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TT #29: Strong Women in Fiction

22 Oct 2008
Thursday Thirteen

Strong Women in Fiction

It’s time I counter the perception that I consider all fictional female characters to be TSTL.

Number 1
Sarah Connor from T2.  When I first saw T2, I was too immature (I was eleven!) to appreciate Sarah Connor.  I thought she was too masculine with her attitude, dress, etc.  However, watching the movie again in the last few years, I think I have a girl crush on her because she has brains to go with all those muscles of which I’m envious.

Number 2
Brenda Leigh Johnson from The Closer.  Intelligent (or appears intelligent since a two-year-old can solve the crimes on this show), hard-working, independent, fiercely loyal–and she leads a team of men.  Very sexy.

Number 3
Cassandra Cain from DC’s Batman universe.  After walking away from everything and everyone she knew after realizing being an assassin was not the life for her, she became a survivor who will do the right thing no matter the consequences.  For me, she’s inarguably the greatest Batgirl thus far.  And she’s the first Batgirl to get her own series.  Take that, Babs!

Number 4
Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels from J.A. Konrath‘s detective series.  Smart, tough, and knows when to relieve the tension with a joke.

Number 5
Elena Estes from Tami Hoag‘s Dark Horse and The Alibi Man.  She’s not a comfortable character; a reluctant heroine who never takes the easy way out.

Number 6
Death from Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman series.  Despite her occupation, she doesn’t look a thing like the Grim Reaper.  She’s grounded and perky without being annoying (a very hard balancing act there), and she’s nurturing to her broody brother Dream.  She’s probably the most powerful of the seven but keeps it low-key, flexing her muscles only when absolutely necessary.

Number 7
Oracle (aka Barbara Gordon) from DC’s Batman universe.  I found her annoying as Batgirl, but after the Joker paralyzed her, she matured, found a way to keep on helping Bats et al., not allowing her disability to hinder her, and became Oracle.

Number 8
Addison Montgomery from Grey’s Anatomy.  (I know she’s on Private Practice now, but I’ve been told she’s undergone a lobotomy on that show and has become another Meredith Grey.)  Intelligent, competitive, uncompromising, but not ashamed of having a softer side.

Number 9
Zi Juan from The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.  Loyal, both book- and street-smart, and kick-ass.  She’s definitely the best female character in that meh movie.  A step above both her twit of a daughter, Lin, who acts like she’s twelve instead of a few centuries old, and the erratic Evie O’Connell.

Number 10
Marge Simpson from The Simpsons always manages to keep her typically dysfunctional kooky family together season after season.

Number 11
Pre-ardeur Anita Blake from Laurell K. Hamilton’s urban fantasy series.  Before she became the St. Louis town bike (thanks to Mrs. Giggles and Amazon tags), Anita Blake was a strong protagonist who struggled with her necromancer abilities and her Catholic morals.  She wasn’t always the strongest or the most powerful, but she was always too stubborn to give up and give in.  (If you want to read the series, read ONLY books 1 to 9.)

Number 12
Sugar Beth Carey from Susan Elizabeth PhillipsAin’t She Sweet.  The girl-you-loved-to-hate-in-high-school turned her life around after taking a few knocks.  Like the best reformed bad girls, though, she’s not above using a little subterfuge for her own gain.

Number 13
Pepper Potts from Marvel’s Iron Man universe.  Well, actually, more the Pepper Potts from the 2008 movie version.  Subtly sexy, witty, and can think on her feet.  I believe this movie is the first time I actually enjoyed watching Gwyneth Paltrow.

26 Comments leave one →
  1. Jane permalink
    22 Oct 2008 12:56 PM

    I haven’t been keeping up the comics. I don’t know Oracle. I am a big Jean Grey fan. Sydney Bristow from “Alias” and Scully from “The X-Files” are kick ass heroines in my book.

  2. Ann Bruce permalink
    22 Oct 2008 3:04 PM

    @Jane – Oracle is the name Barbara Gordon started using after Joker paralyzed her and she became the tech geek for Batman & Co.

  3. 22 Oct 2008 3:22 PM

    I love that you included Marg Simpson LOl Great list. Happy T13!

  4. 22 Oct 2008 3:36 PM

    I don’t know any of those (except Marg of course) but I like photo 8.

  5. 22 Oct 2008 3:44 PM

    go Marge!!!

    and hands up to the Girl Power!!!

  6. 22 Oct 2008 3:48 PM

    I’ve only seen The Closer once or twice, but I did enjoy it. Because TNT runs promos for the show incessantly during the NBA playoffs, it seems like I’ve seen it more than that. I do admit to liking the promos where people would randomly come up to Brenda and confess to a variety of offenses.

  7. 22 Oct 2008 4:21 PM

    What a wonderful list! I love the original Wonder Woman too. She was everything I would love to be 100% female and 100% superhero!

    Happy TT!

  8. 22 Oct 2008 4:31 PM

    You introduced all of these characters to me in this post. Thanks for giving me food for thought.

  9. 22 Oct 2008 5:07 PM

    I like Zi Juan..Mine is up.13 Ghost Story Books

  10. 22 Oct 2008 5:49 PM

    I like the Closer and comic book heroines.

  11. 22 Oct 2008 6:32 PM

    Number 13 did it for me, and I have to agree it is the only film I could stand watching Gwyneth in, she suits that type of role.

    Happy TT!

  12. 22 Oct 2008 7:44 PM

    What about Angelina Jolie?? She is one tough cookie. Great list. Happy TT.

  13. 22 Oct 2008 8:06 PM

    @Lori – Angelina Jolie is not a fictitious woman. 🙂

  14. 22 Oct 2008 8:34 PM

    I love love love this TT list! All kick butt gals!

  15. 23 Oct 2008 3:26 AM

    So many strong women. Great list

  16. 23 Oct 2008 4:34 AM

    These are some great examples! I have not started the Anita Blake series yet, but the first three are in my TBR pile!

    Happy TT!

  17. 23 Oct 2008 6:42 AM

    I love this list!!!

    We read a lot of the same things. I totally agree with you on Death, Jack Daniels, and Anita (pre-ardeur–though Harlequin was a damn fine book).

    I would add Merry Gentry (Laurell K. Hamilton’s other protagonist), Kitty (from the Kitty and the Midnight Hour series–if you haven’t read it, do so!), Claire Beauchamp Randall Frasier (from the Outlander series).

    Great list!

  18. 23 Oct 2008 8:34 AM

    I like this list. Addison is a little softer of Private Practice but still way “edgier” than Meredith.

  19. 23 Oct 2008 9:27 AM

    Go Marge! You are so right about #1..

    Happy T13

  20. 23 Oct 2008 9:50 AM

    Yes, my sistah! I LOVE this list. Best one!

    Happy TT

  21. 23 Oct 2008 9:56 AM

    I love Elena Estes! Dark Horse is one of my favorite books. And I tend to prefer softer-looking women, in general, but that pic of Linda Hamilton is hot! Terminator 1 is on my top ten movies list.

  22. 23 Oct 2008 12:58 PM

    That Zi Juan was really a kick-ass character! 🙂

  23. 23 Oct 2008 4:04 PM

    Great list! I love Addison, but I also noticed she turned a bit Meridith in that show too.

  24. 23 Oct 2008 6:31 PM

    @Journeywoman – I completely forgot about Claire! Thanks for reminding me. It might be because Gabaldon takes so long to write her books.

  25. 23 Oct 2008 9:27 PM

    Great TT! Some very surprising choices, but I have to agree with the 85% or so that I’m familiar with! I love that you included Neil’s Death! Woot!

  26. 24 Feb 2009 9:59 PM

    I was looking at all teh entries on your site, the images and such. I got to your site by typing in “women in fiction” and it’s clear to me at least that it’s not just strength but depth and smarts. I like to see that oo, which is why I write that way.

    Please be so kind as to check out my website for hte book Convergence – about 4 female characters who get kicked around but try to fight back.

    Or just say Hi and find out more about me or the book.


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