While it is 2017 and women and men are supposed to be considered equal, they still are not always portrayed that way. This unequal portrayal of men and women in all mediums of stories leavesmany people wanting a strong female character focused upon herself and other issues aside from a love interest.
“Literary girls don’t take road-trips to find themselves; they take trips to find men.” This idea that women’s stories tend to always revolve around men is not only prevalent in history but also still very clear in our society today.
Let’s really think about it. How many movies, television shows, or stories in general can you think of where a love interest, especially with a man, is not one of the main focuses of the female main character’s story? Probably not that many. What’s your favorite TV show or movie or novel with a female lead. Does she avoid the plotline of finding love or is it a significant part of her story?
In the novel Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera, the female main character Makina focuses on the finding of her brother across the border without also having a storyline based in love and finding a man. In doing so, the author creates the female main character feminists have been waiting for.
Makina is a very strong and independent character who bravely crosses the border to find her brother without relying on anybody else. She never says that she wishes she had someone there to protect her or to be there with her by her side but rather takes on the challenge feeling completely confident in her ability to get it done. However, Herrera avoided making a character who, without the love interest loses the quality of being a feminine and sexual. Makina is portrayed as a sexual character in multiple scenes like when she is describing her relationship with her non-boyfriend. She says how, rather than “defining” and creating a relationship with the man, she cares more about the fact that “every weekend they’d shuck” (Herrera, 28). Their relationship is by no means a main focus in the story and is only briefly mentioned but illustrates Makina’s sexual desires as a woman and a human being.
Without this romantic relationship to soften the female character, it can leave many readers and viewers with the feeling that the character is very unfeeling. Herrera easily maneuvers past this obstacle as the taskher character Makina is undertaking is to find her lost brother who she and her mother miss. This creates a character who is already one who feels and has feelings for her family and loved ones.
Can you think of other female characters like Makina who have remained strong and independent without the romantic story line but still remains feminine and human?
Book: Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera