It’s International Women’s Day, and to celebrate I thought I would share my favorite female characters, smart, strong, and independent women!
1) Buffy Summers – She may be the Slayer, but at her heart, Buffy is a woman who does what she does because it’s the right thing to do. She has a number of setbacks in her struggles, her boyfriend becoming pure evil, the death of her mother, an annoying little sister, and her own death, Buffy always came back stronger. Picking herself up, she stubbornly plows on regardless of personal cost. She can rely on her friends, but in the end, she knows it’s all on her. And consequently, she saves the world. A lot.
Now one could make this argument for almost every female character in the Whedon-verse. They are all strong, independent, and amazing. However, I figure as Buffy was the pro-genitor of them all, I thought she could serve as an umbrella under which we would find all the wonderful people who populate that universe.
She was pushed to her limit in Alien, when she’s confronted by a creature she didn’t even know existed, and not to mention a menacing android.
Then in Aliens, she decides to confront her fears and travels with a bunch of colonial marines to take them on, reawakening her maternal instincts in saving Newt. so the final battle becomes Mother vs Mother. (and I can’t recommend the directors cut of this film enough, as it illustrates her journey even better. And did you know Sigourney was nominated for an Oscar for her performance, a first for a genre film!)
And sure the other two movies exist, but the best examples of her character exist in the first two films.
She’s awesome, no-nonsense, and you really don’t want to end up on her bad side.
3) Sarah Connor – In the first Terminator film, Sarah Connor can be seen as an everywoman, she works a job, has a bit of a life, has a roommate, and a pet iguana. Then two beings from the future travel back in time to find her. One to kill her, one to try and save her, and her yet to be conceived son.
Towards the end of the first film, Sarah is already beginning to forge herself into a fighter, a survivor.
Then in the second film, not only is she a hardened fighter, but she’s actually in a mental institution because she won’t let go of her belief that terminators exist, and that they tried to kill her and her unborn child.
This time when two more terminators show up, Sarah is ready, willing and able to lead the fight until her son is ready to take over the reins and become “some great world leader.”
The character arc that you can trace through both films forms a picture of a woman who didn’t know what she could become, and the resolve with which she takes on that role.
4) Clarice Starling – The very obvious fore-runner to Dana Scully, Clarice was bold enough, and clever enough to match wits against Buffalo Bill, with the guidance and help of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, despite allowing him profile her as well.
Clarice has a strong code of ethics, as well as a strong sense of right and wrong. She’s also well aware that she is working in a “man’s world.”
But knowing this, she uses her intelligence to get what she wants.
Culminating in a climax that sees her literally blind seeking a serial killer, Clarice embraces her fear, in her desire to do right and to save an innocent.
Sure there was a sequel (the book was better) but Foster’s portrayal of Starling is the one to watch.
5) Lisbeth Salander – From the best-selling novels, and amazing Swedish films comprising the Millenium Trilogy (and a very good, if wholly unneeded remake) Lisbeth Salander is anti-social, untrusting, and a very rigid code of ethics. You do not want to cross her, or be perceived of any wrong-doings, because she will make sure you will pay.
She takes what she wants, information, sex, what have you, and is super-intelligent.
In the first film/book, she’s the one who saves the day, saving Mikeal, from a horrific death.
Later in the series, she deals out justified vengeance to her father and even when’s laid up in a hospital bed, she doesn’t let that stop her.
As stated she doesn’t get along with everyone, and admittedly has some issues, but she’s still an amazingly strong and independent woman. As are all those I’ve listed.
And there’s a few honorable mentions as well – Aeryn Sun, Samantha Carter, Dana Scully, Captain Janeway, Joan Wilder, and like I said, almost every female character in the Whedon-verse, but I figured I would try to cull my characters from all over.
How about you? Who are your favorite strong female characters?