Trinity Syndrome might be a cool-sounding term, but you’ll feel differently after you read editor and film critic Tasha Robinson’s article on why it’s ruining a lot of female characters in recent films.
Earlier this year, I also sounded off on the topic of what makes a strong female character. Many of Robinson’s points mirror mine, but she also fleshes out the topic with lots of examples from recent films. Perhaps the most troublesome examples are the ones from children’s films, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and The Lego Movie.
For my fellow writers, I think Robinson’s article is well worth a look, because she includes a list of questions to help catch if you’re short-changing your female character. Truthfully, it’s a good checklist to make sure any character serves a legitimate purpose to the plot of your story while remaining something more than rescue bait or some other stereotype.
“Strong Female Character” is just as often used derisively as descriptively, because it’s such a simplistic, low bar to vault, and it’s more a marketing term than a meaningful goal.
Robinson’s main gripe seems to focus more on when films try to pass off a female character as strong when she isn’t for the purpose of making a buck. Not every female character in a story is going to be strong. Not every male character is either. The point is that if you’re going to make that claim about a character, your story better prove it.
I will admit that I haven’t seen all of the films Robinson mentions, so I’m curious to read what the rest of you think. Are there any examples where she’s overreacting, or do you think she hits the mark?