Thursday, February 03, 2011

My favorite female characters

I'm trying to make it thru the Twilight series. Now, to start with, this is difficult for me; I hate romance novels as they tend to be filled with pointless angst; I read all the Anne Rice vampire books and hated them (well, I liked Interview). So far the Twilight books are like Anne Rice light with extra angst - and I hate the main character, Bella Swan, more than I can put into words. Whiny, attention-seeking, disingenuous, completely dependant on the males in her life... well, I could go on, and I will, in a later post.

This got me thinking about my favorite female characters and why I liked them. So, without further ado, here are the ones I could think of off the top of my head!

The Bene Gesserit - Dune Series (the original ones, not the new crap)
The Bene Gesserit are amazing. From Jessica, who was much more complicated than "I had a boy for my man" (it had a lot more to do with her sensing that she could give birth to the Kwizatz Haderach), to Darwi Odrade, who broke the sisterhood's rules by allowing a "limited affection" - the Bene Gesserit characters are wonderful, interesting, scheming, awful, powerful, amazing, and thoroughly human.

Jesse - Toy Story 2
Jesse had me from her song, "When Somebody Loved Me." It still makes me cry every single time I see the movie. Jesse is a great character because her being a girl's toy is important to her - but she can still kick butt. One of the scenes that makes me happiest is when she lets the dog out, and Buzz is obviously attracted to her; I love that he's into her abilities.

Chetarra - Thundercats
Yeah, the show is all about Lion-O, but for girls, the show was all about Chetarra. She's shown as a fully respected member of the Thundercats group, with just as many skills in battle (and in her head) as Tigra and Panthro. Oh, and it was awesome having a woman role model that looked like a woman - and not a 12 year old boy. (Last comment applies to April O'Neil and She-Ra too)

Ripley - Alien
Of COURSE this list includes Ripley. How couldn't it? She's amazing! I know I once read a review of her character by Steven King, where he said that the worst thing she did was go back for the cat; that the males in the audience lost all respect for her when she did that. I couldn't disagree more (and not just because if she hadn't gone back for the cat she would have run into the Alien in the shuttle.). It showed a humanity that many action heroes lack. Blame it on an extra X-chromosome if you want; I don't know a single kid who has watched that movie and not yelled "THE CAT!! GET THE CAT!!"

Buttercup (and Blossom, and Bubbles) - Powerpuff Girls
Buttercup is my personal favorite, as I like seeing a girl who likes fighting and playing rough; it shows that there are more ways to be a girl than just Barbies and princesses. All of the girls show different ways for little girls to be little girls tho, and they are all accepted - and when push comes to shove, they can all kick butt.

The Bride - Kill Bill
Another obvious choice, the Bride from Kill Bill is awesome in every way. She can swordfight, do kung-fu, survive, get revenge for herself and her little girl, and in the end be a good mom. Seriously, what is not to love about this character?

Mariko - Shogun
Mariko is a woman who manages to get her way in everything, and is truly the center (and brains) behind Shogun. She tames the wild foreigner, gets her final revenge on her husband, and makes Toranaga Shogun. She's a deep and brilliant character.

Lois Lane - Lois & Clark (with honorable mention to Margot Kidder's in Superman)
This is by far my favorite Lois. Tough, take charge, changing the world with her stories, and only occasionally needing rescuing (and honestly, she rescues Superman as many times as he rescues her).

Livia - I, Claudius
Oh, Livia, could you have been any more evil? Well, yeah, you could, I guess; tho murdering your husband, your grandchildren, and marking your son down for death are pretty bad. But you always had the good of the Empire in mind. Livia is so awesome, so ruthless, and so scheming that she might just be the best bad guy - ever.

Satsuki & Mei - My Neighbor Totoro
Pretty much all the female Miyazaki characters are brilliant, but Satsuki and Mei are the first ones I saw, and still my favorite. They are just little girls, nothing more. Its really touching and great to see little girls act like little girls, and have little girl fears - like getting lost.

All the women - Amy Tan books
I can't think of a female Amy Tan character that isn't excellent. Some of them are much nicer than others, but none of them are a stereotype in any way. I love all of 'em.

Mrs. Frisby - Mrs. Frisby & the Rats of NIMH
Just an ordinary mouse, introduced to a world of rats who are human-level intelligent. Her heart and bravery are awesome (better in the book of course; there's no magic). And of course she may be the mother of a new race of human-intelligent mice. Which is just cool.

Motoko Kusanagi - Ghost in the Shell (movie)
I really like the Kusanagi from the movie; she is a female Rick Decard, unsure if she is real or made up.

Brawne Lamia - Hyperion cantos
Brawne Lamia is basically Sam Spade, except female. A private investigator, she falls for a beautiful client with a murder she needs to solve. Raised on a world with stronger-than-Earth gravity, she's strong enough to beat up anyone who gets in her way. A great turn-the-trope-on-its-ear character, and mother of...

Aenea - Hyperion cantos
Absolutely one of my favortie female characters ever, an architect and a possible messiah (tho she denies it). She's amazingly strong (not physically...), and the relationship she has with Raul Endemion is wonderful; it rings true, and is a real partnership between them. If I could make everyone read the Hyperion Cantos, I would.

Any that I missed? Who are your favorite female characters? Stay turned for my LEAST favorite female characters (yes, Bella Swan will be on the list).

3 comments :

Jaimi said...

Bella actually gets better, but not until like the 4th book.

Tasha Wassink said...

She's so utterly awful in the first and a half book... I couldn't imagine her getting worse. Oh, and it doesn't help I'm not a huge fan of creepy-old-man Edward I suppose. Sparkly. Oi.

Robbin said...

It literally took me months to get through the second book. I couldn't stand it! I guess on one level I could relate with Bella's devastation, but that didn't keep me from wanting to slap her and tell her to snap out of it!