I was having a think the other day about idols and role models. I realised that all of mine are fictional and apart from Batman (you can’t not include him; he just gets upset) they’re all women taking on roles that would traditionally be done by men. They’re also strong-willed, ass-kicking and downright awesome.
1. Ellen Ripley
She’s had a tough time has Ripley, or “Rippers” as I’d probably call her if she was one of my friends. In 1979 her nice stasis nap was interrupted by a distress call that kicked off another three movies of her (or her almost-descendents) running around trying to stop nasty things from being nasty, but she does it in the most fantastic way ever. She manages to keep the balance between a woman concerned about protecting those around her while coming out on top after every struggle, even beating the menfolk who would normally be portrayed as rescuing the damsels in distress. Pff, we can help ourselves, dammit!
2. Lisbeth Salander
Lisbeth from the Millennium Trilogy is described as a lady who is introverted, asocial, and that she has difficulty making friends. She’s also had a pretty horrible past which probably made her turn out a little squiffy in the head, but she’s also brilliant. She’s a hacker with a photographic memory and an excellent mind for investigation and revenge. Case in point: if your new guardian tortures, rapes and abuses you while withholding your money unless you submit, what do you do? Report him to the authorities or break into his flat, give him a taste of his own medicine and then tattoo the words “I am a sadistic pig, a pervert, and a rapist” on his body?
AND THEN GET AWAY WITH IT??
Lisbeth could certainly do with some nice things happening in her life, and she’s definitely horribly broken, but you have to admire her determination. Also it’s nice to see a lady with a good collection of tech. I approve.
3. Brienne of Tarth
I have to admit I was a little worried about how HBO would portray this feisty lady. My vision of Brienne from the Game of Thrones books was of a woman who, while extremely skilled and loyal to the people she served, perhaps didn’t quite know how to carry herself and felt awkward unless she was wearing plate armour and wielding a sword. That’s exactly what we got in the series. Hooray for good casting! Oh Brienne, let us run around in the woods together teaching lessons to bandits and misogynists. Then we’ll share some ale and make a fire or something.
What do all of these ladies have in common? They’re not real. I’m sure there are ladies out there who are just like the fictional ones I’d adorn my locker door with if I was at an American high school (I watch too many films, don’t I?), but where are they? More to the point, where are WE?
Independent ladies unite! We marry, we find partners, we have families (sometimes), but we’re still our own people with a strong sense of who we are so let’s kick some arse. Grrr!