Examples of strong female characters in geek culture
(In some cases, "allegedly" strong female characters -- see criticisms below.)
- Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie and television series created by Joss Whedon)
- Zoe Washburne (Firefly television series and Serenity movie created by Joss Whedon)
- Starbuck (new Battlestar Galactica television series)
- Ellen Ripley (Aliens movie franchise)
- Sarah Connor (Terminator movie franchise and The Sarah Connor Chronicles television series)
- Xena ("Xena" Warrior Princess television series)
- Olivia Dunham (Fringe television series)
- Aeryn Sun (Farscape television series)
- Lara Croft (Tomb Raider computer games and movie franchise)
- YT (Snow Crash novel by Neal Stephenson)
- Esmerelda "Granny" Weatherwax (various Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett)
- Tiffany Aching (various Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett)
- Tanya (Command and Conquer: Red Alert game series)
- The Star Trek page contains an incomplete list of female characters throughout the franchise.
- Fiona (Burn notice television series)
- Vin (Mistborn novels by Brandon Sanderson)
- Samus Aran (Metroid video game series)
- Beth Tezuka (Bravest Warriors webseries created by Pendleton Ward)
- Aeon Flux (Aeon Flux)
- Tetra (alter ego of Princess Zelda, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker)
- Reika Kitami (Bible Black)
- Kidd Summers (Pokemon: Lucario And The Mystery Of Mew)
- Latias (Pokemon: Heroes The Movie)
- Zorark (It is heavily hinted that the Zorark in Pokemon: Zoroark Master Of Illusions, is Female, or at least plays a mother role)
- Donna Noble (Doctor Who)
- Sarah Jane Smith (Doctor Who)
- River Song (Doctor Who)
- Kahlan Amnell (Sword of Truth books by Terry Goodkind)
- Eve Dallas (In Death series by Nora Roberts)
- Susan Ivanova (Babylon 5)
- Lyta Alexander (Babylon 5)
- Lagertha (Vikings television series)
A common criticism is that (allegedly) strong female characters are one-dimensional.
Oft-cited problems with individual strong female characters include:
- her strength is in martial arts, but she has no strength of character
- she still has to conform to gender-normative standards of attractiveness
- she will wear skimpy or fetishistic gear to fight in
- she will be strong right up until she can't deal with something and has to be saved by a man
- her strength is diminished when she gets interested in a member of the opposite sex
- her strength is primarily a narrative tool to measure a male protagonists' progress in his emotional maturity plot arc, in which his full maturation is signaled by getting the girl, and her interior life or own motivations are not portrayed (such female characters often feature in works that fail the Bechdel test)
- she has no close female friends or female allies, and disdains "weaker" or more conventionally feminine women for not being "badass"
A more general problem with the concept is that, especially in geek media, "strong female characters" are often defined as "strong" purely in terms of having outstanding physical strength and combat ability. This arguably devalues other forms of "strength". It also validates violence as a means of resolving conflict, which is rejected by many strains of feminism.
Some blog posts on the subject:
- "You know what's a problem? Strong female characters. First of all, why do we have to specify "strong" when referring to "female characters?" Why is this not a given? The default for male is not "strong" or "wusstastic," so why do we have to be so specific about the chicks?"
- Stuff Geeks Love: Strong female characters who actually aren't
- On "strong female characters"
- Why Strong Female Characters Are Bad for Women
- Hark a Vagrant comic - Strong Female Characters by Kate Beaton. Created together with Carly Monardo, Meredith Gran - The comic parodies the popular treatment of female characters in American comics. Beaton highlights the practice of giving characters a veneer of physical strength or skill, which is seen to somehow mitigate otherwise highly sexualized and stereotypical traits.
Hopeful Upcoming Characters
These characters have yet to make an actual debut but so far seem that they may have interesting, good, or unique characteristics to add to the female character grouping. - To be looked at later
Kamala Khan from Marvel Comics