Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Happy International Women's Day!

Happy International Women's Day! To celebrate, we've gathered together to discuss our favorite female characters--the ones that have made us laugh, the ones who have made us cry, and the ones we're just plain glad exist. Let's get started.

Amanda Horn

The most iconic female character that holds a special place in my heart is Lucy Pevensie from The Chronicles of Narnia. As a life-long fan of this book series, I always wanted to be more like Lucy, and as a teenager, I still wish I could be more like her. But what exactly makes Lucy Pevensie so special?

The first thing that comes to mind is that Lucy has copious amounts of faith. She never loses that childlike (not childish) faith in something she saw with her own eyes and felt with her own hands. Narnia never faded for her, and she never stopped remembering and loving the land of her childhood.

Lucy is also extraordinarily brave. Even as a young girl, she never wavered from protecting the people she loves, and she always wanted to be right on the scene of danger, working alongside everyone else. Later, as a woman, she joined her older brothers on the field of battle, and she fought admirably. Lucy never stays behind if she knows she can help in a dangerous situation, however, she also knows when to step back if she cannot help.

But the thing I appreciate most about Lucy is that she possesses an enormous capacity to love and forgive. She becomes friends with Mr. Tumnus very quickly, and she is heartbroken when he is captured by the White Witch. Her quick attachments and friendships might seem to be a drawback at first; however, Lucy experiences and learns so much more about herself and other people through them. Yes, there may be pain that comes with loving deeply, but Lucy loves making new friends and meeting new people.

Lucy is a sensitive and wonderful girl who grows up to be a strong and mature woman. She’s a strong role model for people of every age and a character whose story I hope will continue to be timeless for years to come.

Sky Destrian

From Daisy Johnson to Gamora, Marvel is rocking it with the female characters lately. We still have a long way to go--getting women of color in leading roles is still extremely important, and we have yet to have a female superhero head her own movie (come on, Captain Marvel). But Marvel is well on its way to creating well-written female characters, and one shining example (besides Natasha Romanoff) is Jessica Jones.

You may have heard about her original Netflix series, Jessica Jones, a cousin to Daredevil and a predecessor to the team-up show, The Defenders. Jessica and her show came on the scene last November, busting through my computer screen and straight into my heart. A private eye with a troubled past, Jessica has seen a lot of darkness. She has questionable methods, and she drinks... a lot. She’s rough around the edges, but to me, that’s what makes her so likable. She’s allowed to be vulgar, and she’s allowed to be angry, but her womanhood is never in question. She is a fully developed female character, and she’s able to show every spectrum of every emotion (expertly acted by Krysten Ritter). She strikes the perfect balance of being badass and vulnerable, and she doesn’t fit any sort of mold. She is a complete human, and she is allowed to be just that: human. This, to me, is huge and remarkable. We need more female characters like Jessica Jones.

Anna Gensimore

There are a lot of wonderful female characters in things I've read, watched, and played. This makes it super hard to narrow them down to a few favorites. The first that comes to mind is Ellie from The Last of Us.

At the beginning of the game, Ellie is a fourteen year old girl on a dangerous quest across the  post-sort-of-zombie-apocalypse U.S. She is eager to prove her worth and competency as she has a secret that could prove itself the turning point for humanity. Along her cross-continental journey to seek out the ever elusive Fireflies, she ends up more than proving her mettle to Joel, her guide turned father figure, and everyone she meets. My favorite parts of the game are where I got to play as her because her size allows for stealth and speed when hiding from Clickers (zombies caused by a mutated cordyceps fungus) and the even more dangerous humans out to survive however they can. Her growth in confidence and the bond that grows between her and Joel as the game goes on is quite heartwarming. Ellie was the first character in a video game that I ever felt kinship with. 

To continue with the theme of strong women who experience massive character growth, can we just talk about Eowyn for a minute? Not only does she defeat the Witch-King of Angmar, she also has the wisdom and self confidence to realize that there is a season for everything. Her whole life she felt shadowed and caged; she dreamed of battle and being a true Shieldmaiden of Rohan. After her experience in battle, she realized something that had been in her all along--in fact what fueled her desire to see battle in the first place. When she'd recovered, Eowyn felt the pull on her heart to help those in need and to help heal the wounded. She spent her time helping those ravaged by battle recover and found just as much fulfillment in that. She knew that being a warrior was just as important as helping other warriors face the aftereffects of their battles. That indeed is honorable to me and worth celebration. (Also, I am so glad she and Faramir got together.) 

Jaime Heller

Choosing my favorite fictional female characters is a hard task. There are so many good, adequate choices out there in the world of fandom. As I tried to narrow my list down to less than ten (in order to narrow it down further), I thought of Winry Rockbell from Fullmetal Alchemist. Sometimes I forgot how much I adore her character. Sometimes it feels like she gets swept away in the chaos and the monumental task of saving the country. But she's vital to the story--and not only because she's the best auto-mail mechanic ever. (That just helps give her more credit.) Sure, Ed wouldn't have gotten far without Winry always bashing him over the head... I mean, fixing his auto-mail every single time he mashed it up. But without Winry, I don't think Ed would have gotten far because she is definitely a part of his heart. She grounds him to the world where people can't do alchemy. She doesn't need alchemy or magic to hold her ground and be useful. She uses engineering, pieces and parts, and grease to make a living. In addition, she rules in what is normally a men's world of fixing things up and getting her hands dirty to do so. Plus, she's just so darn adorable and truly cares for Ed and Al.

The other ladies to come to mind when I think of great fictional women are the ladies who rule the CW's DC comics shows: Laurel Lance, Felicity Smoak, Caitlin Snow, Iris West, Sara Lance, Kendra Saunders, Thea Queen, Patty Spivot, Lyla Diggle, and all the others who have come and gone. While each lady has her own story, her own strengths and weaknesses, and her own character, together they form a solid starting ground for strong, super heroic women in the live-action, comic book adaptation world. I love when the characters interact during crossover episodes; they don't let petty things bother them or keep them from being friends. Each lady shows quality in how they deal with the "boys" and work together to save the day. I feel so grateful that the writers of these shows bless the fangirl world with such strong role models.

Finally, we've been graced by the appearance of Rey in the newest generation of Star Wars films. Not only is Rey the main character, but she is strong, she is smart, and she is force-sensitive. In such a critical franchise, there is--in the words of an eight-year-old I know--finally a girl Jedi at the forefront of the trilogy. Rey not only shows her resourcefulness time and time again during The Force Awakens, but she reveals her care, her gentleness, and ferocity. She can care for Finn, show compassion for droids, and be gentle with herself, but she can also be strong in the face of danger, smart in times of trouble, and surprising in moments of fear. She is her own person, not meant to be a mere copy of Anakin or Luke or Padme or Leia. She is Rey, and she is our hero. Rey is so important not only for the trilogy but for Star Wars fans of all ages. 

Livia Alegi

YA has a lot of female characters, most of which are strong and empowering--that is probably my favourite part of most books these days. I have read lots of YA, but as I read more of the genre, I find that there are two female characters which I adore and cannot imagine their books without them: Hermione Granger (Harry Potter) and Annabeth Chase (Percy Jackson).

What I find weird is that in a world of female main characters (Katniss Everdeen, Clary Fray and Cassie Sullivan are only some examples), my favourites are actually two secondary characters, though they basically are main characters as they are fundamental for the story.

Hermione is my favourite character because I relate to her so much: I am an only child and was smarter than most of kids my age. I also valued school much more than social stuff, so when I read about this girl who felt like being expelled was the worst thing ever, it was obvious that I would grow attached to her! Her strength is amazing, too. She never lets anything get her down (except Ron kissing Lavender) and works around her problems with creativity (though using a Time-Turner to attend all classes would be hard for us muggles).

The fact that Harry Potter was the first series of books I read in English probably contributes to my love for Hermione.

Annabeth, similarly, I admire because of her wonderful combination of intelligence and courage. I would also like to point out that she has enough determination to stick with Percy through all his adventures and, most of all, disadventures--not at an easy task at all! At only seven years old, she left her home and found two people who would be her best friends: Thalia and Luke. While she is a demigod, it is impressive that such a young girl would do something like that. I could relate to Annabeth mostly for her intelligence and confidence, but I admit that everything about her connected me to her character.

Happy women's day, even if you're not fighting monsters in a galaxy far, far away or in a dystopian world.

Who are your favorite fictional women?


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