View Full Version : Writing black heroines

Tyrannosaurus Rex
08-21-2012, 07:39 AM
I've always found black female protagonists especially attractive and interesting, right down to the point where I almost always play a black woman in any computer game that allow you to customize your character's appearance (in real life I am a straight white guy). However, I find writing these heroines much more difficult than it should be. My problem almost certainly lies in the temptation to idealize my black heroines to counter the anti-black female stereotypes which anger me so much. I strongly believe we need more strong and beautiful heroines of color in popular media, but on the other hand I don't want that desire to interfere with my characterization.

One thing I have found though is that writing black women becomes easier when you have more than one prominent black female character, probably because you don't have to worry about making one token black woman an idealized representative for black women writ large.

On a semi-unrelated note, since my preferred genre is action-packed fantasy, most of my heroines are warriors, especially agile martial artist types. Unfortunately it seems like most warrior women in African history were queens or other political leaders rather than common soldiers, with the major exceptions being the legendary Amazons of Dahomey, and even they were associated with royalty in the sense of being "married" to the king. Does anyone know of other African societies with regular female warriors?

EDIT: NM, I think I found a way to make a female warrior work.

08-21-2012, 09:19 PM
If you idealize a character, black or white, they'll not be interesting, which kind of sinks your aim. Just give black characters the same kind of thought you would for a white one. Don't make their being black the main thing about them and you should be on the right path.