‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ Actress Wants You To Stop Calling Female Leads “Strong”

Thanks to her performance as Daenerys Targaryen in the HBO series Game of Thrones, actress Emilia Clarke has been offered a variety of badass female characters in the world of science fiction and fantasy, resulting in her character often being described with a specific word. Clarke recently explained how frustrating it can be to be asked what it’s like playing a “strong” woman, because the qualifying adjective implies that all other female characters that exist are inherently weak.

“‘How does it feel to play a strong woman?’ I’ll tell you how it feels to play a woman, the end. That’s it,” Clarke shared with Variety about the question she hates hearing. “Take the ‘strong’ out of there, find another adjective, dammit. I’m just playing women. If it’s not strong, what is it? You’re telling me that there’s another option? There’s a ‘weak’ option? You think a lead in a movie is going to be weak? It just doesn’t bear having the conversation, so enough already with the ‘strong women,’ please. Let’s just be ‘women.'”

The actress may have been frustrated with the term, though she understands that the world of sci-fi and fantasy doesn’t often afford women the same opportunities as men in terms of heroic abilities, yet offered alternatives of how to ask performers similar questions.

“Or, how does it feel to play a ‘female lead’ in a big blockbuster movie, or, how does it feel to play someone with power. I mean, the list goes on,” Clarke noted. “I get very frustrated with that, in particular, because you don’t get ‘strong men,’ unless you’re like, physically strong men. So unless I’m packing guns I don’t know about, let’s change that.”

Clarke plays Qi’Ra in Solo: A Star Wars Story, whose appearance in trailers has offered both a tough and glamorous vision of the character.

“Well, if you have got a really glamorous lady in a really sordid environment you kind of know that maybe the glamour is hiding a few rough roads,” Clarke pointed out to Entertainment Weekly.

Things aren’t all glitz and glamour for Qi’ra, Clarke promises, as she also makes good on the “femme fatale” persona that has previously been used to describe the character.

“I am never going to take a job that doesn’t tell that story, because I think it’s a very important narrative that we are telling all ages at all stages,” Clarke noted of her character’s tough exterior in some of the teaser’s sequences. “And whilst it is Han Solo’s movie, this girl gets to be badass. And strong. And has her own journey. Qi’ra’s journey is definitely one of survival and strength. The way that I felt about her was yeah this girl has got a core of steel.”

You can see Clarke in Solo: A Star Wars Story when it hits theaters on May 25th.

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[H/T Twitter, Variety]

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