My Top Five Cliché Female Character Traits
Every famous story, ever, has been ‘flattered’ by publishing houses commanding loose adaptations of the story to give the readers what they want. Vampires and werewolves took over a couple of years ago. Dystopians were next. Then re-told fairy stories. Now we’re heading into super power comic book hero territory.
With each set of stories released, various characteristics begin the slow downward spiral into cliché. Here are my top five for female characters;
Falling Over Everything, All the Time
Oh, the MC is so clumsy. She can barely stand up, forget any type of dancing or sporting activity. She is so uncoordinated that daily tasks present serious endangerment to life and limb. There is no reason given; she’s not freakishly out of proportion in her body (usually she is diminutive and petite). She’s not in recovery from head trauma that made her have to relearn to walk. She just is clumsy. It’s annoying.
Disagreeing That They Are Attractive, in Any Way Possible
Self-effacing thoughts about how she’s not pretty. Petty jealousy over how pretty everyone else is. Being almost offended if someone compliments her. Shaking her head and sighing as if the complimenter is an idiot for thinking they could pull the wool over her eyes with regards to her own attractiveness. Until the ‘bad boy’ tells her she’s hot and then all sorts of self-worth blossoms into being.
The Loud ‘n’ Proud Wacky Best Friend
Opposites attract, sure, but the MC usually tags along with a bestie who is inordinately loud and crazy eccentric, while personally being so quiet she prefers to be invisible and is constantly afraid of drawing attention to herself. Occasionally, this happens the other way around, but either way, friends can actually be quite similar. It’s not unusual.
Acting the Martyr and Sacrificing Themselves, Constantly
‘I’ll go to the dangerous place to do the dangerous thing that will probably kill me.’ She leaps into the fray, with no consideration of herself. She is more than happy to save everyone, anyone, all the people, the animals, the bugs, the plants… She has apparently no feeling of personal worth, or indeed survival instinct ingrained in all humans. She never second guesses her decision, just accepts death as her lot and is pleased she can die to protect someone or something.
Passive-Aggressive Acceptance of Being ‘The Chosen One’
‘Why me?’ is her rallying cry, until her crusty mentor finally pushes her boundaries enough that she leaps into being, a fully formed bonafide fighting / magical genius! She whips out her new-found abilities at every opportunity, until she can’t remember a time she didn’t have them. She moans, she whines, she defeats the bad guy, the end.
Do you agree with my list? Do you think I missed off a glaringly obvious character trait? Let me know in the comments!