Thursday, March 22, 2012

Top Five Female Characters

I caught a commercial of some kind for "The Hunger Games" today. They were doing an interview with a fan, I think, and they were just so happy to have a strong female character. Of course, that set my radar going.

There are a lot of strong female characters. A whole lot. Why are you acting like there aren't?

Now, I was going to post this yesterday, but I'm glad I waited until today--it's more important, today...somehow. The top five list (although in no particular order, as is par for my course) of female characters in literature.

~Lyra Belacqua: The heroin of Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy. From book one, she's brazen, scoffing at the standard male authority. She also manages to run off, see the world, take part in politics. And that's the first book. We see her rise to womanhood by the end of book three. She stands as a lone voice of reason, traversing the land of the dead for her cause.

~Narcissa Malfoy: All right, don't hit me. How much stronger do you get than Narcissa. I'm not even talking about her power or skill as a witch. I mean as a mother. Molly is supposed to be the 'mother' of the book. I understand that, but a part of me would rather have Narcissa. For her son, no other reason, no thought of the consequences to herself, Narcissa lies directly to Lord Voldemort, and lies so believably that even he believes it. Everything she's ever done, really, has been for her son--and normally in direct defiance of the Dark Lord.

~Loor: Fans of 'Pendragon' will understand immediately. Loor is a consummate human being--compassionate, physically powerful, calm, wise, and possessing of foresight most people will never have. Through the series, she grows into a serene, respectful woman, capable of leading anything you put before her, and willing to take up that challenge. And she has a quality lacking in many literary characters--the ability to defer. If she isn't the best to handle the job, she will step down.

~Lisbeth Salander: Possibly the epitome of the strong female, she isn't necessarily a role model. As she stands, however, she can take care of herself--and does. Intelligent enough to hold a high-paying, high-stress job and she doesn't take anything from anyone. She doesn't buckle to the evils of the world, instead she takes her fate in her own hands, handles her own problems, and, eventually, cares. Slow to emote, she stays resilient to everything trying to erode her.

~Elphaba: The main character of "Wicked", from birth she struggles to her place in the world, and is constantly brought down. Left well and alone because of her green skin, dishonored for pursuing her chosen research, harassed by the government of Oz, thrust into the shadows by Galinda--and yet she still gains power, gets a castle, ends up, through a strange, somewhat confusing series of events, in control of a country, and carries on her research until the very end of her life.

Of course, there are other strong female characters out there--Esme Cullen, Hermione Granger, Osa, Ororo Munroe, Rosalie Hale, Alyss, Homburg Molly, Weaver, et cetera, et cetera--but that's a good sampling, for now, don't you think?

Feeling the girl power,


Frances Pauli said...

I tried to make this same point at the last convention we attended...ahem, and was quickly shot down. But, I'll reiterate here. I understand that once it was difficult to find strong women in literature and that sucked big time. Yes, we need to remember that and yes, sometimes they still get it wrong and just basically put boobs on a man to achieve "strong" femininity...but that is fast becoming a rare thing. Sorry, strong female protags are not only happening, they are the hot trend at the moment.
Like I said at the con, (to a round of flinching) maybe today it would be more difficult and more poorly received to try and portray the sensitive male? Maybe a different bias exists today and we are still focusing on an old one?
Honestly, I get tired of the double standard, and I'm a chick. I see romance heroines who are smart, strong, chubby, less that perfect...and yet that hero still better be a "hot" body building lump of muscle... Even the few places that try to equal out the field may allow for a sensitive hero or a geeky one, but he damn sure better be hot.
I get that we're talking fantasy, but if it goes one way...I say, it sure better go the other.

Damyanti said...

Those are some strong characters! Love the name of your blog, btw... Also turning off the WV would add comments not spam ;)

---Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2012

Twitter: @AprilA2Z

Co-host, A to Z Challenge.