Strong female characters

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Strong female characters are usually considered a desirable thing in geek media such as science fiction, comic books, etc.

Examples of strong female characters in geek culture

(In some cases, "allegedly" strong female characters -- see criticisms below.)

  • Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda television series)
  • Beka Valentine (Andromeda television series)
  • Buffypromo.jpg
    Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie and television series created by Joss Whedon)
  • Zoe Washburne (Firefly television series and Serenity movie created by Joss Whedon)
  • Starbuck (new Battlestar Galactica television series)
  • Ellen Ripley (Aliens movie franchise)
  • Sarah Connor (Terminator movie franchise and The Sarah Connor Chronicles television series)
  • Xena ("Xena" Warrior Princess television series)
  • Olivia Dunham (Fringe television series)
  • Aeryn Sun (Farscape television series)
  • Samantha Carter (Stargate SG-1 television series)
  • Lara Croft (Tomb Raider computer games and movie franchise)
  • YT (Snow Crash novel by Neal Stephenson)
  • Esmerelda "Granny" Weatherwax (various Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett)
  • Tiffany Aching (various Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett)
  • Tanya (Command and Conquer: Red Alert game series)
  • The Star Trek page contains an incomplete list of female characters throughout the franchise.
  • Fiona (Burn notice television series)
  • Vin (Mistborn novels by Brandon Sanderson)
  • Samus Aran (Metroid video game series)
  • Beth Tezuka (Bravest Warriors webseries created by Pendleton Ward)
  • Aeon Flux (Aeon Flux)
  • Tetra (alter ego of Princess Zelda, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker)
  • Reika Kitami (Bible Black)
  • Kidd Summers (Pokemon: Lucario And The Mystery Of Mew)
  • Latias (Pokemon: Heroes The Movie)
  • Zorark (It is heavily hinted that the Zorark in Pokemon: Zoroark Master Of Illusions, is Female, or at least plays a mother role)
  • Donna Noble (Doctor Who)
  • Sarah Jane Smith (Doctor Who)
  • Kahlan Amnell (Sword of Truth books by Terry Goodkind)
  • Eve Dallas (In Death series by Nora Roberts)
  • Susan Ivanova (Babylon 5)
  • Lyta Alexander (Babylon 5)
  • Lagertha (Vikings television series)
  • Dagny Taggart (Atlas Shrugged)


A common criticism is that (some) strong female characters are one-dimensional.

Oft-cited problems with individual strong female characters include:

  • her strength is in martial arts, but she has no strength of character
  • she still has to conform to gender-normative standards of attractiveness
  • she will wear skimpy or fetishistic gear to fight in, and her battles and acts of heroism will be presented to the audience as erotic spectacles.
  • she will be strong right up until she can't deal with something and has to be saved by a man
  • her strength is diminished when she gets interested in a member of the opposite sex
  • her strength is primarily a narrative tool to measure a male protagonists' progress in his emotional maturity plot arc, in which his full maturation is signaled by getting the girl, and her interior life or own motivations are not portrayed (such female characters often feature in works that fail the Bechdel test)
  • she objectively has the power and skill needed to solve the work's central problem herself, but she is instead required to act as mentor, sidekick, or love interest to an initially less-effective male Chosen One (often referred to as "Trinity Syndrome" after the character from The Matrix).
  • she has no close female friends or female allies, and disdains "weaker" or more conventionally feminine women for not being "badass" (this is often a problem in works by less thoughtful male writers trying to create a "women can fight too!" character, whether motivated by sincere egalitarianism or a desire to titillate).

A more general problem with the concept is that, especially in geek media, "strong female characters" are often defined as "strong" purely in terms of having outstanding physical strength and combat ability. This arguably devalues other forms of "strength". It also validates violence as a means of resolving conflict, which is rejected by many strains of feminism.

Some blog posts on the subject:

"You know what's a problem? Strong female characters. First of all, why do we have to specify "strong" when referring to "female characters?" Why is this not a given? The default for male is not "strong" or "wusstastic," so why do we have to be so specific about the chicks?"
From Hark a Vagrant by Kate Beaton

Hopeful Upcoming Characters

These characters have yet to make an actual debut but so far seem that they may have interesting, good, or unique characteristics to add to the female character grouping. - To be looked at later

Kamala Khan from Marvel Comics

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