Strong Women in Fiction

Recently I started binging Kim Possible again. It was one of my favorite shows growing up. During my three or four day marathon I had business meetings with other creatives, and we- well I was addressing the fact that women (or the news) complain that girls and women don't have enough strong females on TV... This kind of came up when in one of my meetings I mentioned the live action Kim Possible movie coming out. One of the people I was talking to asked why we'd bring back Kim Possible if it had such a small fan base back then. Personally, I think it's because of the complaint that there aren't enough females to look up to.

...But here's the thing... There is no shortage of kickass females if you're willing to open your eyes. A few of them on prime time. In ABC's show American Housewife there's Katie and Anna-Kat Otto. Sadly the older daughter isn't portrayed as the brightest, but I do like Katie and Anna-Kat. Katie isn't afraid to fight against the masses on a lot of ideas and speak her mind, even if it isn't couth. Anna-Kat is a strong-willed kid who wants to understand the world, isn't afraid to look into darker themes, and she's not afraid to be herself even if she doesn't have a lot of friends because of it. In NBC's show I Feel Bad, Emet, the main character, is a working mom who admits on an episodic basis that there are things she doesn't like about herself, but she works on it, and like in real life some of the things she works on fall through. And Emet's mother, Maya is never afraid to speak her mind or call Emet on her shit. And although Elanor Shelstrop was a severely flawed person in NBC's other show The Good Place she's grown a lot into a decent person. She even faced her past with her mother which is a tough feat, I know. I was proud of how Elanor realized her mother was human just like she was. 

And there was no shortage of female role models when I was growing up. I grew up with Nani from Lilo and Stitch who handled more than the average person with ease. I grew up with Lizzie McGuire and Kim Possible. Things in Lizzie McGuire made me curious, and I'm not proud to say I had an eating disorder like the one Miranda had. Of course, it wasn't as easy as it looks like on TV, but that was one of the first times I saw an eating disorder on TV. As a kid, before the eating disorder, I had no idea why Miranda thought she was fat. I saw Lizzie take on too many causes at once like save the animals, you need to recycle, and so much more. Which yes, you should do those things, but she was thirteen and didn't understand all of the causes. I didn't want to be like that. There are causes I support, but I didn't want to take on too much. And in Kim Possible there not one female I didn't admire, even Bonnie the bully. Kim had hobbies, good friends, and dealt with school while saving the world. Monique held down a job from freshmen to senior year, and she got a promotion in her senior year. She also sketched and made some clothes. Shego was an amazing pilot, could kick major ass, and she did have an actual degree and a legal job to fall back on. And in one of the movies Shego actually conquered the world which yeah, is bad, buuut, we can't just have heroes to look up to. Then we have Kim's mom and grandma. Kim's mom is a neurosurgeon, who supports her kids within reason. And Kim's grandmother had one hell of a past where she was a hero of sorts just like Kim. In Static Shock, Virgil's sister Sharon was great at keeping the house together, making sure Virgil went to school, and everything. And even though I didn't watch much Star Trek, Moogie was an amazing woman who was done with the way Ferengi women were treated. They couldn't wear clothes, speak unless spoken to, and they couldn't earn money. She's one of the few adult women I was impressed by because in most media I can get my hands on women will sit in oppression until the next generation changes things. 

But TV isn't the only place you find women to look up to. Books are another great place to find strong females who don't take crap from anyone from like James Patterson's Maximum Ride to The Lake House and When the Wind Blows. In the whole Maximum Ride series there are at least five strong females I can mention; Max, Nudge, Angel, Dr. Martinez, and Maya. Max, honestly reminds me a lot of Nani from Lilo and Stitch because even though she lost Jeb so did the rest of her family. So she was able to make hard decisions that not everyone was going to like on more than one occasion. Max, Nudge, and Angel all had a very good sense of self considering they grew up being lied to and deceived by everyone that wasn't part of their family. Maya was led to believe she was just supposed to be Max, but she also found her sense of self and she was brave till the very end. Despite Dr. Martinez making mistakes in the past she was an amazing mom, doctor, vet, and so much more. She didn't have a big part, but she was amazing. Then there was Jade Leigh in Gena Showalter's Oh My Goth. She did her best to stand out, and even though I know that's what most teens do she was still dealing with the loss of her mom and a strict father. Then she went on an adventure to see how the popular people lived with the most popular girl learning the opposite.

Then there are new books and books coming out. Like Es from Nephrys Darkwater's Lotus that came out May of last year. Es starts out as an average woman who wanted a photography job that she got right before the world ended. She woke up in a cell on a ship. When she gets off the ship she starts to remember some memories of a past life. As her adventure continues, she remembers a lot about her past including some pretty traumatic memories, but that can't hold her back because she has to save her siblings. And Holly, one of Es' younger sisters, seriously stepped up when Es disappeared. She did everything in her power to keep her siblings safe.
Then there's Kimberly R. Cooper's upcoming book ABnormals. It will be released sometime this year. She wrote about a whole family of strong women of different generations. The story follows Ginnifer Dayes as she discovers a family secret involving her. She usually keeps to herself, but when someone dies and she thinks it's her fault she becomes determined to figure out what's going on with the help of her spunky cousin, Andria. Andria is more outgoing than her cousin and can be way more judgmental than Ginnifer. Katarina is Andria's mother and Ginnifer's aunt. She cares very deeply for the girls, but sometimes she can be a bit over protective. Natayliya is like the girls' grandmotherly figure. She's very optimistic and independent. She knows what she has to do to keep her family safe.

There are also so many women superheroes and villains. There are Starfire, Raven, Jinx, and She-Bang like I grew up watching. I know I've mentioned them before in a previous post, but in case you didn't see it I love how Starfire and Raven got to learn and grow from each other. They both have their own pasts and demons they have to face. They show they care in their own ways. I loved Jinx's character arc, but I can't say much more than that without ruining the show for all of those who haven't seen it yet. It was from 2003 but still. I also mentioned She-Bang before as well. She wasn't a big character in Static Shock, but she was one of the best women in the show. And hopefully Disney is bringing some new superheroes to life like Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan), Ghost Spider, Quake, and Squirrel Girl in Marvel Rising. Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl are total nerds, but as time's gone on that's been a good thing. It's kind of adorable what makes them want to be such great heroes. Ghost Spider has a tragic backstory, and she's trying to clear her name from being branded a villain. Quake is one of the top S.H.I.E.L.D. recruits, but she knows what she stands for besides just working for S.H.I.E.L.D.

Looking through my read list on Goodreads there is literally no shortage of strong female leads, supporting cast, and side characters. The point I'm trying to make is if you look for what you want to read and see then you may find it. There are quite a few females everywhere and anywhere. I'm currently reading The Superhero Book by Gina Misiroglu. So look forward to hearing from me soon.

Lotus by Nephrys Darkwater

If you want to see more from Kimberly R. Cooper check her out at: Kimberly's site or on: Kimberly's Twitter

If you want to read more about how I feel about Maximum Ride, her Flock, and the Teen Titans feel free to read my My Childhood Superheroes post.

So what are some of your favorite female characters and why? 


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