Are strong heroines really so rare?

I finally saw The Avengers last weekend. Great movie. Loved it. Joss Whedon does many things well: action, humor, villains, and heroes, but the one thing he does best is develop strong characters, especially women. Most of the characters in The Avengers are men, but the three main women: Black Widow, Agent Hill, and Pepper Potts all made an impact.

But as I read my Facebook timeline the next morning, I noticed a lot of posts with the same topic: where are all the strong heroines? Really? And what struck me as odd is that while we complain there are too few female heroes in fiction, we don’t give them enough attention when they do appear. Last summer I dedicated a whole blog week to my favorite kick-ass chicks, but it got very little action. If you take a look at my list, you’ll notice some of these ladies have been around for more than a decade.

The Avengers’ Black Widow is my newest favorite. She didn’t need a man to rescue her. She didn’t need anyone to rescue her. She fought off the Hulk, and (mild spoiler) she was the one who figured out how to save the world. Black Widow gets as much screen time as the male Avengers. Even Pepper Potts, who only had two short scenes, was established as a genius equal to Tony Stark with just a few telling details.

Unfortunately, I don’t have much time to watch TV or movies lately, so I’m not familiar with more recent heroines. Maybe they aren’t as common in current popular fiction, but if that’s the case, we have only ourselves to blame. Hollywood claims they produce what audiences want to see. If we don’t applaud stories with strong women, those stories won’t get told. So stop complaining about the strong heroines who don’t exist and celebrate the ones who do. Or create your own. :)

Who are your favorite kick-ass chicks? 

About Amelia James

Amelia James started reading steamy romance novels in junior high, but her mom took them away from her, so she started daydreaming instead. After she got married, she wrote some of her naughtier daydreams down and sent them to Playgirl magazine. Two of them got published. She kept daydreaming and writing stories until her dirty stories turned into trashy books. She lives in Colorado, but she’ll always be a loyal Wisconsin Cheesehead. When she’s not lusting after her next bad boy hero, she looks for inspiration in sci-fi and action movies, football players, bloodsucking lawyers, muscle cars, and kick-butt chicks.
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8 Responses to Are strong heroines really so rare?

  1. LizLong says:

    Black Widow is definitely my very favorite. As far as TV or movies go right now, I do love the Fairy Tale land version of Snow White from Once Upon a Time–she doesn’t wait around for Prince Charming. She actually saves him a few times! Now let’s cross our fingers for a Joss Whedon-directed Black Widow movie :)

  2. Holly says:

    For current TV – Deborah Morgan on Dexter, Brennan on Bones, Peggy Olson on Mad Men (I don’t know if she counts as a heroine, but she is a kick ass woman), Penelope Garcia on Criminal Minds. Past TV – Veronica Mars, Buffy (duh) and Willow (duh), Captain Kathryn Janeway, Echo. Lots of good strong women on TV (and in movies), the issue is that we don’t pay as much attention to them/market them in the same way we market the male heroes.

  3. James says:

    Well, I’ve been reading a lot of Alastair Reynolds lately, and I’d have to say Ana Khouri and Triumvir Ilia Volyova from his “Revelation Space” trilogy are two of the kick-assingest chicks I’ve ever seen. There are others, but those two break the mold.

    I will say that I really admired Agent Hill in “The Avengers,” maybe a little more than Black Widow. Both were awesome, but Hill had that commanding presence. If I remember correctly from the comics, I think she’s on deck to take Fury’s place as Director of SHIELD when he’s done. (She’ll need to get an eye-patch, though; that’s a requirement for the job.)

  4. Catwoman. I love her. #ThatIsAll ;-)

  5. B.C. Morin says:

    Love Kickass Chicks !! Black Widow is an awesome character !

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