Monday, June 23, 2014

Strong People

I heard about lots/tons/gazillions of cool things while Beyond The Trope hung out at Denver Comic Con (DCC). I met artists who made beard-printed t-shirts. I talked to writers who crafted some of pop culture's most-loved icons. I hung out with LeVar Burton (sorry, I had to throw that in there).

But a week has gone by and now I’m left with a handful of only the most intense moments. Watching a room fill up with 800 people before I grab a microphone. Interviewing the creator of one of my favorite childhood TV series. Giggling at kids dressed as Daleks trailing their Thor and Catwoman parents.

And then there was the moment we got to chill with Ellie Ann. She was one of the first people to agree to interview with us, weeks before DCC was even upon us. Mom of three, editor, writer, producer. Her About page is a treasure-trove of awesomeness.
We share a love of fairy tales and slipping zombies into regular conversation. Her dentist and her bff made it on her website with quotes of praise. She has blue streaks in her hair, smiles a lot, and is insanely easy to interview.

One of the most impactful things she said was during the Strong Female Characters panel, not during the interview you’ll hear tomorrow. Imagine a stage packed with writers describing how they write strong women into their books. Confidence, growth, decisions that matter – the list of “strong” qualities quickly added up. And then Ellie grabbed the mic and just said, “The same as a strong man.”

I loved the reaction of the room. That “Oh, my gosh, she is so right” hush was fantastic. But most of all I loved how she said those words. I’ve always wanted to create “strong women – the damsels who don’t need saving. But now I have an even better way to describe how characters should be written: As strong people.

Thanks, Ellie, for putting words to a fact that has eluded so many people in the industry. Listeners, make sure you download her interview – it's totally worth it. 

There’s a reason Michelle chose the non-distressed damsel for her BTT avatar. She loves twisting fairy tale tropes into knots and giggling at them. You can find her here on Mondays.

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