The only way to respond when someone asks you “why do you write strong female characters.”
The last one.
On the one hand, I agree with a lot of the sentiment here, but on the other hand, I’m kind of skeeved out by, like, Quinten Tarantino saying “I just dig strong chicks” or “The stronger the woman, the better for me,” because that implies that unless your female character is Strong she is invalid as a person, which I don’t like.
Characters should be full and complex, which I think is what was intended by the moniker “strong female character,” i.e., “this is a well-rounded character who happens to be female,” but over time I think it’s been taken to mean, like, the Black Widows and the Katniss Everdeens of fiction, women who kick ass. And I like women who kick ass! I like women who can be the hero for once, because far too often that’s not the case.
But in the same breath I think only seeing female characters in that model is reductive. Women are people, and people are complex and many-faceted. There is room in fiction for well-rounded women who shriek at the sight of blood, because sometimes that’s what people do. There is room in fiction for well-rounded women who like to bake, who are damsels in distress. Strong should not mean physically strong, strong should mean the character has a presence on the screen, on the page, on the stage, wherever the hell you’re encountering her.