"Favorite Female Protagonists"

All my life, I’ve admired the resilience of women. I’m not surprised since I was dominantly raised by my grandmother, who was a tough but sweet little lady. Coming from a family made up mostly of boys, I find it very notable that my identity and personality have been significantly influenced by the few women in my family. Actually,  it makes perfect sense when you think about how much strength is required of women to go outside everyday and be confident and reassured about their places in the world when generally, they’re being treated the opposite on a daily basis.

My point is that being a woman is tough, yes, but that’s what makes it so much more rewarding to feel proud of yourself and embrace the badass bitch that you are. We shouldn’t wait for Mother’s Day or International Women’s day to celebrate mothers and women all over the world. A woman’s resilience is based on her strength to defy the mainstream, the status quo. So in honor of badass women everywhere, I have put together a shortlist of my favorite badass female characters in films.

You’ve seen her in every list about the coolest female movie characters, but she still makes mine for all the right reasons! Ridley Scott’s choice to cast Sigourney Weaver as the protagonist calls for a much more dynamic main character. Ripley not only has to fight off a murderous alien creature and survive, but she does it successfully while holding onto her humanity. The doubts of everyone else on the ship are frustrating, but they’re not enough to hold Ripley back from getting the job done in the most badass way possible. Always send a woman.

    What I find so captivating about Lee Chang-dong’s Poetry is the same reason Mija makes my list of powerful female characters. She is a paradox; we see her throughout the film dressed in colorful, floral prints, with the naivete of a young girl, despite her being almost seventy. She’s whimsical in her nature, spontaneous, and determined to write her first ever poem, despite having found out at the beginning of the film that she has early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Yet, there’s an undeniable strength about Mija’s feminine sensitivity. Throughout the film, we hardly remember Mija’s diagnosis, as the narrative Lee constructed allows Mija to find self-will and power through till the very end.

    While she may not have a large role in the film, Jada Pinkett Smith’s presence as Ronnie, the only steady figure in Caine’s unstable life, is undeniably powerful. As a single mom willing to do anything to protect and give her son a better life, Ronnie is the paradigm for unfaltering conviction. It’s clear from the first time we meet her that she is a caretaker, looking out for Caine and acting as his sort of moral compass. Ronnie makes my shortlist for her strength and compassion; even through difficult times and uncertainty, she never compromises on her principles and goals to give her son a different life.

    My list wouldn’t be complete without a shoutout to Elle Woods. Elle is a true example of feminine confidence. She is unapologetic about who she is and where she comes from; from the moment she steps onto the Harvard campus, it’s clear she doesn’t “belong” and her intelligence is directly judged by her appearance. Despite the doubts of everybody around her (except Emmett of course!), she stays true to who she is and shows the courtroom how to show up a bunch of insecure men, all the while wearing her iconic, hot pink dress.

    This is a very important character to me. Growing up there weren’t many Asian role models to look up to in Western media, which made Mulan an Asian goddess. Not only was she tough and cool but also honorable and loyal. She literally infiltrates a male army, pretending to be a man, fools everyone, and ultimately saves the Emperor, the city, and all its inhabitants even after she is turned away by Shang. I will always admire Mulan for her tenacity and determination, especially for what they represent in a patriarchal context. This I can relate to.
      With Love,
      Hailee

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