:

Ripley is the only woman in there for the majority of the film. Even later films will have only 1 or 2 other women, both of whom are usually killed off.

Or we have Resident Evil. Alice is an absolute kick-ass, don't get me wrong. And we do see women. Michelle Rodriguez in the first, Sienna Miller in the second, and Ali Larter shows up off and on throughout the rest, but that's one woman per film.

Compare that to male led action:

Five to six men in leading roles, each one with some unique characteristic, although usually only the lead has any sort of a back story.

Obviously, this is often not the case with books, where we have more space and time to work within, but the point is that there are multiple men, each one of whom has a purpose beyond dying for the sake of the storyline.

Please note, this is taking the trope at its most basic. Obviously, there are some, like the MCU, where we do see more women working together, but even there, they fall prey to one of the more common fates of a woman in the action genre:

Dying to progress the story in some way.

Natasha Romanoff and Gamora both suffered this fate. While Tony Stark also gave his life, everyone tended to focus more on him and his fate as being more tragic, and the women was just...standard.

Another Problem with the Trope and Genre

Another problem often seen with women in action roles (especially in books, where there's no input from actual women) is that they behave in ways that women just...don't.

From being weirdly aggressive in an effort to deny any femininity, to acting as if being a woman is bad, a burden, or in some way a thing that needs to be overcome, it doesn't have much good to teach younger women and girls about their potential roles in the world.

Also, they have women approaching problems from a man's perspective. And I wish I could point to an action movie that really highlights this, but I have a bad tendency to quit those kinds of movies and books too early, then erase them from my memory.

Instead, I'll give a real world, non-action example.

Back in Australia, I heard about a female electrician who was good at her job. Meticulous, detail oriented, and she did the job with less destruction and mess than her male counterparts.

Eventually, she went on to create her own company and she would only hire women because they were the only ones who could keep up with her high standards of work and quality. Her company was in demand in her area, to the point that I heard about her from half the country away.

In my experience as an internet cabler (one of only 3 or 4 across Australia) men tend to rely on brute force.

So, when you take a woman and put her in the action genre, what you usually get for a woman finessing things is she's working as a con artist and/or using sex appeal.

When she uses brute force, they portray her as more of a man in a skirt rather than having any other attributes and characteristics of a woman.

It completely ignores the wide range of abilities that women showcase. And yes, some women are capable of using brute force (see Agent Carter, who does it right!) but it's not EVERY woman.

Okay, as you can see, I have a lot of feels on this subject, but that's also where I come in and why I think The Rebels and The Irregulars are so important.

This is truly a female led action series, where there are more women than men, especially in the first book.

In The Rebels, there are less than 10 named male characters and none of them play a major role in the story. While they're relegated to more minor parts as far as the overall story is concerned, we still see them having lives - loves, likes, dislikes, know, a personality.

But the primary focus is on women, their interactions with each other, and the way they deal with an invasion and having to either resort to violence or put up and shut up.

They're motivations behind their actions aren't how men would approach things, and I think that's important to have.

Now, whether or not I did a really good job or not is up to you to decide, and while I don't have a perfect 5 star rating, none of them said it was because my characters sucked.


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