One of the reasons I love being a geek is that in comics and sci-fi shows and all throughout Joss Whedon’s work, there are plenty of strong female role models for young girls and boys to look up to. Unlike Barbie, they aren’t perfect, but they are a strong and diverse bunch who definitely deserve recognition.
Barbara Gordon- The girl has no super powers, and as Commissioner Gordon’s daughter it might have been easy for her to be overshadowed by the men of Gotham, but Barbara was having none of that. After finding out that Bruce Wayne was Batman, she confronted him and told him she wanted to be like him. Thus Batgirl was born. Later on, after being shot by Joker and paralyzed she became Oracle, formed her own team called Birds of Prey (an all woman team, I might add) because her work with Batman wasn’t enough. This girl had all sorts of hell thrown at her, from the loss of her mother to her own paralysis and she never let it stop her. Not to mention, in an alternate universe where she was not paralyzed, she took over her father’s position as Commissioner.
Bellatrix Lestrange- Strong and insane, Bellatrix was one of the most hated villains of the Harry potter series, and I know there will be questions as to why she is here and Hermione Granger, or Minerva McGonagall, or even Nymphadora Tonks are not on this list. Well, while all three of those women do deserve their own credits, they get them…a lot. There are countless groups and blog posts and even articles expressing adoration for those wonderful and strong ladies, but just because she’s insane and evil does not mean Bellatrix does not deserve accolades of her own. This woman was so strong two people at once had to take her on before Molly took her down. She was fiercely loyal (granted, it was to a sociopath, but loyalty is loyalty none-the-less). She was one of the only Death Eaters to flat out claim the title, knowing full well it could have gotten her a one way ticket to the a make out session with some Dementors. Bellatrix married purely because it was her family’s wish and it was the right thing to do in Pureblood Wizarding society, but when her husband died she hardly batted an eye, earning herself the spot of right hand to big baddy himself.
Gwen Stacy *this section might contain spoilers*- Another lady from the comic book world who doesn’t actually possess powers, but stands out all on her own. Now, as the first love of Peter Parker, Gwen could have become nothing more than eye candy and a love interest to fill space, but she surpassed all of that with her immense genius. Her brain was truly a force to be reckoned with, something Peter found he could not outwit at times. at the time of her death, she had been well on her way to becoming a scientist. She was loyal, kind and intelligent and has always been one of my favorite women in comics.
Harley Quinn- Another bad girl who is oh so good at what she does. Let us never forget the woman used to be a therapist. She met the Joker while trying to help him deal with his issues, but his mind was fascinating in a twisted sort way and she fell in love with him, growing to share his crazed outlook on the world. You might ask how this makes her strong, well, the woman has caused more death and destruction than any other fictional female I know, and she does it all with a smile on her face and her man at her side.
Lara Croft- Now, this woman might come under scrutiny from other ladies, for being ridiculously curvaceous and running around in skin-tight pants and crop tops, but lets take a moment to truly understand what Lara does. The woman has several video games and two movies! She is strong, need no man to tie her down, is an exceptionally talented fighter and does it all without messing up that braid. Alright, so she’s obviously created with looks to reel in the horny teenage boys, but come on, that’s marketing. More importantly, she’s her own woman, and there are women out there who are strong and happen to also have big boobs, so it’s not completely unrealistic. i mean, should they not be represented just because horny teens will ogle a video game girl with the same build?
Princess Leia- She will always have a special place in my heart. She was one of the first strong female characters I ever watched. The kind of princess that made me finally believe I could be a princess. I mean, sure Mulan technically was called a princess by Disney later, but the girl was no royal. There was also Belle, but she was a kind and polite and I was clumsy and rough. Then I saw Leia…the type of girl I wanted to be, tough, a bit crass, no time for politics and no time to sit around waiting to be rescued. She was sassy, she was strong, she was…a princess, my kind of princess who took no crap from scruffy looking nerf herders and was always willing to take up arms and fight alongside the soldiers risking their lives for her.
Regina the Evil Queen- She’s a newer woman to look up to. This not so evil Queen took power where none was given, she cursed a land to get revenge, she fought hard and did bad things to protect her son. She is a wonderful example of someone who is neither hero nor villain. She lost the love her life and swore revenge, she took over a kingdom, and when that wasn’t revenge enough she threw everyone into a new world and took over that too. When none of that gave her what she wanted, she tried being a better person…she’s fought heroes and villains alike and all the while she struggles against her own inner demons. The woman is strong in more ways than one.
Xena- I could hardly have this list without her. The Amazon woman is as much a symbol of strong females as Wonder Woman is. One reason I loved her so much was even her sidekick was female. I mean technically she was her friend, and I’ve heard questions that people thought possible lover as well, but you all know what I mean. The best part about this warrior woman was that she was on a quest for redemption, saving people who needed saving and fighting for those who could not fight for themselves, trying to make amends for her past sins tormenting people just like those she was fighting for during the show. she was honest and struggled to figure out just what the ‘greater good” was, and that’s why she deserves praise.
Zoe Washburne- She was married, and the right hand to a male captain, but I think anyone who’s ever seen Firefly knows she was the real brains of all operations. Her opinion was valued highly by her captain, and she was the muscle in her marriage. She was sassy, sarcastic, kind and blunt, and is to date one of my all time favorite characters. She was a soldier and an outlaw, a friend and lover. She was the most well-rounded female character I’ve seen in a while. A fully realized look at what it truly means to be a woman. Zoe was a character I could look up to for more than one reason. She was the kind of woman I would love to be, and she looked like me, which helped my young mind truly see her as someone I could hope to become.
The best thing about the women of geek culture is they are all so different, there is someone for every girl to look up to. There is hardly a one of them who is useless or weak and they show girls that they can be strong and kind, that they can be the hero of their own stories.