So here we are in the 2nd decade of the 21st century and POW! Women heroes (and anti-heroes, hello Nancy Botwan) are everywhere. Though we’re still not that popular in the big film arena, heroines have come front and center in the 2nd Golden Age of television. Mind you, the building blocks for today’s heroines can be found way back in the 1990s (sic) – from Captain Janeway to Samantha Carter to Dana Scully and onward – but while it was a BIG DEAL back then to have a strong female protagonist, today it’s expected. And that’s a good thing in my mind.
To a certain extent, I’d say its true for the printed page as well, especially in the Science Fiction genre. As a kid reading SF in the 60s and 70s, I could rarely find an SF book where there was a strong female protagonist. (Susan Calvin, we hardly knew you!) Oh sure, plenty of sidekicks, and a smattering of smarter than your average diaphanous-clad women peppered the background, but the men flew the spaceships, fought the aliens, and discovered the wonders of the universe.
Or are they? This Female Character flow chart has made the rounds the last few weeks, breaking down all the female archetypes and subtypes into… yeah, you get it…STEREOTYPES.
See, it’s fine if a male protagonist is larger than life. Courageous. Putting honor and duty before his personal life. But when a woman character does this? Watch out! There’s something very wrong with her…
Or maybe there’s something wrong with us. If the heroine is going to grow and expand as a character-form, shouldn’t we allow her the same opportunities male protagonists have had in the past?
Or, to put this in terms that might make more sense, I present you with Kristin Muzina‘s fictional take on the matter, a bit of an ode to the heroines of television and beyond. A dear friend and my Antarctica traveling companion, I think Kristen has put this into better terms than I ever could… Or rather, her heroines are the ones who do the talking.