Amazing women of fandom

This isn’t a meme yet, but I suspect that it’s turning into one and I couldn’t resist. This was posted in [info]fandomsecrets over the weekend and triggered a huge discussion of female characters in SF. [info]misscam‘s response here was brilliant and I’ve now seen a few people list their amazing, strong female characters so I had to join in.

Donna Noble, Doctor Who. I am so predictable, but she’s one of the first characters that comes to mind. She’s strong, she learns just how brilliant she can be, she doesn’t take anything lying down and in Turn Left we saw that all she needed was circumstances to find her inner-awesome. It’s not dependant on the Doctor. I still haven’t forgiven RTD.

Ace McShame, Doctor Who. She killed a Dalek. With a baseball bat. She blew stuff up with homemade explosives. She got ridiculously excited about rocket launchers. She killed Cybermen with gold coins and a sling shot. She could be so incredibly vulnerable (see Curse of Fenric, Ghostlight et al) but always came through it stronger. It seems entirely appropriate that she was destined to become a Time Lady if the show had continued.

Tegan Jovanka, Doctor Who. She accidentally wandered into the TARDIS and, after he initial WTF-ness, proceded to be awesome and help to defeat the Master. Yes, she spent the first few adventures trying to get back to Heathrow, but when she was given the chance to stay on Earth, she didn’t. She was loud and bossy and sometimes rude, but she was brave and caring and funny as well. Bonus points for leaving team TARDIS when she needed to, rather than getting killed or left behind by accident.

Sarah Jane Smith, Doctor Who and SJA. It is hard to express the sheer awesomeness of Sarah Jane. She’s smart and brave and curious, which is how she hooks up with the Doctor in the first place. There are times when she’s scared, but never times when she lets her fear get in the way of doing what needs to be done. OK, yes, there were a few poor fashion choices (pink dungarees? Seriously?) and the writers needed to find better cliffs for her to fall off so that it looked slightly less lame to be rescuing her from small hillocks, but I blame that on 70s TV budgets. In the recent series she has matured but still saves the world regularly with a sonic lipstick. She’s a mother, not just to Luke, and she isn’t afraid to let her chicks go out there and save the world as well.

Susan Ivonova, Babylon 5. There are no words to express my love. Susan doesn’t take crap from anyone, she stands up to the biggest, nastiest aliens out there and she can be sort of diplomatic if she has to be. Although she is very much attached to her Russian heritage and that can inform her ‘diplomacy’ at times. She sleeps in slinky nightwear and could probably drink Garibaldi under the table, if the vodka was good enough. I think Ivonova was the first character that I wanted to “be” when I was a teenager.

CJ Cregg, The West Wing. My mantra for the last few years has been “I want to be CJ when I grow up”. TWW is filled with wonderful female characters, but CJ outshines them all. She’s smart and sassy and strong, at times she can be a total dork, and Josh is afraid of her even if he won’t say it out loud. Her conscience regarding lying to the press is what kept her out of the loop sometimes, but she’s got the strength of character to overcome that when she needs to as Chief of Staff. I want to be CJ when I grow up.

Miranda Bailey, Gray’s Anatomy. She’s tough and scary and really short, but she can do all that and be a caring person at the same time. Is some of that scariness to overcome the disadvantage of being female in a male profession (and really short)? Totally. Do I care? No, because she’s tough without turning into a man in skirts and can be beautifully feminine with pride.

Hermione Granger, Harry Potter. Try to imagine what it must have been like for her those first months at Hogwarts. Yes, she’s excited about the magic and the spells and the history and all, but underneath? Who wouldn’t be terrified to discover that everything you thought you knew about the world was wrong. She doesn’t curl up and cry or run away, she grasps everything with both hands and doesn’t flinch when Harry and Ron’s adventures sort of roll over her. By book 7 she’s the one that knows what to do and puts things together. She survives terrible things and comes out more awesome. Where would Harry and Ron be without her? Probably dead, with Voldemort ruling the world.

Alanna of Trebond and Olau, Tortall books. For the first two books she’s disguised as a boy and through that discovers what kind of woman she wants to be. Then she goes out into the world and is awesome for the second half of the series. She can compete on equal footing with the boys and finds ways to compete when her size is against her. Despite the early years disguised as Alan, she never becomes a man in skirts character. Her romances are sweet and about strengthening her rather than becoming an attachment to a man.

Kerowyn, By the Sword and other Valdemar books. She’s tough and smart and she has a magic talking sword. Kero knows what she wants and she does it. She’s also able to accept it when life takes unexpected turns and take full advantage of new opportunities. There aren’t many female mercenary characters out there and they are often the hard-bitten, faintly nasty sort of bit-characters that appear as opposition to our hero. Kero is the herione and she’s brilliant for it.

Connie Beauchamp, Holby City. Not SF fandom, but HC has a teeny tiny fandom out there somewhere, I’m sure. Connie can be a complete bitch, a caring friend or a loving mother. She can be all three at once sometimes. Husband betrays her? She sniffles for three seconds and then goes for revenge. Connie can be more ambitious than is good for her, she hates being reminded of her roots and she makes bad decisions for bad reasons as often as for good reasons. We’ve watched her use men to further her career, but we’ve also seen her heart broken when she allows someone to see her vulnerability so we understand her. She’s a character that is fun to watch because even when you’re hating her, you know that you’ll love her again in two weeks’ time.

I know that I’ve missed a few and people will probably remind me of them as soon as I post this, but these are the immediate ones that come to mind. So who are your strong, amazing female characters?

ETA: OMG, how could I have forgotten Buffy? And Faith? And Willow? Hell, the entire female cast of Buffy deserve their own accolades. Then there are Kira Nerys and Jadzia Dax from DS9, although Dax is slightly more problematic because how do you classify a symbiote currently in a female body but previously in a male one?

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