While I may not be making full-time living from my writing (yet), I’ve always known that writing was something I wanted to do. I knew, even as a kid (okay, maybe as an older teen) that getting published and writing as a full-time job wasn’t as easy as just spinning a few great yarns. A few years into actually being self-published, I realize it’s even harder than I’d thought—but it’s still worth it, and still something I plan to pursue for the rest of my life.
I have always had many varied interests in addition to writing, and so picking one thing to do as a “career” seemed kind of confining. For many years after I graduated college and had various jobs that didn’t relate at all to my English degree, I seriously contemplated a life and career path(s) other than that of writer. Right now my “job” is a vintage re-sale business, via Etsy and other venues.
So why did I pick “writer” anyway and decide to pursue that instead of some other viable career that might actually be somewhat stable and make me money?
This is the next post in my “strong female characters” series. Last week I covered the fantasy genre (technically YA fantasy, I suppose, because I wrote about Aravis from The Chronicles of Narnia.) This week I’ll switch to sci-fi, and I’m going to switch from books to TV. (I know, shame on me).
But even though I’m a lover of books and a writer of novels, TV shows and movies are great story-telling mediums, and highly important to our modern culture. How women are portrayed on the screen is perhaps even more important than how they’re portrayed in books, because that visual medium is more pervasive.
And again, true to my penchant for not covering the newest and hottest thing, I’ll be discussing a strong female character from an older TV show. And by “older” I mean the early 2000s. So, old but not that old.
Sam Carter from Stargate: SG-1
I’m not sure if I should preface her name with “Captain,” which was her rank at the beginning, or “Colonel,” her rank by the end of the 11 seasons she was on, or “Doctor” (as in Ph.D.) Samantha Carter is one of the four headlining characters of the interstellar travel team SG1; she and her compatriots (her commanding officer in the Air Force, a nerdy archeologist, and an alien warrior – all three men) travel around the galaxy fighting bad guy aliens and saving Earth repeatedly. Classic sci-fi premise.
Traditionally, science fiction is not always a genre in which women really take the forefront as complex and valuable characters (some notable exceptions are Princess Leia from Star Wars, and Lt. Uhura from classic Star Trek). Those women are the exception rather than the rule; many women in sci-fi (if they’re even in the story at all) wind up being either the “hot space babe” or the “tough chick with the ray gun.”
Samantha Carter is neither of these. So what are some of the elements that go into making Sam a strong female character? Continue reading