Emilia Clarke is tired of hearing female leads called “strong”


Game of Thrones and Solo: A Star Wars Story actor Emilia Clarke is really tired of hearing female characters in movies described as “strong.”

Emilia Clarke was interviewed at Cannes Film Festival on Tuesday as part of the Kering Women in Motion talks and expressed exasperation with the trend of calling female characters “strong.”

Clarke would know, having played a number of characters in television and movies that the press often defines as “strong female characters.” She famously plays Mother of Dragons Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones and she’s been Sarah Connor in Terminator Genisys. She plays Qi’ra in the upcoming Solo: A Star Wars Story.

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Her argument is that, not only is it lazy journalism to refer to every female lead as “strong” but it’s also kind of sexist. You would never refer to a male lead as being as “strong male character” as opposed to any other kind of male character. So why make that distinction in the case of a female lead?

And of course, for a time it was nice to see that descriptor used for female lead films and television because it felt like a new genre made to empower women – there’s even a category on Netflix titled “strong female leads.” It made women feel like they could be strong and represented as being strong, but really it lacks a certain depth and complexity.

Clarke suggests that we need to reframe the question, be more specific about the use of power within the movie. “What does it feel like to play someone with power?” or “How does it feel to play a female lead in a big blockbuster movie?”

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Or else we need to start asking men what its like to play strong male characters. “Take the ‘strong’ out of it, find another adjective, damn it,” Clarke said. “I’m just playing women.”

Source: Variety