Hollywood is a male-dominated industry, always has been and it always will be. Even though it is making a very small change for actresses to be on par with the actor, it still has a long way to go before there is gender equality in the industry. Just ask Patricia Arquette, she ended her acceptance speech at the Oscars with a demand for gender equality and Reese Witherspoon told one interviewer on the red carpet. “It’s hard being a woman in Hollywood.”
Despite that clear sexism and bias in the industry, over the years a number of iconic female movie characters have emerged and have challenged the stereotype of female roles only being a damsel in distress and/or a sex symbol but have instead shown the audience characters that are courageous, intelligent and strong. These characters have gone on to change the face of cinema.
Here is my list of five most awesome female movie characters that have challenged the stereotype and have changed the perception of female characters.
Hermoine Granger (Harry Potter franchise)
When discussing most awesome female movie characters, Hermione HAS to make an appearance. She’s the brain in all of the schemes, part of the trio and even slapped Draco. If it wasn’t for her intelligence, the boy who lived would be dead and Ron would be just another Weasley.
Also, who can forget the iconic line “it’s not levioS-A-R, it’s levioS-A” from Philosophers Stone, one of the many classic lines Hermione had to offer over the years. Despite the fact she was bossy and very confident, she struggled to make any friends which makes her even more likeable.
She was brave, intelligent and an overachiever. She was not the hero nor was she a sidekick, she was in a league of her own. Even though the franchise has ended she still continues to inspire us with her strength and fearlessness.
Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games Franchise)
Katniss Everdeen is a strong, kick ass character who volunteers herself as tribute for her sister and joins the deadly Hunger Games. The hot-tempered, no shit taking, bow-wielding Katniss is independent, bold, daring and not prone to any emotion that could take her attention away from the Games.
But amidst the enthusiasm over Katniss’s awesomeness, it’s easy to forget what basically keeps her alive is not superior speed, strength, or cleverness, but rather an attribute that no one else in the arena has. It’s actually the relationship she makes that keep her alive, not the weapons.
Katniss becomes the strong female character which others before her and after her have not yet lived up to. She is after all The Girl on Fire, the Mockingjay, and the leader of the revolution.
Princess Merida (Brave)
Even though Princess Merida is an animated character, she is still awesome enough to make the list. Merida is a brave, empowering, bold, stubborn and a rebellious girl who does not fit the stereotypical princess role.
She was the first Scottish princess and Pixar’s first entry into the Disney Princess franchise. She was a princess who looked like a real girl, complete with the ‘imperfections’ that all women have and yet, Disney tried to make her more sexualised in 2013 by glamming her up for their princess collection. Consequently they faced a widespread of criticism and later removed it from their website.
Rather than being a damsel in distress who follows the customs, traditions, and social restrictions her society places on her, she openly rebels and defies her heritage as a princess and would like for nothing more than to be a normal girl.
Elizabeth Swann Turner (Pirates of the Caribbean)
Elizabeth is a spirited, intelligent, and independent-minded character who initially starts off playing a damsel in distress but then becomes kick ass but still faces restrictions imposed on her gender and social class. Throughout the three films, she transforms from a young girl to a proper lady and finally into a courageous pirate.
Keira Knightley plays Elizabeth so how can you not like her, she is most definitely awesome.
Fa Mulan (Mulan)
My final most awesome female movie character is Mulan, she is hands down the best Disney princess ever. Like Princess Merida she is not your typical Disney princess, she is the definition of heroism. The film follows a young woman who disguises herself as a man so she can take her father’s place in the army and go to war. With the help of her dragon sidekick Mushu, she becomes a warrior and one of the country’s greatest heroines.
Mulan switches between a male and female identity and equally portrays the traditional qualities of both genders. This shows what a masterpiece the film truly is. Furthermore, the soundtrack is iconic. Reflection is a lyrical genius.
So there you have it, that’s my list of five most awesome female movie characters. Did your favourite make the list? What would you add? Have your say in the comments section below.