A strong woman doesn't have to be a man. There is nothing wrong with a physically strong, more aggressive type of woman, but neither is there anything wrong with a gentle woman. This goes for men too, for strength does not mean lifting dumbbells and making witty comebacks and wisecracks.
There have been a lot of strong superwomen in movies coming out in America in the past few years. Wonder Woman, General Okoye of Wakanda in Black Panther, and Captain Marvel of the Avengers. You can also see a shift from the traditional "damsel in distress" trope to modern "strong, independent woman" theme in recent Disney movies such as Brave, Frozen, and Moanna. Some of these new movies pull off the new "strong, independent woman" trend well and some do not.
Don't get me wrong, I'm on board with the shift of storytelling away from helpless damsels in distress. As a human who lives through hardships and strives to rise to the challenges of life, I find the "damsel in distress" trope degrading and harmful. It implies that a woman in trouble just sits there doing nothing to better her own situation, which is not the case in the real world, and in any case, is a harmful mental module to follow.
So I understand why it's refreshing to see women who are the opposite of empty porcelain dolls. It feels empowering. But I would like to go a step further and see stories differentiate between physical strength and mental strength. And I would like to see that mental strength also involves not just fighting, but loving. The best of superheroes, the best of people, are not just the ones who can lift weights. They have something more. We saw this in Brave, when Merida (on top of being a badass archer) developed understanding for her mother and diplomacy skills to harmonize the feuding warlords. We saw this in Moanna, whose bravery in the face of self-doubt eventually allowed her to save her island. We saw this in Wonder Woman, whose strength was her compassion to help those who were suffering around her. Whereas in Black Panther, yes I know everyone loves it but to be honest General Okoye and her band of woman warriors was just another jump on the "strong independent woman" bandwagon that Hollywood has been taking lately. So is Captain Marvel in Avengers' Endgame, with her snobby "I can do it all by myself" attititude. There's a scene where Thor summons his hammer right next to her face and she doesn't flinch. Impressive, but that by itself is not enough to show strength.
What I want to see in future stories is a woman that has the feminine traits of being nurturing, emotional, and social and is still strong enough to defend herself and others. The new lazy version of the "strong, independent woman" is about being physically badass and not giving a rat's ass about what others think, but just as an ideal man doesn't just go around pumping his guns and ransacking the place, neither does the ideal woman. It's great to be able to fight, but true strength also involves knowing empathy and compassion. Let's make sure modern stories celebrate femininity instead of stamping it out.
P.S. My new Twitter account is up @dinhhoaitram, and I have added one shitty short story to my website as promised. What does one even do on Twitter?