Top Ten List of World Class Heroines (In Literature/ Entertainment)
Those of you who know me are aware that I have an aversion to weak female leads. I like women who stand up to adversity, who are quick on their feet, and who are strong role models. I could go on forever about all the Mary Sues in our media, but I believe in putting positive energy out into the world, so here’s a list of some of my favorite female role models in popular culture. (Note: no offence to any actual persons named Mary, or Sue, we’re talking about the meme.)
10: Lady Gaga. Let’s just get all the pop stars out of the way in one lump sum. With the current trends in music, such as Nicki’s travesty of a video that set women’s rights back about a decade, the pickings are slim. What was that horrid thing—that can never be unseen—even called? Jiggelz? Arse-pudding? I struggle to recall anything beyond undulating flesh. Anyhoo, I’ll put Lady Gaga on the list since she’s brave enough to wear suits of pastrami and take a stance on social issues. Honorable mentions for this position go to Tegan and Sara, and Brandi Carlile, for keeping it both soulful AND classy.
9: Sailor Uranus: Gender-bending, sporty and tough! In the Japanese version, she’s written as a lesbian. Which is potentially misogynistic for the presumption that she must be a lesbian to like “manly” pursuits like driving and sports, as well as embracing of diversity for being an openly gay character.
8: Elsa, princess of Arendelle. She defends her family and learns how to harness a devastating power within herself. Not too shabby for a Disney Princess.
7: Regina, Evil Queen/ reformed villain. I have a soft spot for characters that evolve into their heroism. In Regina’s case, the love of her child—not even one of her own blood—transformed her into a person that does the right thing. Most of the time. She WAS an Evil Queen, after all. I doubt her edge will ever be dulled.
6: Daenerys Targaryen. She grows from a sold-off-woman into a powerful queen. Her ruthlessness, come certain points, isn’t admirable, so she only lands at #6.
5: Pam, vampire sass-queen of True Blood. I definitely admire the life that Kristen Bauer gave the character in the transition from book to screen. At times her acerbity can wear one’s patience a little thin, but in the last few seasons of the show (as the quality of the script nosedived, in my opinion) her characterization flourished. We saw that Pam had a human heart under all that cynicism. And damn, did she ever have all the good lines!
4: Lady Mary. I think most of Lady Mary’s appeal can be attributed to the actress that plays her, Michelle Dockery. Otherwise an opinionated, scandalous aristocrat could come off as entirely alien and cold. But there’s a warmth to Lady Mary, and a great deal of growth, too, that she experiences after the birth of her child and the loss of her husband. I think that growth is essential to heroism. The capacity for change. Lady Mary demonstrates that in spades with her impressive character arc.
3: Hermione Granger. Smart, humble, pretty—but not vain. Also worth noting is that Emma began the #HeForShe campaign, which is brilliant. Men need to engage themselves in fighting sexism.
2: Xena, Warrior Princess. She’s kicked every arse that needs kicking and then some. She’s plain awesome.
1: Morigan Lostarot. Omg, he didn’t! I did. I plugged my own novel. But hear me out as to why Morigan is so great. Like many heroines, she has a rather unsavory fate thrust upon her, and while she has moments of weakness, she never truly pines or whines. She keeps moving ahead; challenging fate, challenging a demented and dark King. She even finds epic love. Not that she needs a man’s devotion to fulfill herself, only to compliment her. She is independent, resourceful, and has a blend of courage and cautious wisdom. I’m interested to hear what you think about Morigan and the other heroines in Feast of Fates. There are several heroines, and some rather menacing women, too. I promise to surprise and delight you with each.
All the best,