I Am A Strong Independent Woman And The Gays Love Me. But Why?

Latest posts by Daniel Browne (see all)

Kathryn Janeway

Interesting question, don’t you think? Without wanting to generalise ‘the gays’, it’s true to say that many of us love strong independent women, whether they be television characters or real life people. Why though?

Personally I love strong female characters. Part of me may harbour a desire to be one of the characters that I cherish so greatly, but it’s much more about the personality, the feistiness, and what the person stands for that leaves me in total admiration.

As my bio says, I’m a massive fan of Star Trek. I watch the show at any opportunity despite having seen every episode many times over. If I was to go on Mastermind my specialist subject would be Star Trek. I know, I know, what a geek. This Trekker is happy to be a geek though. It’s a more acceptable label than any other tag people may want to stick on me. Getting back to Star Trek, one of the reasons I love the show in each of its incarnations is due to the strong female characters it has in it. Whether it be Tasha Yar, the fearless security officer on board the Starship Enterprise, no nonsense Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation Starship Voyager or the wonderfully vile Duras sisters, Lursa and B’Etor, the show has a long list of strong female personalities that don’t take any crap from people. It’s a trait I admire and wish I could apply to myself a bit more. So perhaps it’s not that I actually want to be that person; it’s that I would like to apply some of their personality traits to my own. Unless of course it’s Seven of Nine.

Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 01 (or simply Seven of Nine as she’s known) is a wonderful creature. Liberated from the Borg collective by the crew of Voyager, she embarked a journey to discover her humanity and adapt to life as an individual. Seven of Nine retained some Borg traits though, which made her a fascinating character to see portrayed on television. She was completely no nonsense, didn’t compromise and rarely showed any emotion. She is possibly the greatest female television character in history (in my opinion anyway). Sometimes I wish I could be so blunt and to the point with people, without coming across like a complete bitch of course. I know, it’s not happening. I’d also like to be able to pull off wearing one of her eye catching, figure hugging catsuits. Again, I know, it’s not happening. The world isn’t ready for my jelly. Not in a skin tight catsuit anyway.

Getting back to the point of this piece, another television character I adore is Peggy Mitchell from Eastenders. Feisty, no nonsense (a common theme emerging here), but with a vulnerable side, she made for great viewing. With her catchphrase “get outta my pub!” being legendary, I’d quite like to become landlord of a pub just so I can shout that at people.

Bringing focus to people in the real world, one person who many gay people absolutely love is one that puzzles me as well. Her name is Ann Widdecombe. I must admit that I am weirdly a fan too, despite knowing that she’s actually against the progression of gay rights. She has been particularly vocal on the issue of equal marriage, speaking out against it on many occasions. She has spoken in support of ‘gay cure’ therapy, which as a rational human being, a gay man and a therapist really quite angers me, and is guilty of general scaremongering when it comes to gay rights issues. It is perhaps controversial but nevertheless true to say that Ann Widdecombe expressing homophobic views is as predictable as a paedophile priest. But what amazes me the most about old Widdy is the fact that she has somehow managed to become some kind of gay icon, which is quite paradoxical. It’s the appearance on Strictly Come Dancing that did it. Being “dragged around like a household appliance” made fantastic television. But it’s also her attitude that warms people to her. Ann Widdecombe does not take any rubbish and is very blunt. I remember seeing her on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories where she was tough throughout and didn’t answer any question she wasn’t comfortable with. She can handle herself and the word formidable can easily be applied to her. Part of me can’t help but admire her for that and I think that’s what endears many gay people to her, despite being an opponent to equal rights for homosexuals.

So I think the reason that so many gay men adore strong, independent women, is because they love the traits that these people have. The no nonsense attitude, not giving a damn about what people think, the sometimes fragile and vulnerable aspects, but strength above all else. It’s that strength that so many of us have wished we had at times. That’s what I think anyway. It’s certainly true in my case.