In honour of the recent passing of International Women’s Day (also known as International Why is There No International Men’s Day), as well as my rewatching of Veronica Mars after the historic Kickstarter VM movie project (also known as the biggest win for pop culture fans since the Arrested Development business), I would like to list five of the best heroines on our screens.
1. Veronica Mars, Veronica Mars
What did you expect? I’m currently rewatching Veronica Mars, and Kristen Bell portrays the titular girl detective – capable of tears, quips and ferociously kicking all kinds of ass. She deals with a lot of problems, including the usual teen ones (boys, mean kids at school, annoying parents) and more unusual ones (like rape (of course, sadly rape is not that unusual), death of a friend, solving various mysteries, including the aforementioned murder of (best) friend (wow, I love nested brackets too much)).
She has friends too. Ones she makes by rescuing or helping, and others she makes by just being awesome. She is occasionally rescued, but does a lot of rescuing of her own. She’s a character with her own interests and is completely capable of holding her own (as much as a 17-year-old can, anyway).
Basically, she’s amazing. I love Kristen Bell and I love Veronica Mars. The only thing I don’t love about Veronica Mars is that most of the movie pledges will only ship to the US (SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY).
Maybe I love this show too much.
2. Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games
Katniss is a really amazing female character. I spent a long time not reading The Hunger Games, because I saw that Stephanie Meyer had endorsed it. And we all know that Twilight is a shining example of feminism.
Anyway, when I finally did read it, it was great. At its core it’s about family and friendship (as well as about corruption and classism and poverty and how twisted people can become). There are some very heavy issues dealt with in these books and movies, and in the end, it’s Katniss who matters, not who she ends up with.
3. Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation
My favourite fictional political woman! (Or at least, tied with Hillary Clinton.) Leslie can be ditzy but is also incredibly clever when it’s necessary. She is great with or without a partner (though I admit I love Ben Wyatt with all my heart), and her interactions with her female colleagues (well, I guess they’re her subordinates now) are golden.
Leslie and Ann’s best friendship or Leslie and April’s mentor-unwilling-mentee relationship or Leslie and Donna’s general hilarity? Awesome.
She has convictions, emotions, flaws and a lot of gumption. Love you, Leslie.
(And if we’re talking about Amy Poehler, we have to talk about Tina Fey and Liz Lemon. 30 Rock, anybody? )
4. Mulan, Mulan
We’re not having a conversation about awesome fictional ladies without mentioning Mulan.
My favourite of all the Disney Princesses, she doesn’t really know where she belongs at the start. Definitely not in traditional Chinese ceremonial gear in front of the Matchmaker, that’s for sure. But she’s stubborn, smart, resourceful, brave, and ends up showing everyone that women are just as capable as men. She saves the Chinese Army (or at least her unit) twice, saves her father, makes the general fall in love with her, saves China, kills the bad guy and goes back home.
5. Buffy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy the Vampire Slayer? She Who Hangs Out A Lot In Cemeteries? Just look up Slayer Comma The.
Oh Buffy. I will always point to Buffy the Vampire Slayer as the show which first made me start thinking about feminism. I’ll be the first to admit that she’s not flawless. But those seven seasons of television are seven damn good seasons (even if I wasn’t a huge fan of Season 7 myself). She has relationships which admittedly are fairly dysfunctional, but manages to recover from.
I did enjoy Buffy more in the show’s earlier seasons, when everything wasn’t so completely grim and dire (thanks a lot, Joss Whedon and The First). But altogether, she’s a damn fine lady.
Special mentions to all the other women in the Buffy family – Willow, Tara, Anya, Dawn, Joyce and the Potentials.