Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tough Girls


Somebody asked me recently why I tend to have such strong women in my fiction.

Frankly, I don't understand any writer who doesn't.

Ask any guy who has ever had a kidney stone if he'd elect to have another. The pain, so they say, is fierce. About like that of childbirth. And, of course, when you ratchet the distance up to ultra-marathon range, fifty, a hundred miles, women win as often as men. No, they don't have the upper body mass that all that testosterone confers, but like the U.S. Calvary was supposed to have said about the Lakota Sioux, If you are captured by the Indians, don't let them give you to the women ...

Partially, it's because I grew up reading and watching action-adventure stuff in which women were featured as being capable. Sure, all those old shows and books are pretty silly when you look at them now, but between Emma Peel (Diana Rigg, The Avengers, with whom every boy I knew was in serious lust and love) and Modesty Blaise? They were the direct ancestors of the strong women on TV and in movies who followed.

A few that come immediately to mind: Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher, Star Wars; Private Vasquez and Ellen Ripley (Jenette Goldstein and Sigourney Weaver, in Aliens; Linda Hamilton's Sarah Connor, in T2; and the vampire Selene, (Kate Beckinsale, in Underworld; Gina Torres, as Zoe, in Firefly/Serenity, and, of course, Lucy Liu -- in anything.

Tough girls. And it didn't hurt that they are also easy on the eyes. ...

3 comments:

Dan Gambiera said...

You forgot "...and Tiel Ansari" :-)

Dan Moran said...

Timing is everything -- was always a fan of the blonde chick at the end of the "Heavy Metal" cartoon. Just the right girl at the right moment ...

Recent years have been good for tough girls -- watching Buffy with my kids on DVD recently, and it's a better show than I'd expected. Buffy's a healthier role model than any other female character of previous years I can think of -- Xena had to dress up in a ridiculous costume and was overtly sexualized. (And the Heavy Metal chick was, you know, half naked -- I liked it, but it was not role model territory.)

Buffy's not sexualized though she is sexual -- I'll give Whedon credit for doing that on purpose, and not just because the character was 16 when the show started and he couldn't sexualize her. She's just tough and resourceful and a pleasure to watch.

Dan Moran said...

I left a long post about Buffy and what a great role model she was, sexual but not sexualized, tough and not dressed up in fetish garb -- I also said something nice about the blonde chick in the Heavy Metal cartoon. OK, it wasn't a wildly consistent post, but it was longer. Then Blogger ate it.

Ctrl-C is my friend. Moving on ...