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Shaz Kahng Delivers A New Kind Of Female Hero In “The Closer”

Female Stereotypes: Yeah, They’re Still Going Strong

While all of this is going on, Vivien is also dealing with some inevitable fallout from moving cross country from her former consulting job in Manhattan to her position with Smart Sports in Portland, Ore. Her fiancé’s still working in New York, as are all of her Ceiling Smashers friends. Her father’s back east as well, and though her friends and family are available via phone and email, Vivien’s support system looks and feels different. When personal tragedies befall Vivien after her first year at Smart Sports, she finds that the qualities most important to success in business are the same that help her rebuild her life outside of work. In the moments when a reader might expect Vivien to break down, she shows strength. Shaz’s creation of Vivien as a strong character capable of weathering brutal situations speaks volumes—not just about the person she’s loosely based on, but also about the deeply ingrained stereotypes that persist today, both in fictional constructs of female characters and real women.

“I wanted to show women in a different dimension,” Shaz explained. “I had a lot of literary agents who asked for the manuscript, and then they said, ‘Can you change the main character to a man?’ I was like, ‘No–that’s missing the whole point.’ They said, ‘Well, can you make her desperate to get married? Can you make her obsessed with shoes?’ I said, ‘Well, I think all those themes have been written about already.’ The whole purpose of this book was to offer something different. Some of the agents said, ‘People like reading the same types of characters. They may not be ready for something this different.’ My instinct was that this is something women are starved for. They’re looking for characters they can look up to.” Amen!

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