The representation of women in thriller novels has been quite improving over the years. This is in comparison to the old face of thrillers that was entirely masculine, full of machismo and violence against female characters. Women, by then, remained voiceless. They were the mere casualties of a war fought by men against other men. This ultimately makes old thrillers less substantial, as they consisted of monotonous stories told entirely from the point of view of men.
Fortunately, today, thrillers are increasingly becoming representative of the female gender. This representation can be seen in Books 1 and 2 of The Jungle Rules Trilogy. Although they focus on the actions of men fighting other men, these thriller novels feature strong female characters in the names of Gabriele Bach, Julia Mendoza, and Susan MacKenzie. They play major roles that drive narratives and make stories more diverse, interesting, and substantial. These women are the epitome of why strong female characters are necessary for thrillers.
Majority of thriller readers are women
Women read crime novels twice as much as men. Many studies have already proven this claim. In 2010, for example, results from a Harris Poll discovered that women read thrillers at a rate of 57 percent, much higher compared to 39 percent by men. In the same year, A Sisters in Crime survey, on the other hand, found out that women made up about 68 percent of people who read crime novels. Similarly, when it comes to crime writing workshops, women also dominate the scene, comprising a staggering 80 percent of the people who sign up for them. Regardless of the figures, one thing is for sure, the thriller genre is bustling because of women.
The reason behind the seeming fondness of thrillers by women largely lies in the assumption that women’s brains are more accustomed to the kind of mental activity facilitated by the genre. Often, crime novels keep the minds of their readers sharp by their unpredictable plot twists, dramatic U-turns, and unveiling puzzles. According to a study, women are more inclined to this sense of mental gymnastics compared to men, as they are more puzzle fanatics who love to act as detectives solving problems and piecing puzzles together.
Female characters put more substance on thrillers
Compared to the often-monotonous storylines of androcentric crime novels, thrillers with strong female characters are more interesting and substantial. They add rousing flavors to thriller novels by taking account of the female experience. This consequently ensures that diversity of viewpoints is involved in storytelling.
In androcentric thrillers, stories often revolve around the heroism of a man whose main task is to solve a problem set against him. Indeed, pure detective stories bombarded the thriller genre at its old phase. It was perfused by the male viewpoint that commonly resonated machismo and chauvinism. Essentially, there is nothing wrong with emphasizing the male viewpoint in crime novels. However, sometimes, by leaning too much towards the male experience and nothing else, stories become repetitive and plain boring. In The Jungle Rules Trilogy, strong female characters have prominent roles to avoid such monotony. Gabriele Bach, Julia Mendoza, and Susan Mackenzie are each given the opportunity to represent the female experience, which makes the novels more diverse, appealing, and thought-provoking.
Strong female characters change the face of thrillers
Apart from making crime novels monotonous, androcentrism in the thriller genre tends to prejudice against the opposite gender. Generally, the male viewpoint in old crime novels tended to treat female characters as mere ornaments, damsels in distress, and sometimes, femme fatales. More so, they were the common subjects of violence, victimized by all sorts of crimes like torture, murder, and rape. As a consequence, women were portrayed to be weak, incapable, and seductive.
By allocating major roles to women, however, crime novels veered away from its misogynist tendencies. Strong female characters changed the face of crime fiction. It no longer hinges on the superiority complex of the male viewpoint that regard women as inferiors. Certainly, thrillers with strong female characters put the female gender on a pedestal. Women are no longer sidetracked in their favored genre. They are no longer just the casualties, but the belligerents. Ultimately, they already have the voice to tell their stories.