Once again, this week I’m having a hard time coming up with 600 words worth writing. Some might say that I have yet to accomplish that feat in the entirety of my time on this column, but those people are cruel and should not be acknowledged. They’re more afraid of me than I am of them. Etc.
Yet again, I am turning to that old standby source of inspiration, Matt Jones. In his post yesterday, he asked his readers to pick the best female protagonist in geek media. The problem is I’m actually having a hard time narrowing it down.
First off, I’m going to eliminate any and all video game characters. In most cases, video game characters owe a lot to your choices and to what you bring to the character. I’m sure there will be people you can make convincing arguments for Lara Croft, Joanna Dark, and Fem Shep, I’m just not one of them.
That just leaves us with movies, novels, TV shows, and comic books. Easy answers are Xena, Ripley and Scully, but I’m not a huge fan of Xena, the Alien franchise, or X-Files so those are out. I love me some Battlestar and I seriously considered Six or Starbuck, but their character arcs get a little wonky as the show goes on. (Trying to avoid spoilers…) I think of all the women on BSG, Laura Roslin has the strongest case for being a great female protagonist. She is a strong leader, she bravely deals with cancer, and is incredibly compassionate. I would vote for her in a heartbeat.
Everyone knows my love of Star Trek, so you might think I’d turn to the Federation for my pick. Unfortunately, there aren’t a heck of a lot of good female characters on those shows. Captain Janeway is probably the first one that comes to mind, but she was on that franchise killer Voyager so it disqualifies her immediately. Same goes for Seven of Nine, B’Elanna Torres, and Kes. I’m also extending the disqualifications to Enterprise, so T’Pol and Hoshi. Finally, anyone who thinks Uhura and Nurse Chapel from the original series still qualify as strong female protagonists needs to get their warp core breached.
That leaves The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. Troi ended up being a decent character, but she started off pretty weak sauce. Dr. Crusher is fine, but doesn’t have much going on. Major Kira, I think, is the only one who stands a chance against the other women on this blog. She has a really interesting back story, she’s tough, and she has a great progression throughout the series. But, she still doesn’t quite make the top of the list.
Comic books are probably the first place that you expected me to turn to for strong female protagonists. Not because the medium is known for them, but because that’s what my columns are usually about. And, there are certainly some great female leads in superhero books – Wonder Woman, Storm, Batwoman, The Invisible Woman, Power Girl, and The Black Widow to name a few. But, because of the ever changing creative teams of comic books it’s often hard to pin a character down. Wonder Woman in particular is an ever changing character. Every creative team seems to have a whole new take on her. So, I guess I’m excluding comics too.
Well, superhero comics anyway. The character I’ve decided to go with does have her own comic book. But, she’s probably best known for her TV series – Buffy: The Vamprie Slayer. I know, not exactly a bold choice. The thing is, she is too great a character not to pick her. She’s funny, and strong, and very relatable. But, she also fights weird shit like zombies, demons and, obviously, vampires. She has a great collection of friends and enemies that come together and make her an even stronger character. I don’t know how anyone could consistently watch the show and not love her.
Anyway Matt, that’s my pick. She could kick your pick’s ass.
Graham Becksted likes the ladies. He is the author of Graham’s Grumbles the second blog by that name that is listed in Google results when you search for Graham’s Grumbles. If you would like to be his 71st follower (thank you, bots), he can be followed on Twitter @GrahamBecksted.