Quick rant today guys.
Everyone likes to talk about female characters and how to properly write them. I’ve stayed out of the conversation because honestly I’m sick of it. It’s a constant back and forth of is she strong enough, is she feminine enough, is she too feminine, is she too pretty or too ugly. Can we just shut up and write already.
But there is one kind of female character I want to talk about. One that doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention (actually I think she gets none at all).
The mother. But more particularly, the mother who is in an abusive relationship or conflict within the family.
I am sick of the mother who puts up with and excuses her alcoholic/abusive husband (or grandfather or what have you), and who starts crying whenever a man starts yelling. Who let’s her husband abuse her children.
I’M SICK OF IT.
We talk all the time about kick*** ladies who are spies, scientists, and space aliens fighters.
But, oh! The mother who is married to an alcoholic husband??? She’ll just cry instead of doing anything. She’ll just constantly excuse her husband’s behavior.
Not only is that not kick***, but it’s unhealthy. I see/read this way to often. As in:
Tree of Life (what even was that movie)
Unbroken (Like where was his mother while he was hiding liquor under the bleachers??)
The Fool of New York City (Gah!! I feel guilty about this. It’s a great book and written by one of my favorite authors. But….the husband starts fighting with his father and the wife cries. Like. Why. Why are you crying, can you do something?????)
War Horse (WHY)
Just to name a few.
Remember It’s a Wonderful Life? Yeah, Mrs. George Bailey wasn’t putting up with his stuff, and that was in the 1940’s. She told him to get out. Then she called the cops and all his friends to make sure he was alright. She told the kids to start praying because their Daddy was in trouble. She never excused him or made it look like everything was OK.
October Sky? Another great example of a mother/wife. She never excused her husband’s behavior and threatened to move to Myrtle Beach.
(Now if it’s a historical story, you obviously can’t change it. If that’s how it went down, then that’s how it went down. I just really don’t want to hear about it.)
I’m not asking for women in stories to always handle these situations correctly. I’m just asking for something other than silence and crying. To just show some why of standing up and refusing to be passive in the face of abuse and dysfunction.
Like, there are so many other things she could do.
A: call the cops because her husband is beating up her kid.
B: gets in a knock-down drag-out.
C: Yell and fight along with everyone else.
D: Leaves town with kids.
E: Yells and goes to bed because she’s so done with it all.
Passiveness and weeping helps nobody. A knock-down drag-out probably won’t help anyone either, but at least it’s a sign that they don’t want to put up with it. If her husband comes home drunk every night and every night she puts him to bed, he ain’t never getting better. If she constantly stands by and cleans up the mess – she is just as much part of the problem as he is. It’s called enabling.
This was not supposed to be an Al-Anon meeting. Whoops.
So just…don’t push aside mothers so quickly and chop them off as the one female character that doesn’t have to be strong, especially in a situation where they really need to be. (I think the happens a lot too because the mother is often not the main character. But side characters matter just as much as main characters. Don’t forget that.)
Ok my rant is now over. Peace out.