What Makes a Woman Strong?

So, what does make a woman strong? Vitamins you say? Or good nutrition. Exercising the mind and body daily. Meditating. Belief in something greater than self. Hmmm?

I got to thinking about heroines the other day. Most of the heroines in my books are ordinary women, on the quiet side, with ordinary jobs, and yet I expected them to star in my stories. I hope that I gave them enough qualities to sustain and complete their journey of discovery. Enough strength. Heck, some of them even had to help catch a bad guy. Did I give them the skills required? Skills so deepseated they probably came from childhood.

Group of Children Lined Up Against a Wall with One Girl (8-10) Making a Face

It seemed easier, somehow, when writing romantic suspense. I could give a heroine physical skills, like running marathons, learning martial arts, being a long distance swimmer, firing a gun, or taking boxing lessons to back up her ability to fight off the antagonist. Those are all physical outer strengths. But where does the woman’s strength come from in contemporary romance?

MP900386362Strength in women does not always come from the physical. I like to think of my heroines as having some innate skill, a perception, an inner sense of warning when things are about to go sour. Sometimes I’ll make the heroine a psychic, healer, teacher, nurse, or a psychologist so she better understands the workings of the human mind. Sometimes she’s just super-sensitive. But what about inner strengths like loyalty, honesty, independence? Woman Kissing the Top of a Baby's Head (3-6 Months)

These questions lead me to ask, what do you think makes for a strong woman? Give me examples. This can be a heroine from one of your own stories. It can be about a person in your life, a teacher, mentor, mother, daughter, or grandmother. Or something that you feel represents you as a woman. What quality speaks to you of strength?


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9 Responses to What Makes a Woman Strong?

  1. Nothing builds strength like adversity. Everyone has issues from childhood that helped shape them into the people they are as adults. And adulthood brings on a whole new set of problems. When it comes to the scariest thing in the world – letting ourselves love someone – physical strength has little to do with the outcome. The character must hurdle conflict after conflict in order to win the prize – love shared by two. That’s exhausting! So, if the internal conflicts are lined up solid and belligerent – there’s plenty for the growing-in-strength character to overcome.
    My mother was the strongest women I knew. She had a hard life to the very end, but she always smiled and got through the problems.

  2. Janie Emaus says:

    I think my mother is the strongest woman I know. At 89, she still walks a few times a day. But more than her physical strength is her emotional side: that of positive thinking!

  3. robena grant says:

    Positive thinking. I like that, Janie.

  4. Sam Beck says:

    I love a physically strong, kick-ass heroine like Lara Croft or Evelyn Salt, (or gosh, maybe it’s Angelina Jolie I love?!), but when it comes to my own heroines, I tend to give them strength of will. They’ve got goals, gosh darn it, and they’re going to pursue them, come hell or high water, (or an infuriating, distracting man). 😉

  5. robena grant says:

    Strength of will. Yes, courage to see their goal through to the finish. : )

  6. Thea says:

    Being open to what happens in her life, then dealing with it, incorporating, and putting it away. Good, bad, mediocre.

  7. Thea says:

    Being open to what comes into her life, dealing with it, incorporating what sustains, and shucking the rest. She’s renewed and can keep on going.