Flipping through the pages of yet another piece of fiction, I had an epiphany. There was something wrong. The book was well-paced. Nice plot. Then what was it? After a few moments of silence, I got the answer.

It was the female character of the book, who was once again an overly idealised woman, clearly being more of a reflection of what the author perceives women to be than being a believable human being.

Why are the most common female characters often the reflection of what the society expects women to be instead of the sketch of a believable human being?

Here is a general description of popular female characters from several novels:

  • Bushy-haired, bespectacled (optional) shy girl who prefers books over male attention, only to transform later into a gorgeous diva for the hero, who understandably becomes the first ever man in her life.
  • A smokin’ hot girl from an academic background. She is unaware of her good looks and would finally make the hero fall in ‘true love’ for the first time.
  • An introvert girl who has clearly suffered some trauma in the past and she cannot trust anyone anymore. She finally meets our jolly-good hero who saves the day.

Did you see it? I can go on and on with the descriptions but the point is that each one of them is engendering a need for the ‘knight in shining armour’ to complete the plot.

This can also be witnessed in the trail of thoughts that women in books usually have. I once read about a female character whose heart was slowly ‘melting away’ looking at the ‘raw ruggedness’ of her boss, who has been disrespectful to her the entire time. She is wondering that something must be hurting him deep inside and that she can fix it.

Can we please have women who are less like soft toys stuffed by grandma and more like normal-behaving women who do not have the baggage of universal social welfare on their ‘tender’ shoulders?

There are more chances for a young woman to touch her scalp and pick off the little occasional bumps of dandruff instead of putting on some light, floral perfume before going to sleep.

It would be a great change to read of women who are developed human characters instead of objects of idealised wish fulfilment. That can also take the heat off the male characters who have to run around to put bread on the table.


Copyright © Neha Sharma