A Tribute To Strong Women In Media
With DC’s Wonder Woman hitting the theaters, we wanted to direct your attention to some other strong woman throughout media. There are so many strong, female characters in TV, movie, books, games and comic that deserve some more attention.
Read on if you want to learn more about them!
Strong Female Characters Across Media
The Strong Women Of Comics
Wonder Woman, albeit the probably best known strong superheroine, wasn’t the first female superhero. The first woman in a superhero role came to the comic world in 1940. Fantomah was an ageless Egyptian woman and a minor character appearing in Fiction House’s Jungle Comics. Diane Prince, or Princess Diana of Themyscira, aka Wonder Woman was the first widely recognized superheroine though, stepping into the by then male-dominated world of comic superheroes in 1941.
Since then, many powerful women were introduced into the world of comic. Some were aiding and side characters to the male protagonists, soon sporting their own, ongoing series in which they took the leading role. One great example for this is the sidekick turned (anti)-hero turned Harley Quinn of the DC comic universe. Once the fun counterpart to the famous Batman villain The Joker, Harley developed into a fan favorite with her own comic series and following. Together with Catwoman and Poison Ivy, two other popular female characters, she also stars in the popular series Gotham City Sirens.
Many known superhero teams and team ups like Marvel’s Avengers and X-Men as well as DC’s Justice League and many others contain strong female heroes. Especially since the popular Avengers movie series, everyone should know Black Widow aka Natasha Romanoff. The X-Men franchise produced many female characters, villain and heroes, with Jean Grey, Mystique, Rogue and Storm.
Furthermore, some male superheroes have even been replaced by their female counterparts after their death in one of the different universes or time-lines their comics take place in. Especially Marvel seems to be a pioneer in this regard with x-23 becoming the new Wolverine after Logan’s death, or Jane Foster taken on the role of Thor after the Asgardian God looses his ability and privilege to wield the mythical hammer Mjolnir.
Other well-recognized and popular female characters of the comic world include:
- Zatanna (DC)
- Raven (DC)
- She-Hulk (Marvel)
- Power Girl (DC)
- Cassie Hack (Hack/Slash, Devil’s Due)
- Lady Death (Coffin Comics)
- Gamora (Marvel)
The Strong Women Of Books
Books have been filled with strong and interesting female characters for decades. Many have been written by women all through the decades, showing the different struggles and states of mind women had gone through. We can not, by any means, name all of them, so we picked just a few titles that contain strong female characters.
- #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso tells the story of a fashion-forward woman that build up her own, successful business from scratch.
- Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel by Jeannette Walls tells the story of Walls’ family through the eyes of her stubborn grandmother at the beginning of the 20th century.
- The Help by Kathryn Stockett is a story about three different women of different background, fighting against the norms they are put into in 1960’s America.
A book doesn’t have to be themed around strong women though to contain some amazing female character. Just consider the following, for example, that had left their mark in different works of fiction:
- Arya Stark (A Song of Ice and Fire)
- Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)
- Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)
- Lisbeth Salander (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo)
The Strong Women Of TV
When it comes to TV series, there has been an influx of head-strong and powerful female characters. Some have their roots in the comics and books the series are based on, e.g. Daenerys Targaryen of Game of Thrones or Jessica Jones from the Netflix series of the same name. But there are also many to be recognized in popular TV series that were not based on another medium.
Here, we would like to focus on two types of female characters in this regard. First, on female characters that play an equally important role as their male co-characters. Secondly, series that feature women in a strong, leading role.
Many instances of the former can be found in comedy series that prove a certain, unbeatable humor coming from the female part of the cast. Thus, the gang of The Big Bang Theory wouldn’t be half as funny without Penny and Amy, and without Rachel, Monica and Phoebe, Friends wouldn’t be the friends we know and love. But there are so many more! To mention only a few, there are also:
- optimistic Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation)
- outspoken Claire Dunphy (Modern Family)
- irrepressible Mindy Lahiri (The Mindy Project)
- iconic Lucy (I love Lucy)
But women can’t only do funny. Mystery, action, historical and drama series also produced some of the most recognizable and strong female characters of television. Consider the following, for example:
- Dana Scully (X-Files)
- Annalise Keating (How to get away with Murder)
- Violet Crawley (Downtown Abbey)
- Buffy (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Especially in the past few years, more and more series with a strong and almost exclusively female cast popped up. In all of them, at least the lead roles are represented by women with varying character and ethnicity. Some of the most popular and well-known ones are surely:
- Orange is the new Black
- Ally McBeal
- Sex and the City
- Gilmore Girls
The Strong Women Of Movies
Similar to TV series, many movies are based on books or other sources that already contain fleshed out female characters. And yet, many more (or less) original characters of the female gender originated from movies as well. They don’t even have to be necessarily good as movies gave us some of the most badass female villains ever. To name just a few:
- Catherine Tramell (Basic Instinct)
- The Bride (Kill Bill)
- Merida (Brave)
- Mary Margaret Fitzgerald (Million Dollar Baby)
- Princess Leia Organa of Aldreaan (Star Wars)
The Strong Women Of Video Games
Even in video games, women have taken on strong role – and not only since the last few years. In most customization games, you are free to choose not only the race, but also the gender of your character, making for many women to walk the worlds of Dragon Age, Pokémon or the like. Some of those female characters are more well-known than others, however. For example:
- Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)
- Jill Valentine (Resident Evil)
- Samus Aran (Metroid)
- Rayne (Bloodrayne)
- Bayonetta (Bayonetta)
- Ellie (The Last of Us)