Last month, my friends all talked about a feminist article entitled "I hate Strong Female Characters".
The title is a mite confusing, as "strong" refers to physical strength and not how well-developed a character is (which is what "strong character" means in writing circles). Sophia McDougall's main point is that movies today like to highlight the physical strength of female characters, in a misguided notion of feminism.
For example, let's look at the last three Disney heroines. Princess Merida in Brave was always advertised with her bow and arrow, looking like a dangerous hero even though she did little fighting in the movie. Sergeant Calhoun in Wreck-It Ralph was a woman with a tough attitude who shoots and punches (and kisses) first, asking questions later. Rapunzel in Tangled was the most competent fighter in the entire movie, with her frying pan that she used to keep Flynn Rider in line. There's certainly a pattern with females asserting themselves physically.
The author deplores this tendency, for several reasons. One, it's a double standard; if a male character asserted himself physically, (say Flynn knocked Rapunzel unconscious when they first met) he would be seen as abusive. Two, it puts female characters at the automatic disadvantage of having something to prove. Three, it's bad to define a female character with a traditionally masculine trait. Four, it's a double standard because all male characters are naturally assumed to be strong. Five, the strong female character is usually surrounded by an all-male cast, which only perpeutates the problem.
I'm pretty sure I missed a couple of reasons. She had a lot to say, mostly about movies I've never seen.
My (male) friend who recommended the article said that this problem has been caused, by abandoning traditional gender roles. When women are awkwardly placed into traditional male roles, it can result in humongous misfires, like the strong female characters mentioned in the article. My friend sometimes complains about the disasters which arise from the reverse situation: men who have been awkwardly placed into traditional female roles.
I feel like our modern world is still adjusting to changing gender roles. It's like people have one foot in the past and one foot in the future, and they're still not entirely sure where to stand.