I’m not sure when the term “strong female character” was coined and the subsequent debate over its meaning and usage began, but it feels like it was far too long ago for us to have progressed so little in this conversation.
For years, we’ve been arguing over this particular character description. And for years, we haven’t even been able to agree on what we mean when we use it. I’ve always been on the team that used it to mean a female character who is strongly written. In this way, a “strong female character” is a fully developed person, with their own motivations, not a catalyst for a male character’s actions. This character can exist in any genre, and their physical strength has nothing to do with it, nor do their flaws.