And standing up for herself doesn’t translate into her being able to karate-kick ten bad guys while dodging bullets and walk away unscathed. Violence won’t make her strong. Nor does sex. A woman isn’t all about sex appeal, the style and cut of her clothes, or the shape of her anatomy. She doesn’t fall into bed at the snap of a man’s fingers.
A strong female character has her share of successes, failures, hopes, dreams and motivations. Have her overcome challenges, internal and external, and learn from them. Let her feel fear, terror, grief, and a love lost yet allow her to function without seeming paralyzed or pining away in solitude.
Flawed characters fascinate readers. They relate to them. Make your female character human. Give her a serious side and a lighter side. Make her real. Give her strengths and weaknesses, quirks, thoughts, and emotions. Let her make choices, big and small, right and wrong. Let her win some and lose some. Let her be herself.