I've been thinking a lot about my screenplay and fully realized female characters in both literature and movies. Has anyone else noticed that women characters, once they reach a certain self-realization, have to be punished? Thelma & Louise springs to mind (although I have spoken with Callie Khouri and it wasn't her intention to make a statement, she was just trying to make a Butch & Sundance for women) - intended or not, the ending goes right along with Anna Karenina throwing herself under a train, Holly Hunter's character in The Piano losing a finger, Million Dollar Baby losing her ability to fight and then her life (sorry if you haven't seen it and I just spoiled it for you). The thing is, often in literature and certainly in the movies, once a woman becomes mentally, emotionally, physically (sexually) realized, they off her or punish her in some way. An exception to this and one of my favorite plays in college, although at the time, I didn't know why, was A Doll's House because Nora finally sees her way clear and decides to stand on her own. Of course, she has to give up her children to do it so perhaps there is punishment there as well.
Anyway, I am struggling with female characters and against the conditioning that there are consequences to being a strong female. Does anyone else have thoughts on this? Understand that I grew up before and after the women's movement (ah, yes, another hint at my age) and struggle with whether or not I am too reactive to certain stimuli. Would love to hear your comments.