Small Women

I’m finishing up the Divergent series (and, Veronica Roth, if you’re listening, I wish I were your friend!). (No, no hint about her being Lutheran.) I have very much enjoyed it. What strikes me for this post today is using small women as embodiments of power and strength. Maybe it’s a thing.


There are so many women’s issues. There is such complexity and so much cultural diversity orbiting women these days! We shouldn’t belittle the courage it takes to write from a woman’s point of view, even when it is a woman doing it.

I think using a small but fierce woman is a very effective part of characterization as literary devise (See cool list here.). It conjures a image of immense potential, whether it is hidden or not. And, I know small, strong women. They are as diverse as they come, affected by different temperaments, histories, etc., which means a wide variety of characters can still tap into the potential of a small strong female character.

Using physique as an element in fiction is only as limiting as our imaginations, as long as we don’t play into stereotypes. Including it as more than audience appeal and fictional eye candy really gives the author more to work with.

Small is not weak, but I wonder if it is a way to get toward weakness to address the complexities of vulnerability.

I wonder if small even draws upon a different part of our brain, somehow. Not that it is automatically a more nuancing word, but so much of the world plays on the larger-than-life that small can be a step back, a welcome change, a more inquisitive place. A literary tool playing off our need to establish the world of our piece, even if that is the real world.

For some, being small has negative connotations, but to my sister and whoever else may grumble about being on the small side, I salute you. I admire you, and I am thankful to God for you, whether or not your physique plays much of a role in your life. If it negatively impacts you, as Veronica Roth might say, “Be brave.” No matter what, I see you as full of potential!

Writers, embrace the small! 🙂 Even if that includes only having small amounts of writing time throughout your week. That’s where I am this week—limited computer access due to a home project!

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