Let’s Talk about Strong Female Characters: My Top 10 Kickass Ladies

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There’s been a lot of talk lately (and rightly so) about feminism, fandom and the lack of “strong” (3-dimensional, interesting, complex, REAL) female characters in mainstream media. The above quote has been going around for a long, long time and I encourage you to find similar quotes from female writers. I just adore that quote, so I put it there.

There was a very interesting post about female protagonists here that I encourage you to read. The author talks about looking at the books she was reading to her child and her attempts to balance male and female protagonists, but they fall very short of a 50/50 split. (It ends up being more like 60/30)

When I saw that my spreadsheet project featured exactly zero actresses I realized I needed to do something. As an exercise I decided to put down my top 10 favourite female characters. Surely there were ten lady characters that kicked ass from TV shows and movies I love. Ten fictional ladies that I’d want to have a drink with, or at the very least were played by actresses I really enjoyed?

The first five were a breeze, and then suddenly I was struggling to come up with female characters that I liked, let alone strong female characters I admired or that I could take traits from to help me in my everyday life. I looked. Leading ladies didn’t suddenly come out from the woodwork, but there were strong, awesome characters that I was over-looking because I was too busy watching the leading men on the show. (Leading men talk a lot and the camera likes to spend lots of time pointed at them.)

A lot of these characters are supporting characters, in fact they all are except Rey* and an argument can be made for Clara and Sara Lance who are both part of an ensemble of sorts. Yet they are kick ass in their own way, furthering the plot and embodying traits that I want to emulate in my everyday life.

So here’s my list, I know I’m forgetting lots and I’d love to see your lists in the comments.

(In no particular order)…

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Feeling Fake Fangirl Feels.

I feel like an imposter or a fraud.

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Not quite. More like I feel like a fraud for calling myself a fangirl. A fake fangirl if you will.

Let me explain. When I wrote “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Being a Fangirl” it felt very important to me to reach out into the void and talk about this great label “fangirl” and how it applied to me, because I had gone so long without knowing and I didn’t want anyone else to feel that way if they didn’t have to. That hasn’t changed, that label is still an excellent one for me. In fact, if given the opportunity I will happily extol the virtues of it as an important part of your complete lifestyle. That article has received the most views and comments of any article on this blog and I love that people have responded so positively.

However, the truth is that sometimes I hate being a fangirl and I keep all my fangirly thoughts to myself out of fear of how others will treat me. Sometimes I wish I watched all shows once, had no immediate need to see them again and just moved on. Sometimes, I wish I didn’t need to watch the full filmography of an actor because I need to chase the acting trends that are apparent in their work. (ie: Norman Reedus so often having a cigarette in hand.) Occasionally I think, damn all these feels, why can’t I just watch a show for the CANON PLOT.

The truth is I can’t do any of those things, they aren’t part of my personality and I feel like a fraud to want these qualities and at the same time to receive happy, thankful comments on something I’ve written.

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These Are a Few of My Happy Things…

Disclaimer: I get that now maybe isn’t a good time to come out and say, “look at all these happy things!” but there never will be a good time. I hope they bring a little joy to others.

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One of the things I love about being on Verity! Podcast is the inclusion of our “happy things” section we start each full episode with. I may moan about finding a happy thing some weeks, but it is nice to see what is going on in the world of Doctor Who that has my co-hosts excited.

Of course, Doctor Who isn’t my only love and as a proud multi-fandom lovin’ person I thought it might be nice to devote a blog post here and there to talk about things I’m excited about in different fandoms. Read on for Supernatural, Walking Dead, superheroes (SPIDEYPOOL!), music, young Peter Capaldi, and more.

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My First Fandom: The Importance of The Phantom Menace

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Well, 2016 is here and with it a new theme for Verity! Podcast* and new topics to match that theme for us to talk about. Our theme this year is “firsts”, and it’s one I’m rather excited about because there is so much room to wander around. We have episodes to pick apart and experiences to discuss with each other. I hope to take away a new appreciation of some things my cohosts enjoy because that’s part of the fun of sharing a love for a TV show. Of course, Verity! Is about Doctor Who, and as someone who is so proudly multi-fandom, it’s hard to dim that fangirl shine to just one fandom. I figured my own blog was a great place to talk about my first fandom; even before Queer as Folk graced my television set, posters for a certain big-name prequel graced my walls. I’m also talking about it because I’m really tired of hearing people heap complaints on it with The Force Awakens taking the world by storm.

Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace was my first fandom, even though I didn’t really associate with other fans either online or in real life. I had a kindred spirit to talk to about it, and we dreamed up elaborate starships and new characters based or set on first the movie and then the Jedi Apprentice book series. It was just her and I though, and when I wasn’t spending time with her I had the movie, the novelization, the tie-in books, and the multitude of extras and merchandise that Lucasfilms put EVERYWHERE. I spent so much money on Lays chips, trying to get a bag with a certain character card in it. I threw myself into the Star Wars universe and let imagining I was a Jedi soothe my troubles away.

It was the first movie I could quote all the lines in, the first movie I defended when I heard someone in school making fun of it, and it brought my first crush on an actor. That movie, regardless of whether you like it or not, helped me get through a rough time. A lot of that is because it happened to occur during a perfect storm of factors in my life.

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You’re Going to Fail, That’s How We Level Up.

Apologies! This has nothing to do with fandom unless exercising or reading is your fandom. I had a thought and needed to tell the world and that is how the internet is meant to be used. – Kat

Lately I find myself watching Masterchef or similar cuisine battle shows and cruising the Internet looking at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) sites (after job applications of course). It’s not that different from this time last year really, except I wouldn’t have been looking at BJJ sites and I don’t have a job.

I’ve learned a lot in this span of unemployment, which I hope, ends soon. I decided early on that I would challenge this whole notion I had of myself that I couldn’t be physically active. I’ve never been physically active. With the exception of a brief stint (two weeks max) playing rugby and floor hockey as a pre-teen I’ve never “done” sports. My family didn’t have the money, my family almost never had a vehicle and I just didn’t have the interest to go and get sweaty and kick a ball around when I could come home and read. I had a brief love affair with karate when a friend was in it but money became the deciding factor and I lived through her instead of joining myself.

Reading became my oasis then and it still is. I already knew how to read; as of now I’ve been reading for over twenty-four years and I think I’m damn good at it. Now I wanted to be good at exercising. Now I have time, some money, access to public transit, resources for research and many options. I decided enough was enough and set about doing healthy things like eating better and ditching fast food. I was going to enjoy this “exercise” that everyone I looked up to seem to do. I joined the YMCA and set about being a runner. I didn’t realize then but I was clay. The clay that now was running in the gym couldn’t hold a shape when I tried and where I wanted a beautiful vase I ended up with something that, maybe, could be an ashtray?

It wasn’t my body’s fault; not really, it had no idea what the hell I was doing to it. Running?! Lifting weights?! This was surely torture! It wanted to go home and cry. Go hand a book to someone who can’t read and demand they read it. Don’t allow them to sound out words or fumble for pronunciations, make them believe they need to do it now and properly. They will probably get frustrated, won’t get very far and they may even give up but there’s a great chance they won’t enjoy the experience. It makes perfect sense though doesn’t it?

So why couldn’t I understand that? That’s what I did to myself! Running on a treadmill was my book but I couldn’t read. There is so much pressure in this world, especially from the Internet, to exercise and do it well and maybe even enjoy it. I’m not thinking of the weight-loss groups. I’m thinking of the professionals that say we need to do it in some way, the friends who enjoy exercising, and the inspirational stories we hear from the media. They tell us we should exercise because it’s good for us, and it is! Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying you shouldn’t exercise; I’m saying that not everyone is the same. I’m saying that if you have never exercised don’t beat yourself up for being horrible at exercising at first.

Some of us aren’t in good shape and have never exercised and that’s okay.

As Ralph Wiggum says “my legs don’t know how to be as long as yours!”

You may laugh and think: ‘I know that, it’s common sense! I have to keep going and I won’t be good at it the first time but someday I will.’ There are different types of people in this world. How will you cope with that failure when your brain tells you that it’s pointless? What about when that failure happens for the eighth or ninth time? What if you’re the type of person who prepares for everything and have ever since you passed your first test and now you fail on that treadmill every time?

Picture that kid that always got picked last but spent hours in the library. Picture the kid with his or her inhaler. Picture the student who never wanted to play soccer and that was all his school offered so he or she opted not to exercise. They decide enough is enough for whatever reason and Google “beginner workouts.” A certain type of person will read the pages and pages that the internet spits out at them. They’ll learn about the right shoes and the right clothes and which gyms give you a discount during which month. It makes them feel secure because they are doing what they do best. They are researching, analyzing, absorbing the data and making decisions.

You can read running tips until you’re blue in the face and not understand it. You will understand many things about it and you might be better prepared than someone who just starts running one morning, but you still probably won’t have the coping mechanisms needed to pull yourself back up when you fail horribly at running. Don’t say you won’t fail though because it’s as likely as a Wilhelm scream in a Star Wars movie. There is an excellent chance that you won’t run nearly as fast as you thought you would or as far as you want to. Does this mean you should give up? No, the opposite! I’m in this step right now.

That physical exercise journey I mentioned at the beginning of this article? Joining Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was just the first step on that journey, but I hadn’t expected that in less than two months I would be thinking of all my physical activity up to this point or rather lack thereof.

I went into BJJ after reading a lot of material and watching a lot of videos. I researched every gym in my area and knew what to wear during that first class, what to expect and that I wouldn’t be the best in the class. I hoped I would have some innate talent though and hoped that I wouldn’t make an idiot of myself. I also hoped that the other people in class wouldn’t be mean and laugh at me. One out of three ain’t bad. The other guys in the class were very nice and treated me as an absolute beginner as did a great instructor.

Guess what, two months later I’m still an absolute beginner. It’s been two months and I still have trouble with a lot of things. People have come in since then and done better than me. Am I frustrated? Of course I am. Today I broke down crying after class because I just can’t seem to do what everyone else is doing. Have I questioned why I’m even doing this when I suck so badly at it? Yes I have. Did I quit? No, I didn’t. I’ve come close though and that’s the reason this idea, this concept dawned on me. I have over twenty years of reading experience and I’m great at it. I have zero years exercise experience so that’s why my body has no sweet clue what it’s doing. I can research, watch techniques and read motivational pictures but it won’t get any better. I can’t control every variable. I have to keep trying even if I get upset.


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If you love something like a sport or physical activity, don’t let it go. The movies lied. It won’t come back to you and you’ll only end up chasing it or wishing you had. To get better at jiu-jitsu you need to do jiu-jitsu. To get better at Zumba you need to go to Zumba. You have to read to get better at reading and sometimes doing something we are really good at won’t help us get better at other things.

Maybe this is common knowledge to everyone but it took me twenty-seven years to realize this terrifying fact. If you suck at exercising or whatever sport you’ve chosen to spend your time and money on but you are trying as best you can, keep trying. It’s okay to get help but you need to keep doing it to get the experience. Remember all the things you take for granted and do very well every day. You might not remember all the failures to help you get to that point as you might have been very young but there were failures. You kept trying then and you can keep trying now and someday you’ll reach an okay level and the frustration will fade a little and the failures will seem a little less embarrassing.

That’s in the future! Now stop reading this and go do that something! (I hear Verity! Podcast makes a wonderful exercise accompaniment.)