Discussion: Female Characters

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Another post for the 2015 discussion challenge.

I have a confession to make:
I have trouble enjoying stories without a prominent cast of female characters. Of course a lot of books have very important females. But you know what I mean, I want a cast. I want female characters interacting with each other, having meaningful family bonds, friendships, etc with other females. I don’t want them to just be there as an important person for the male character. Or sometimes even as a device for the plot, to move it forward, or to motivate the male lead when they die. I want them to be important to themselves. I mean, obviously this is not necessarily the book’s fault. Some books/movies/tv are going to be about boys and maybe that’s just not for me.
And even with books where girls are the main character, this problem still seems to occur, because the rest of their world is filled with boys. They are surrounded by love triangles, boy best friends, love interests that consume their whole life and the only relationships they seem to have with other girls are tainted by jealousy and hate. Obviously I am over generalizing, there are great books out there who aren’t like that. But a lot of them are.
Also I don’t like the idea that “if you want to know if a female character is important/has a good story arc/a good personality/whatever, than pretend she is a man and see if it works”. This is meant to identify points in which a female character is being poorly constructed.
Can I just? NO. Ok? NO. Let’s not write stories thinking like that.
This just reinforces the idea that male is the norm. Let’s eliminate that. Females should be valued for who they are as individuals and not for how they are in comparison to a man.
Share your thoughts
So what do you think? Are books like that a reflection of the way or society thinks? Are females under appreciated in fiction because they are so in real life? Should we be writing and reading books with more female characters in the general cast (and not just “the only girl in the group” lead)?
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