There is a push to create strong female characters. This isn’t bad thing, but it needs to be done right. In my communication class, we talked about the fundamental differences between men and women. Not very surprising women communicated to build and strengthen relationships and men communicated to get something for themselves, not necessarily building this relationship.
I find this difference very important when creating plausible strong female characters.
There are many examples of strong females but many of them have one issue. They read as if they are a man. These women talk, walk, and treat others as if they were a man. Now if that’s what you want your character to be, then keep it up. But if you wanted a character that women would read as actually plausible then you need to reevaluate your character building.
If one of the fundamentals of female communication is to establish and strengthen relationships then you need to look at your dialogue. Make the dialogue of your female character read as if she is actually listening to the other person/people. She needs to respond in a way that is empathetic. This means she does not have to like the other characters but she needs to understand them in order to forge a relationship.
You can also play with this relationship building. Your female character may make an unlikely bond with a random stranger, then later on when she cannot go on on her own, this stranger can come back and help her. This does not mean she is being ‘saved’ by the stranger. Maybe the stranger just has a key to a door or knows the group that she needs to infiltrate and gets are a plausible disguise to get in.
A person, whether male or female, can still be strong by accepting help.
Look to the ancient myths if you don’t believe me. The heroes could not succeed without the help of female or animal helper. Hercules, Odysseus, Jason; they all needed a woman’s help to survive and complete their missions. So if the men have been accepting help for millennia, then the female character can accept help in the 21st century.