I came across an article by quoting several actresses complaining about the prevailing trends in writing strong female leads.
(Full Disclosure: I know very little about Hollywood, actors and actresses, or the current movie landscape. I tend to stick to watching the 2D people. For this reason, note that I am quoting actresses about whom I know nothing, so none of my assessments are informed by any opinion of the actresses themselves or movies referenced in the article.)
Ms. Emily Blunt explained that she was bored with certain trends in writing female lead characters:
It’s the worst thing ever when you open a script and read the words ‘strong female lead.’ That makes me roll my eyes. I’m already out. I’m bored. Those roles are written as incredibly stoic, you spend the whole time acting tough and saying tough things.
(Internal quotation marks and breaks omitted.)
Ms. Emma Thompson complained that the trend yields “strong female lead” characters who lack femininity:
Now women have to be badass — if they’re feminine in the way that they used to be, and they’re not badass, then they’re not welcome. Also, they’re not allowed to cry, apparently, anymore, because we’ve just got to be like the men.
I have seen complaints about this trend in Hollywood referenced in articles and opinion pieces, but I again note that I have no first-hand opinion — the last time I went to a movie theater was to see a boxing match in 2010. But although I cannot comment on specific movies, Ms. Thompson’s critique of a specific archetype makes sense. In my review of Night of the Forget-Me-Nots, an English translation of a Japanese horror visual novel, I explained that I found it somewhat jarring that although the viewpoint character is a female high school student, I spent part of my first play-through thinking that she was a boy (note the visual novel has no character portraits). The issue in Forget-Me-Nots was most likely unintentional — that is, I do not think there was any specific plan to write the protagonist in a manner that almost failed to betray the fact that she was a girl.
While my issue with Forget-Me-Nots was different than the issue described by Ms. Blunt and Ms. Thompson, their incisive quotes reminded me of my own experience reviewing a piece with a female lead who was written without considering a feminine voice. I agree fully with the two actresses that being a strong female lead not only does not require writing the female lead “just … like the men,” but that doing so is contrary to the idea of a strong female lead generally. The same would be true in the reverse case.