For Discussion: Where Have All the Heroines Gone?

My drunk-ass brother wants to know.

We’ve got Ripley, the archetype. Sarah Connor, who followed. Those are the ones I love and think of immediately as soon you mention film heroines. In fact, I’ve mentioned before that I believe Ripley is the greatest film hero of all time, period, and I mean even when stacked up against the men. It’s about going from your normal, every day life, into the shit.

Notably, the second films in each of their respective franchises are considered as good or better than the originals, although I still think both characters were better before they became gun-wielding soldiers. I would call it a cliche except I’m fairly certain they started that particular cliche, the Action Girl.

He mentioned Sidney Prescott (from the Scream franchise), Clarice Starling (from Silence of the Lambs), Carolyn Fry (doomed captain from cult classic Pitch Black), Is this mostly about genre and not about gender?


Oh. And almost immediately I think of a recent one: Elizabeth Swann from the Pirates franchise. That’s a pretty good one, too, only driven partially off the rails by executive meddling in the middle of the second film. If you’re watching carefully, all three films open with her (barring the summoning prologue in the third). She was the main character.

To be clear, I’m not looking for superheroines (Storm, Silk Spectre, Wonder Woman). There is nothing extraordinary about a superhero acting like a superhero. I’m looking for the ordinary woman that faces a situation in which she would be entirely justified in just throwing her hands up and announcing, “We’re fucked, it’s over.” The waitress who beats the cyborg. The trainee-agent who beats the serial killer. Etc.

~ by Gabriel Malor on March 14, 2009.

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