When I was in college, I saw the movie Casablanca with a theatre full of classmates. At one point, Humphrey Bogart’s character tells Ingrid Bergman’s character, “I’ll do the thinking for the both of us.” The audience howled. Happily, the steady march toward strong, complex women in movies and literature has continued.
Some fantasy and science fiction books and movies with strong females willing to swing a sword, shoot a bow, or otherwise face a foe without the help of a man include:
• Arwen & Eowyn in “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien
• Luthien in “The Silmarillion” by J.R.R. Tolkien
• Brienne of Tarth and Arya Stark in “Game of Thrones” by George R.R. Martin
• The White Witch in “Narnia” by C.S. Lewis
• Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins
• Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara) in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson
• Merida (Kelly Macdonald) in Brave
• Selene (Kate Beckingsale) in Underworld
• Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) in Aliens
• Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) in The Fifth Element
• Fiona (Cameron Diaz) in Shrek
• Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) in The Terminator
In the spirit of the indomitable heroine, DeviantArt user joshwmc took some classic Disney damsels and gave them some teeth. No more laying asleep waiting for the prince to arrive! That time is better spent sharpening a weapon or practicing martial arts!
“Princess Aurora is the titular character of Disney’s 1959 animated film Sleeping Beauty. The Disney version of the character was based on the French version of the tale by Charles Perrault, written in 1634 in Histoires ou Contes du Temps Passé. She is also known as Briar Rose which is the title of the German version of the fairy tale written by the Brothers Grimm.”
“”Beauty and the Beast” (French: La Belle et la Bête) is a traditional fairy tale. The first published version of the fairy tale was a rendition by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, published in La jeune américaine, et les contes marins in 1740.
“Cinderella,” or “The Little Glass Slipper”, is a folk tale embodying a myth-element of unjust oppression/triumphant reward. Thousands of variants are known throughout the world. The title character is a young woman living in unfortunate circumstances that are suddenly changed to remarkable fortune.”
“Mulan is set in China during the Han Dynasty. The film’s title character, Fa Mulan, is the only daughter of aged warrior Fa Zhou. She impersonates a man and takes her father’s place during a general conscription to counter a fictitious Hun invasion led by Shan Yu.”
“Pocahontas is the title character of Disney’s thirty-third animated feature film Pocahontas. The character and the events she goes through are very loosely based on the actual historical figure Pocahontas. Pocahontas, as the daughter of a Native American paramount chief, is the first American Disney Princess.”
“Rapunzel is therein character who appears in Walt Disney’s film Tangled (2010), based on the German fairy tale by The Brothers Grimm. A princess born with long, magical golden hair, Rapunzel is stolen from her parents at infancy and raised by a vain woman who exploits her hair’s healing abilities in order to remain youthful.”
“Snow White is the main character from Walt Disney’s first animated feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The character of Snow White was derived from a fairy tale known from many countries in Europe, including the one collected by the Brothers Grimm.”
“Tiana is the main character from Walt Disney’s film The Princess and the Frog (2009). Tiana is a hardworking waitress who dreams of opening her own restaurant. Her progress is stalled when she kisses a prince who has been turned into a frog and becomes a frog herself. The ninth Disney Princess, Tiana is the first to be of African American heritage.”
This article is also posted in the San Diego Children’s Book Examiner.