Terry Dresbach

Outlander Costume Designer

Reply To: On the TV portrayal of the "Strong Woman"


I’m going to run out of cheese soon. I’d like to take Maggie’s excellent list and break it down for Claire.

1. Female
Well, yes, I agree all appearances point to her being a member of this gender.

2. Doesn’t wait for the boys to fix it.
I’m torn on this one for Claire. It bothered me in the book that Jamie had to rescue her from BJR because I hate when a woman needs a big strong man to rescue her. I want her to have more agency here, and I feel that TV!Claire is more wussy than Book!Claire. She’s more weepy and less sassy in that final scene in Episode 8. She also needed Dougal to get her away from BJR in Episode 6. Then again, I know there are big things to come so I’ll reserve final judgement until the end of the season.

3. Gets shit done, whether it’s housework, trying a criminal case or kicking alien butt
I’d say yes, because she took charge of the “possessed boy” plot in Episode 3, and she makes the effort to get back to her own time in Episode 8. I think it’s hard to kick alien butt when you’re wearing 18 pounds of clothing. Also, there’s a distinct lack of aliens.

4. Owns her sexuality and does not try to hide it to make others feel comfortable
A resounding YES, thank you. That sexuality is all hers.

5. Has some sass. Not required but it’s a definite plus.
She does, especially with Dougal. I love her scenes with Dougal.

So for Claire, I give her a 4 out of 5 on the Maggie Scale of Strong Female Lead(TM). That being said, there’s a part of me that wants her to be even stronger. All that sass she shows Dougal, I want her to show BJR. I want her to be as pragmatically angered and active about a situation as she was in Episode 3 and not simply running off her mouth as she was in Rent. I don’t want her to be perfect, because I can’t identify with perfect. Just a big stronger, just a bit more pragmatic, just a bit more like Book!Claire.