After watching Frankie and Grace, it occurred to me how little see of older people having falling in love or having any story what so ever. Well, Samantha Bryant is addressing that issue and taking it one step further and having her older main character become a menopausal superhero. And Samantha was kind enough to write a guest post for me. but first Going Through The Change is free on Amazon. Check it out.
A Woman of a Certain Age: Heroism Over Forty
Women are tough. We’re survivalists. We have incredible physical endurance for pain. We understand self-sacrifice, persistence, and inner strength. Even those of us without comic book superpowers have regular superpowers like multitasking, managing crises, organizing families and partner-soothing. But a lot of our strengths are undervalued or outright ignored in the larger world.
In fiction, especially heroic fiction, we’re still quite the minority. Even more-so if we’re talking about women of color. True, there are more stories about kick-ass women now than ever before and some really satisfying characters have appeared on the scene. Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Black Widow from the Avengers series, Lisbeth Salander from the Girl Who series, Katniss Everdeen of Hunger Games, Tris Prior of Divergent, Princess Bubblegum of Adventure Time, Agent Carter, all the clones on Orphan Black, etc.
The frustrating thing to me has been that, even in stories about amazing women, we still worship at the altar of youth. Think about that list I just made. Not a gray hair or stretch mark among them. Several of them still respond to “girl” without feeling insulted or weird. And many of them are still defined by the men they love to a larger extent than seems necessary. (I’m still fuming over Black Widow, the world’s most self-reliant and independent woman, being recast as Fay Wray to Hulk’s King Kong. Really, Joss?).
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take young kick-ass woman over weepy doormat victim any day. But I still want more. Why are these the only choices? I want characters I can really connect to—and that means women who are women, strong and flawed and interesting, just like male characters. People with enough years under their belts to have experience, and history. That’s part of what drew me to writing Going Through the Change. I wanted a superhero story about full-grown, capable and flawed women with lives, jobs, families and responsibilities. Women like me and my friends.
There’s not a lot of them out there in pop culture. Let’s see…Helen Mirren in Red, Judi Dench as M, though neither of them are the “star” of those particular movies. Um, yeah. I’m stuck. Can you think of any? If I include villains, I can find some in Disney that are probably over forty, but they’re all chasing youth in one way or another still. (Side note: I just saw Fury Road and was pleasantly surprised by the elder women and general feminism in that one—there’s hope!)
In real life, we all know capable, strong and impressive grown women. Let’s start showing them in our fiction!
Going Through the Change is going through a change in price for a couple of days in early August. On August 5th and 6th you can get the Kindle edition for free on Amazon. Check it out at: http://bitly.com/face-the-change
Samantha Bryant is a middle school Spanish teacher by day and a mom and novelist by night. That makes her a superhero all the time. Her debut novel, Going Through the Change: A Menopausal Superhero Novel is now for sale by Curiosity Quills. You can find her online on her blog, Twitter, on Facebook, on Amazon, on Goodreads, on the Curiosity Quills page, or on Google+.