Dear (Usually Male) Author:
I appreciate that you are deciding to have ‘strong’ fictional heroines in your book(s). It’s nice to see that the day isn’t always saved by Conan or Hercules or another male person. Not that male persons aren’t wonderful, and not that I wouldn’t welcome one of them saving my world were it in jeopardy from whatever dark forces usually jeopardise places in books. But as a woman it’s really neat to feel like we aren’t just watching the story from the sidelines.
But there is a bit of a new convention I see you all adopting and I find it disturbing, to say the least. Your strong female heroines seem to be princessess or daughters of lords–ladies with genteel breeding and a pampered early life. Yet you always seem to have them running off from their How To Be A Lady lessons to climb trees, fight with swords and engage in other ‘atypical’ behaviour outside the gender norms.
In short, it’s okay for your stories to have a woman in power or empowered…if she acts like a man. Just once I’d like to see the princess or lord’s daughter become a great warrior or leader even while she enjoys her sewing, dancing and deportment lessons. I say this as a woman who likes non-gendernorming activities such as computer programming, shooting, archery (summer camp) and politics but who also enjoys sewing and knowing how to set a proper formal dinner table. I could kill a traitor with a fish fork or a knitting needle.
I’m sure there must be books out there where this sort of thing happens. I guess I just haven’t gotten there yet. But it sure seems like your books are easier to find.