Here are a few of my favorite things: Nintendo, Penny Arcade, The Legend of Zelda, Mario, Pokemon, Harvest Moon, Fallout, Dungeons and Dragons, books, dice, Professor Layton, Shadow of the Colossus, Minecraft, and so much more. I'm going to talk a lot about video games, I sincerely hope you don't mind.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

10 Badass Female Characters to Take Lessons From

Amongst many pop culture icons, I feel there are a few that stick out more than the others. Batman, Iron Man, The Doctor, Captain Malcolm Reynolds...the list goes on and on. But compared to the men, there are a very small number of women in that list. They are no less influential, however, and I want to take a moment to focus on these ten particular femme fatales that have influenced me personally.

1. Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Just a regular Californian teenage girl, Buffy Summers was living out her glory days as a popular high school cheerleader, until a strange man approached her and told her she was destined to hunt and kill vampires and demons until the day she died. Needless to say, getting Buffy from cheering to staking was an arduous process. Nonetheless, she trained and fought and patrolled tirelessly, day after day. She died (and came back to life) twice. She had her heart broken countless times. She has had friends and family members die as a direct result of her own destiny as a Slayer. This girl has been through quite a lot. She is a saint, a badass, and a wonderful person to boot.

#1 Badass Moment:

2. Leeloominaï “LeeLoo” Lekatariba Lamina-Tchaï Ekbat De Sebat (The Fifth Element)

The “fare” that fell into Korben Dallas’s lap: 5’9”, blue eyes, long legs, great skin. You know, perfect. Korben had no idea that what fell into his cab that day was literally the perfect being: The Fifth Element, to be exact. LeeLoo is a being thousands of years old, whose main purpose is to maintain peace in the universe. She is fragile, yet tough as nails; beautiful, yet terrifying. As old as she is, she is never jaded. Brushing up on Earth’s history, she weeps at all the pain and terror humans have endured. At the end, the love of one man is enough to convince her that life is worth saving.

#1 Badass Moment:

3. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)

One of the smartest students to ever roam the halls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Hermione Granger had humble beginnings as a part of a very normal, very non-magic British family. When she was accepted to Hogwarts her parents were proud, and knew that their brilliant daughter would succeed in the world of magic. And succeed she did. Hermione’s staple move is eagerly throwing her arm into the air, ready to spit out the exact answer to whatever question is asked. SHE LITERALLY TRAVELED IN TIME TO TAKE MORE CLASSES. Constantly reading, learning, and loving her magical education (what smart muggle wouldn’t?!) is Hermione’s absolute joy. Other than her obvious intelligence, Hermione is brave. That is a quality that stuck out from the beginning, and most likely the main reason the Sorting Hat placed her in Gryffindor. From her first year as a Hogwarts student and the years beyond that, she helped Harry defeat the Dark Lord, amongst many other brave and selfless tasks.

#1 Badass Moment:

4. Donna Noble (Doctor Who)

Donna always knew she was smart; smarter than most, actually. She is an in-charge woman with a holler that can make a wild dog heel. She became the Doctor’s very best friend, and ultimately, his savior. She always knew when to make the Doctor stop, pay attention to his surroundings, and re-evaluate his decisions. She never hesitates to speak her mind; she is passionate, kind, brave, and loyal. As brought to our attention in the episode “Turn Left”, Donna Noble is the most important woman in the universe.

#1 Badass Moment:

5. River Tam (Firefly, Serenity)

River is a fugitive on the run, protected by her brother, Simon, and eventually the crew of Serenity. Little did they know, River would end up protecting them. This young woman, through no fault of her own, was brainwashed into becoming a super-assassin. She was chosen by a prestigious academy for her exceptional mind, and instead, she endured endless torture at the hands of greedy Alliance scientists, ultimately leading to Simon arranging an elaborate rescue mission. With the exception of a subliminally triggered attack on a crowd of innocents (and some well-deserved slices at a less-than-charming crew member), River is not a violent being. She is tortured by the pain and screams of the dead, and has no concept of weaponry--only the turmoil it can cause in the hands of the wrong person. She is selfless; constantly afraid, but rushing to the aid of those in need.

#1 Badass Moment:

6. Barbara Gordon/Batgirl/Oracle (Batman)

-Because there are many, many universes in which Barbara/Batgirl/Oracle exist, and each one has slightly different story lines, I will save us the trouble of being specific and just tell you about the reasons each one of her identities is collaboratively badass.-

Barbara Gordon is the daughter of Police Commissioner Jim Gordon, and is too smart for her own good. She seems to constantly get into tiffs with her father, who wishes she could keep out of public affairs, for fear of her safety. Her intelligence and curiosity drive her to become an assistant to the world’s greatest detective, Batman. For a while, she goes as far as becoming Batgirl, a female counterpart to Batman, patrolling the streets of Gotham and cracking cases with the Dark Knight. When she is brutally shot by the Joker, she becomes paralyzed from the waist down; but that doesn’t stop her. She may not be able to fly across rooftops and beat down the baddies, but she will remain stationed in front of her computer, helping Batman solve crime using the best tool at hand: her brain.

#1 Badass Moment:

7. Caroline Forbes (The Vampire Diaries)

Caroline started out as a control-freak teenager, focused on conquering high school and eventually the world beyond; so far, she was succeeding, because there’s nothing she isn’t good at. However, she was not anticipating becoming a vampire before she even got the chance to graduate. But, just like I said, Caroline is good at everything, even being one of the undead. She’s pretty much a perfect vampire. She is admired by everyone around her because of her perseverance, her selflessness, her love, her enduring faith in the importance of life and friendship. Not to mention, she is a force to be reckoned with. She will go to no end to defend the ones she loves and defeat those who may hurt them.

#1 Badass Moment:

8. Martha Jones (Doctor Who)

Martha Jones remains one of the most loyal and dedicated companions in Doctor Who history. Martha literally cared for the Doctor during the most vulnerable months of his life, traveled all over the Earth, by herself, just to tell his story, and continued to help defend Earth against whatever might harm it, all in the name of the Doctor. She is the epitome of a brave, loyal soldier, with a heart of gold and a brilliant mind. After everything she’s been through, she will still weep at the death of even the most seemingly unimportant being, because she will always have love and compassion for others.

#1 Badass Moment:

9. Éowyn, House of Eorl (Lord of the Rings)

A shieldmaiden of Rohan, Éowyn is a noble woman in a war-torn world. Her land, her family, and her people are infinitely loved by her, and she would fight to the death for them. Although her uncle, King Théoden, does not want her to join the battle against the Nazgûl, she dresses as a man and rides anyway, taking Merry Brandybuck (also denied the glory of battle because of his small Hobbit size) with her. Éowyn speaks her mind whenever she feels the need; passionately defends those who need defending; fights just as hard as she loves.

#1 Badass Moment:

10. Lara Croft (Tomb Raider)

An archeologist/vigilante/treasure hunter will always have my vote; especially one as classy as Lara Croft. The daughter of a Lord, she had all the wealth and opportunity at hand to become a very prominent member of aristocratic society. Instead, she chose to explore the world, fight the bad guys, make historic discoveries, learn every language she could, keep in touch with her spiritual side, and write all about it in the meantime. She’s what every tough, free-spirited female might aspire to be, a feminist counterpart to Indiana Jones. Not only that, she still gets to come home to the manor she inherited from her father, complete with loyal staff and a kick-ass wardrobe.

#1 Badass Moment:

What are some of your favorite characters (female or male...or neither)?


header/teaser image via


Excellent list of ladies. You forgot Xena and Gabrielle though :P

She's a super badass. But I know this is a list of badass women that have personally influenced Rachel, and I don't actually know if she's a fan of Terminator!

I second Xena and would like to add Rose Hathaway.

Thank you for including Caroline Forbes in this list. I know it's not a choice a lot of people would make, but I love that Caroline is both compassionate and tough and a lot of her real strength comes from that compassion, not revenge or anger. As much as I consider VD a guilty pleasure, I was thinking recently about how it does on the Bechdel test, and it does a lot better than a show like it should. The cast is pretty much 50/50 men to women, with the women being just as driven and involved as the men. While there is a focus on romance, the show also plays with the idea of the female characters being defined by these romances and more often than not, choosing their own paths.

[…] you read my last article (and if you did not, here it is), you know River Tam from Firefly is one of my favorite characters of all time. In the feature film […]

Of course! Caroline is my favorite character in the show, and I think she's very worthy of admiring. She's strong, independent, loyal, moral, compassionate, smart...she's what any young girl should aspire to be. Except the undead part.

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