Strong Female Characters and Disappointment in the Man Who Created them | Sheryl Steines

Strong Female Characters and Disappointment in the Man Who Created them

I've spent the afternoon wallowing in disappointment.

I left with a little disappointment floating around my head. It wasn't what I had expected to be doing after a trip to Wizard World, one of the many comic cons that spring up every year. It could have been a totally cool conversation with a with an actress from a show that inspired my characters; the strong female character.

Meeting Cordelia Chase

I fell in love with Buffy. The characters, the story arcs, the development and most importantly, I was impressed by Joss Whedon and his ability to create these real women. Women who are strong, who fall and pick themselves up and write their own rules.

I explained to Charisma Carpenter, the actress who played Cordelia Chase, how much I loved the show, the female strong female characters. I proclaimed my admiration for their creator, Joss Whedon and how his characters were the blueprint for how I developed my own characters.

She expressed her congratulations on my writing my books but asked me what I thought about the Joss Whedon news that had recently come to light.

I had no idea.

Disappointment Sets In

Charisma shared the news that while Joss was married, it is alleged he had multiple affairs and asked about my thoughts on that. My first thought, I could separate the two. The man who was raised by a feminist. A man who was a self-proclaimed feminist, who won many awards for his work.

But can I really separate the two?

It was disappointing to say the least. I had admired him for so long. What I felt was his true work, spoke to me, inspired me as I wrote about Annie Pearce., developing her in a way that made her a real woman, a strong woman. Buffy Summers as my model. Was it all fake?

Grappling With My Thoughts

As I grapple with the meaning of this news, I still feel that how Joss Whedon wrote women, was spot on. They feel real, they are relatable, and beautiful and smart and they each have flaws and issues and problems they face. Just like me. Just like my characters. That for me is real.

Is he entitled to write them? Yes he is. Do I have to admire him? I can admire the work that he has done. The characters that mean so much to me, but I no longer admire the man the way that I once was. He isn't perfect. But then, either am I. He doesn't have to apologize to me and I can still watch and love the characters that were created. Maybe some day I'll have different thoughts. For now, I'll move on to what's most important to me. Saying what I need to say about myself as a woman with dreams and goals. And maybe in the future, I should create my own blue print for the strong female character. I think I can do that.





Leave a Comment:

Lydia says September 4, 2017

This was such a fair and heartfelt post. As a fellow fan of many of Whedon’s shows, I had the same disappointed reaction to the recent news about his infidelities. I think it’s possible to enjoy a show (or album, or book) while also not agreeing with the creator’s life choices, but I also understand why some people struggle with this.

I know I’ve struggled with it in the past. In some cases, it has prevented me from enjoying something I used to love if the creator did something truly egregious. It other cases, I have much more complex feelings about the topic.

I don’t know what the right answer is, but I sure did enjoy reading your thoughts about it. Thanks for sharing this on Monday Blogs this week.

    Sheryl Steines says September 5, 2017

    Thanks. After talking to Charisma Carpenter, I really had to think about it. I still appreciate the characters, the story telling and the messages, but for me, I think I really need to find my own way and model my characters the way I think a strong female character should be. It really was a shock and disappointment, but I’m moving on. If Buffy comes on, I’m sure I’ll still partake. 🙂

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