pop culture lady heroes


Is the use of the word 'heroine' going out the door like the word 'actress'? If so, I approve and join in.  I much prefer 'Heraes' instead.  Just kidding.

Anyway, DAMES. Broads. Birds. Chicks. Gals.  Pop culture female characters regularly fail the Bechdel test with scores that would put my high school math exams to shame.  They're too often one-dimensional, oversexed, needy, subservient, and rarely want anything more than to bag a husband.

But every now and then a character comes along who is brainy, ambitious, clever, witty, resilient, funny, inventive, strong, and/or committed to the people and causes she cares about.  When misogyny and cookie-cutter female characters in pop culture get us down, it's good to remind ourselves of Pop Culture Lady Heroes. Not all of them wield guns or have medical degrees or possess supernatural powers or save the world (though many of them do).  But each of them stands up for themselves and makes their voice heard.

Recently I stumbled upon a tumblr artist named Spencer who wanted to honor some of these characters in a way they truly deserved: as saints.  I had no choice but to buy the whole collection.

From the upper left (with links to the shop and close-ups of each print):

Leslie Knope: Our Lady of Ambition (Parks and Recreation, Amy Poehler)
Zoe Washburne: Our Lady of Loyalty (Firefly, Gina Torres)
Ellen Ripley: Our Lady of Survival (Alien, Sigourney Weaver)
Liz Lemon: Our Lady of Having It All (30 Rock, Tina Fey)
Dana Scully: Our Lady of Skepticism (The X-Files, Gillian Anderson)
Buffy Summers: Our Lady of Protection (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sarah Michelle Gellar)
Kara "Starbuck" Thrace: Our Lady of Destruction (Battlestar Galactica, Katee Sackhoff)

Now I just need the artist to do a few more ladies before the collection can be complete (in my eyes).  Help me figure out what their sainthood should/could be! Please post your suggestions in the comments.

-Rose Tyler from Doctor Who ("Our Lady of Perpetual Life" because of that time she looked into the heart of the Tardis and made Jack live forever? Or "Our Lady of Devotion" because of how she chose the Doctor over everything else, and crossed a universe to find him again?)
- Martha Jones from Doctor Who ("Our Lady of Self-Care" or "Our Lady of Healing" or "Our Lady of Knowing When to Get Out")
- Donna Noble from Doctor Who ("Our Lady of Sass" or "Our Lady of Temping")
- Annie Sawyer from Being Human ("Our Lady of Spirits" or "Our Lady of Tea")
-  Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan from M*A*S*H ("Our Lady of Discipline" or "Our Lady of Taking No Bullshit")
- Michonne from The Walking Dead ("Our Lady Of Her Shit Never Stopping Being Together"--reaaaaally want this one)
- Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo ("Our Lady of Vengeance" or "Our Lady of Hacking")
- Tina Belcher from Bob's Burgers ("Our Lady of Maintaining A Healthy Fantasy Life" or "Our Lady of Voicing Desires")
- Bliss Cavendar from Whip It ("Our Lady of Being Your Own Hero")
- Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones ("Our Lady of Dragons"--DUH)
- Maude from Harold and Maude ("Our Lady of Communicating with Life")
- Jen Barber from The IT Crowd ("Our Lady of Relationship Management")
- Miranda from Miranda ("Our Lady of Jokes"--cause she owns a joke shop AND she's funny. I don't know.)
- Veronica Mars from Veronica Mars ("Our Lady of Detection" or "Our Lady of Mystery Solving")
- Paikea from Whale Rider ("Our Lady of Upholding Tradition" or "Our Lady of Fighting the Patriarchy"--ok, that last one isn't great.)

Alright, so most of those titles aren't winners, and I'm sure that some people wouldn't consider all these women to be strong female characters, but I do.  Who would you want to declare as a saint, and for what?


Spiro said...

I also thought of veronica mars--- interesting how many of these are from television.

jonathan edmund said...

Turanga Leela from Futurama! "Our Lady of Kicking Ass & Taking Names" or "Our Lady Captain" or "Our Captain of Future Feminism". Something like that.

Hushpuppy from Beasts of the Southern Wild! "Our Lady of Being A Piece of the Big, Big Universe"

Allie said...

These are very inspirational

LaLa said...

Cj Craig (of west wing) - our lady of sassy

Courtney said...

Oh man, these are awesome. I've been watching a lot of Sons of Anarchy lately, so I'd add Gemma Teller, Our Lady of Family. Or maybe I should say Our Lady of Bikers.

Someone already beat me to adding my other favorite Katey Sagal character--Leela from Futurama. :)

kj said...


Maryann said...

Jonathan, Leela and Hushpuppy--YES! Also, I totally forgot Katniss. Our Lady of Competition? Our Lady of Ingenuity? Our Lady of Resilience?

YES TO CJ CRAIG. Love her.

I need to get on Sons of Anarchy, Courtney. I hear her character is very good.

jonathan edmund said...

Definitely Our Lady of Resilience for Katniss. =D