Buffy Summers

Buffy Summers

Two of my favorite heroines are Buffy and Xena, not only because they are badass babes, but because everything doesn't just come easy for them. Season after season, they endure all kinds of hardship and come out at the end kicking (and swearing)--the phoenix rising from her ashes. Maybe they are emotionally, mentally and physically scarred, but they keep on keeping on despite the fact that they are abandoned by friends and family and...you know...die. Sometimes twice. It takes some real grit to keep fighting evil after you're dead. Twice.
Xena Warrior Princess

Xena Warrior Princess

I've always appreciated a strong female lead and was impressed that when Joss Whedon was asked: "So why do you write these strong female characters?" he responded with "Because you're still asking me that question." Yeah Joss. That's why I watch all your stuff. Also because it's awesome.
When I was little, I was completely enamored with Wonder Woman. Because first of all, she's an Amazon princess. Then you add the invisible jet, magic lasso of truth and bullet-repelling bracelets.... Plus, in comic books her hair is blue! What's not to love?
Today there are myriad strong female characters spouting lines like: "Touch me and that hand will never touch anything again," and "So are you going to kill me or are we just making small talk?" Any guy (or girl) who's been shot down by a woman, knows nothing stings quite as much as snarky words from a hot chick.
Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

Yes, we've come a long way, but we're still in that awkward transitory stage where women can be badasses, but they're still required to wear impossibly revealing outfits and stilettos while doing it. One of my biggest beefs with Star Trek: Voyager, is that when they rescued 7 of 9, they took her out of her leather armor and combat boots and stuck her in a catsuit and stilettos. That doesn't even make sense. I know it appealed to the target audience (pimply males) but c'mon. Wedges at least. The point is, we still have a ways to go.


Side note: one of my least favorite things anyone has ever said to me is, "Women are supposed to be soft."
Psh. What? "Supposed to be" by whose decree? Inanna the Sumerian Queen of Heaven wasn't soft. She's been around since 2,000 BCE. She is the goddess of love, fertility and lust, but not of marriage (burn!). She isn't just a love-them-and-leave-them type of goddess. She's a black widow. She's also the goddess of war (double burn!). Years later, legend has it that the badass Amazons hacked or burnt off their right breast so it didn't get in the way of their bow-pulling or javelin-throwing skills. They fought in the Trojan War and popped in and out of history in their badass fashion. See Herodotus' account of the Amazons settling with the Scythians:
Amazon Warrior

Amazon Warrior

"The Amazons (also called oiropatas -- man-killers) were taken captive by the Greeks and put on board ship where they murdered the crew. However, the Amazons didn't know how to sail so they floundered until they landed by the cliffs of the Scythians. There they took horses and fought the people. When the Scythians figured out that the warriors they were fighting were women, they resolved to impregnate them and schemed accordingly. The Amazons didn't resist, but encouraged the process which was complicated by a language barrier. In time, the men wished the women to become their wives, but the Amazons, knowing that they couldn't live within the Scythian patriarchy insisted the men leave their native land. The men obliged and a new land was set up. These people became the SAUROMATAE who spoke a version of Scythian adapted by the Amazons."
- Herodotus Histories 4.110.1-117.1
They moved in, let the men make their babies for them and then kicked them out. Sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.
River Tan

River Tam

Because I grew up reading about the Amazons, I have a hard time being impressed by any heroine who lapses into a coma when her boyfriend leaves, falls in love with the guy who beats her up or hides under laundry when things get rough. I'm trying to be subtle here, but you probably know which books I'm referring to.
I've compiled a list (in no particular order) of some badass heroines from movies, TV and books who make me want to put my stilettos on and kick a bad guy in the face. They're not perfect, but that's okay. That just makes me love them more.


  • Ripley from Alien (has no need for an upper lip)
  • Thursday Next from The Eyre Affair (engages in clever wordplay while fighting crime)
  • Clarice Starling from The Silence of the Lambs (6th greatest protagonist according to this)
  • Medea from Medea (yeah, some of the stuff she did was a little messed up, but hey, she got to ride off in the Sun god's chariot!)
  • The Bride from Kill Bill (looks great in yellow)
  • Hester Prynne from The Scarlet Letter (strong and silent)
  • Sarah Connor from The Terminator (has great arms)
  • Dagny Taggart from Atlas Shrugged (has this site dedicated to reasons she is cool)
  • Charlene Elizabeth Baltimore from The Long Kiss Goodnight (just a lot of butt-kicking)
  • The Bride

    The Bride

  • Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird (start young and stay strong)
  • Sarah from Labyrinth (I would have run screaming at the first "'ello".)
  • Hermione Granger from Harry Potter (smart and strong)
  • G.I. Jane from G.I. Jane (looks great bald)
  • The Duchess from The Duchess of Malfi (what's a girl got to do to get some peace?!)
  • Maggie Fitzgerald from Million Dollar Baby (serious badass)
  • Una from The Faerie Queen (pulls the Redcrosse Knight out of his funk)
  • Eowyn from the The Lord of the Rings (doesn't take no for an answer)
  • Lisbeth Salander from The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (I don't want to &@$% with her. Do you?