It’s WCW and so we are once again focussing on some kick ass characters. More specifically female ones. Kickass characters are all different. Whether they’re male or female, what makes a kickass character is how they play the cards they have been handed. A kickass female character doesn’t have to be a gun-toting feminist. She doesn’t have to be a femme fatale or cunning. She can be a housewife or a war hero. Whether she uses her sexuality as a weapon or have no weapon at all, she can be something we aspire to. You can read five of Laura’s favourites here.
Mulan – Mulan
This Disney ‘Princess’ is actually the most hardcore of all the women on my list. She was based on a genuine Chinese legend where the daughter of an ageing man took her father’s place and served honourably for many years.
Mulan (both the legend and the Disney character) is a symbol of selflessness and sacrifice. She puts her own life at risk, not only in battle but hiding amongst her own people. For just being a woman passing as a man in the army, she could be killed. She knows the risk but still does what she sees as the honourable thing.
In the movie, she is tougher, faster, funnier and smarter than the men expect of women. The trick to a kickass character is that they’re relatable role models.
Of all of the Disney princesses of that era, Mulan was one of the first to be the hero of her own story.
Liz Taylor – American Horror Story: Hotel
Rocking the Egyptian chic, Liz Taylor is the strongest woman in the whole show so far. While the Countess might have been a femme fatale, she did it all out of bitterness. While Iris showed undying devotion and cunning, she did it all for her son. Yes, they both grew but not in the way Liz was shown to.
Liz fought prejudice, her own identity and eventually the loss of her only love to become the kindest and most sincere character in the whole show. When I watch a show, I often notice the kind ones are the most pathetic and least compelling. It’s why I almost always side with the bad guys. But Liz is most definitely a ‘good’ guy in the world of the Cortez while remaining a compelling and empathetic force within it.
Margot Verger – Hannibal
Of all of the horrors that occur in Hannibal, none are worse than what happens to Margot. But this alone does not make a strong woman. What makes Margot strong is her ability to weather the horrors and overcome them as a stronger person.
When we first meet her we learn that she has no money and no way of escaping her brother unless she gives birth an heir – a loophole her homophobic father had invented. This rule forces her to endure watching her brother commit horrendous crimes against children and eventually her. However, she doesn’t just take her lot. Every moment she commits small rebellions against Mason.
Yes, she may cry, but the trick to a kickass female character is that they show their hearts at times. Strong females aren’t robots. They’re people. It’s recognising that which makes Margot a strong female character.
Heck, she even finds love.
Zoe Washburne – Firefly & Serenity
First-Mate, wife, mother and veteran, Zoe Washburne is second only to female Commander Shepard when it comes to gun-toting spacefaring ladies. While not nearly as hardcore or powerful as Shepard, Zoe shows us that you don’t have to be a celibate automaton to be kickass. She loves and is devoted to her husband but it doesn’t define her.
Married or unmarried she’d always be kickass.
But what does make her kickass is that she would go to the ends of the ‘Verse to save him. In fact, she’d go to the ends of the ‘Verse to save many members of the crew.
Commander Shepard – Mass Effect
But why choose her compared to all of the other female player-characters in gaming? Because she defined a generation of gaming. She was one of the first optional sexed heroes that men actually preferred playing. And no, it’s not just because she’s got a nice body. In fact, her body is quite average for a soldier.
The truth is, men don’t like playing people they can’t relate to. Women have just learned to deal with it. But female Commander Shepard is easy for everyone to relate and aspire to. She can be the Paragon of good or a violent Renegade – both of which who save the world and become heroes.
She can be tough and she can be kind. Merciful or merciless. And it’s because you can make these choices for her that makes her truly realistic to a kickass woman.
And in Mass Effect 3 she reveals a deeper side of herself. The effects of constant sacrifice and war will strain on anyone in her position. And it does. Everything that happens to female Shepard happens to male Shepard. It fits their world and era – women are equals within humanity. Who’s to say that in three-hundred years we won’t be?
Do you have any favourite female characters you’d like to share?