22 December 2011

My Favorite Female Heroes -- Lois Lane, Sarah Walker & Elphaba

Since the launch of the Impala’s Trunk, I rarely blog about female characters. Today I will share with you some of my favorite female heroes in popular culture.

There are a few others that made it to my honorable mention list – The X-Files’ Dana Scully, Joss Whedon's Buffy, Terminator’s Sarah Connor, Stargate SG1's Sam Carter, Iron Man/ Avengers' Black Widow, Jane Austin's Elizabeth Bennett (especially the Pride & Prejudice & Zombies version); Leon’s Mathilda and Game of Thrones’ Daenerys Targaryen. But at the time of writing, I wanted to single out three female heroes who I think are the role models to the female species. Here are they are:

Lois Lane (Smallville, played by Erica Durance)

It’s known – I love Lois Lane in Smallville. I’ve never watched Lois & Clark or read the comic books. I’ve never been a fan of the Superman movies. I’ve never been a fan of Superman until Smallville. You can read about my love for Smallville here and here.

I can’t compare the way any characters were written or portrayed previously but I just love Smallville, partly because of Erica Durance’s Lois Lane. I think Erica is an amazing actress, she makes Lois 'Lois'. Lois kicks ass (including Clark’s). Her loyalty and persistence are remarkable. Her one-liners are as awesome as Dean Winchester’s. She is a true individual, she is witty and funny. Lois is perfect for Clark, unlike Lana, Lois doesn’t harass him for information, she is an understanding partner. At times, she feels insecure, but who isn't? The way she supports Clark and her friends (even Cat Grant!) when it matters, we see her true color. She doesn’t need a label to make herself look important. She is confident, she is comfortable. To me, it’s almost like she has no darkness and hatred in her.

Smallville was a story about Clark Kent before he became Superman. What Smallville also did right was the writing/ development of other characters who grew up with Clark (before they became who they were in the Superman story). What I like about Smallville is Lois’s journey in becoming a stronger person. This strong person became someone Clark could trust and rely on. She wasn’t just doing this to feed her own ego or curiosity. She wasn’t doing this to look cool. She genuinely wanted to play a role in the world saving crusade. Lois may not be a superhero with superpower, but she knew her role and she knew how to play it. She was the voice for the superheroes when they had none. She was their voice when they were misunderstood.

The chemistry between Lois and Clark in season eight to ten was particularly strong. It was refreshing because the Lana angst was gone, it was just dragging on and on and Lana, to me, had a weak mind – like the force wasn’t with her, if that makes sense?! I love the way Lois discovered Clark as the Blur and embraced his Kryptonian heritage. I love that she had a bit of fun with it too. That’s so Lois! I think because there was no darkness and confusion in her heart, her mind was clearer than Clark, and she could help him when others couldn’t. It took a strong person with a good heart to help Superman to fulfill his destiny.

And Lois has an awesome down-to-earth wardrobe and hair. I wants them precious!

Sarah Walker (Chuck, played by Yvonne Strahovski)

What I love about Sarah is that she is as strong as Lara Croft, as sexy as Lara Croft, but Sarah is likeable. I'm not saying I don't like Lara Croft, but quite frankly I don't really care about Lara Croft but Sarah is a very likeable character. She is one of the best spies, she is more than fighting and killing bad guys. She is confident, sexy and smart. She is everything Chuck wants.

Like Erica Durance’s Lois Lane, Yvonne Strahovski makes Sarah Walker awesome. She was a little known when she started playing the role (and I bet 80% of Australia don’t know about the awesome Yvonne!) But she is an amazing actress. She owns the role as Sarah Walker.

After watching Sarah’s backstory in Chuck vs. The Cougar, Sarah clearly became one of my favorite characters. Her past was such an interesting story! She was a misfit. She didn't fit in at school (and I don’t think she cared about fitting in), she was laughed at, she was bullied. She grew up with a con man father. She didn't have a normal childhood or a normal life, she didn't have any friends.

What I love about Sarah the most is that she does not like cliché. She actually struggles with the idea of normality and she has to work with Chuck on this. I think Chuck causes disruption, but it isn’t necessary a bad thing. Throughout the series, Sarah was becoming less Terminator. She has to adjust this love thing and to figure out where Chuck fits in. She could’ve been a Carina or General Beckman or Frost. But she is Sarah because of the life choices she made.

It takes a strong-minded person to make good choices in life. I don’t think adjusting her toughness and her spy life are necessary a sign of weakness. I think because her love is strong for Chuck, a new balance is for her to find.

Elphaba (Wicked, played by Idina Menzel)

It took me four shows to truly appreciate Elphaba. I think she is one of the best original female characters ever created. She had always been different in her appearance and her forward-thinking. When others were too weak to speak up and too afraid to help those in needs, she came through as a hero and defied gravity.

What I love about her character and her story is that, it wasn’t about accepting limits, it wasn’t about playing by the rules of someone else’s game. She believed everyone deserved the chance to fly. She may be flying solo but she was flying free. She couldn’t care about what others would say about her in generations to come. She was one of those people who would say, “Screw you, that’s just who I am. In fact, you go tell others how awesome I am!”

For those who were too weak to dream and too afraid to fulfill their own destiny, they could say a thing or two about the greatest witch or tell a story about how Elphaba flew away (the flying was epic by the way). For those who were strong enough, they became heroes and legends. Elphaba truly defied gravity in every sense of the word.

What I love about these stories is that they highlight the fact that these characters don’t have to fit in, they can create a league of their own, they can be heroes, they can be legends. We are always pressured to be normal and to play safe; to do what others do; to be like other; to think like others; to talk like others. I think there is a thing or two to learn from these female heroes. It's a necessity to have these strong female heroes in popular culture. Let's see more in real life.

Who are your favorite female heroes?

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