The Female Hero – An introduction

Introduction To The Female Hero

In the times of Beowulf, a hero had to be male, and the women had to simply be welcoming ceremonious hosts and play the role of Peaceweaver. In recent times, however, more and more female characters have proven themselves worthy of being made into legends, and have sometimes even outdone Beowulf himself in terms of their heroic actions.

Take a look at Scarlett O’ Hara from the award winning Margaret Mitchell novel. This is a tale about the actions one woman takes to ensure survival, of herself and of her family. She does act in a selfish, cold hearted way much of the time, which goes against the heroic code in Beowulf for example, but one can’t help but admire her strength and determination in getting what she wants. Even at the end, although her husband walks out on her she vows to get him back. She chooses not to focus on the negative aspect of him leaving her, but instead she puts it off until tomorrow. This mindset, if you know anything about females, would do many women with “the curse of overthinking” the world of good. This is why Scarlett is a hero in her own right, because she handles things in a way that not many women would do in her situation. She handles circumstances with cold hard logic along with a solid reasonable plan to back things up. She continues on in the face of adversity with vigour, resolution and most importantly independance.

Other female heroes one can’t help but admire are to be found in movies, graphic novels, books and in t.v. series, even video games. Sometimes even the females are somewhat more kick-ass than the males when it comes to video games. Take Lara Croft, the mansion owning, intelligent, tough chick who knows how to wield a gun and dodge boulders on her escapades all while looking smoking hot. And Jill Valentine from Resident Evil 1. Anyone who has played this game can see that she has surpassed Chris Redfield, the leading male character, in the game. Yes, he can shoot a gun. So can she. Along with this she can pick locks and mix herbs and play the piano (vital in certain parts of the game), whereas Chris needs the aid of a female to do these things.

In terms of films, it would be a sin not to mention Ellen Ripley, star of the all the Alien films. In all films she is the only one who knows how to properly deal with the problem of the Alien race threatning to impregnate earth with it’s species. Throughout several of the films she is met with doubt and ridicule, but she pushes on, knowing the right thing to do. That’s why she’s a hero. She is tough, courageous and even though she gets sexist and rude remarks from several of the other characters in all the films she takes it all on the chin. Not to mention the fact that she sacrifices herself for the sake of the human race in Alien 3. If that’s not an ultimate heroic act then I don’t know what is.

The main female hero that I’m interested in looking at is Buffy Summers, the female protagonist from Joss Wheden’s “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” series. I mentioned Scarlett O’ Hara and Ellen Ripley as characters that are role models to women worldwide, but Buffy tops both of these characters because of her femininity. Ripley and O’ Hara use cold logic and reasoning throughout their trials and tribulations. These are typically seen as male traits and Ripley definitely gets more masculine looking as the Alien films progress, and becomes more “male-minded”, if we define it that way.

Over in Sunnydale, Buffy Summers manages to rid the world of evil, save lives and kill demons, all while being a small feminine, blonde cheerleader who, at the same time as taking on the mouth of hell, cares about clothes, fashion and boys. It goes to show that you don’t have to give up your female characteristics to be a hero that both women and men respect. Because of the lack of compromise in this character, this is why she will be looked at more in depth than other female heroes.


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