Girly Girl Vindicated: The Rise of Sansa Stark on ‘Game of Thrones’

Game of Thrones_Sansa Stark

Strength is more than fighting with swords, and no one has proved that more often than Sansa Stark. She’s gone from being a (honestly, pretty annoying) starry-eyed teen to a brave and complex heroine, capable of making tough decisions in the face of tremendous personal pain. Perhaps most importantly, she’s done it without attempting to remake herself in the image of men or by diminishing the strongly feminine traits that set her apart from many of Game of Thrones’ other women.

‘The World Is Not Enough’ and the “Believability” of Dr. Christmas Jones

World Is Not Enough

Dr. Jones went from being a promising step forward for Bond girls to one of the more maligned female characters of the franchise. … And this is what is the most disappointing thing about Dr. Jones. She’s a tough-talking woman whose best moments in the film come when she grows impatient with Bond’s testosterone-driven idiocy and counters his quips with her own formidable sarcasm, yet in the end, she’s just like any of those earlier Bond girls that Denise Richards dismissed as lacking depth…

1950s B-Movie Women Scientists: Smart, Strong, but Still Marriageable

Gog movie

While the happily ever after scenario in these 1950s B-movies comes with an expectation that women give up their careers in science to become wives and mothers once the appropriate suitor is identified, it seems there are women in B-movies who do have it all — they maintain the respect afforded to them as scientists and also win romantic partners, without having to sacrifice their professional interests to assume domestic roles instead.

In Praise of ‘Jurassic Park’s Dr. Ellie Sattler

Jurassic Park

Dr. Sattler is awesome. She’s a character who doesn’t fit into any typical Hollywood box: A friendly, stable, super-smart woman who wants to be a mother, has her own nerdy career, and doesn’t think twice about being a badass. … I saw ‘Jurassic Park’ when I was seven and from then on wanted to be Dr. Ellie Sattler.

Beverly Crusher (‘Star Trek: TNG’) and Dana Scully (‘The X-Files’): The Medical and the Maternal

Beverly Crusher and Dana Scully

The impact of Dr. Beverly Crusher and Agent Dana Scully cannot be understated, not just on the landscape of female representation on television or the portrayal of women scientists but the way they also drove young women to pursue STEM fields in reality. …They transcend mere descriptors like woman, lover, mother, caregiver, skeptic, scientist — because they’re all that and more.

‘Jurassic Park’: Resisting Gender Tropes

Jurassic Park_Ellie

Yet in rewatching ‘Jurassic Park,’ it struck me that not only is Laura Dern’s Dr. Ellie Sattler a portrayal of a female scientist that is largely unseen in film, but she is, on numerous occasions, keenly aware of her gender and how this leads to her treatment.

‘Dragonslayer’: A Disappointing Attempt to Update the Princess and the Dragon


‘Dragonslayer’ attempts to modernize the tale by diminishing the hero and splitting the princess into two women who are both brave at first glance, but it ultimately reinforces traditional roles. … Valerian’s fall from village leader (in disguise as a man) to hero helper, and finally damsel in distress that can only be rescued by the losing of her virginity (itself a patriarchal construct, often “used to control women’s sexuality”), is a particularly depressing character arc.

Star Wars’ Rey: Feminist Heroine or Mary Sue?

Star Wars The Force Awakens_Rey 2

The heroine of the story turned out to be Rey: a lone scavenger using her brain and her strength to survive. … In a world of fantastical male heroes, is there not room for a legendary woman? Isn’t the whole point of a fantasy story some sort of wish-fulfillment? An epic triumph over evil rarely achievable in real life?

Did Gender Alter the Tone of the ‘Alien’ Series? Narrative Implications of Femininity

Aliens Ellen Ripley

It is science fiction fact however, that Ellen Ripley should not have been “Ellen Ripley” at all. Dan O’Bannon’s original script for ‘Alien’ stated: “The crew is unisex and all parts are interchangeable for men and women.” … In ‘Aliens,’ both Ripley and the alien are further solidified as female. …We come to an implied understanding that is wholly complicit in their both being mothers, adding a subliminal layer that would not have been present had either Ripley or the alien been male.

“You Have No Power Over Me”: Female Agency and Empowerment in ‘Labyrinth’


So what distinguishes ‘Labyrinth’ from the Hero’s Journey tropes it so closely follows? Its protagonist. Sarah is the hero of the story. She doesn’t need to be saved because she’s the rescuer, and she carries the plot forward with her resourcefulness, tenacity, and self-actualization. …She navigates a tricky tightrope between fantasy and reality, dreams and goals, past and future, and discovers the kind of woman she wants to be.

Scarlet Witch and Kitty Pryde: Erased Jewish Superheroines

Scarlet Witch and Kitty Pryde_narrow

Not only is erasing Judaism a disservice to both Scarlet Witch and Captain America, it’s also disrespectful to the Jewish writers who invested so much in making a statement about Jewish resistance in their artistic expression. … What’s aggravating about the omission of Kitty Pryde’s faith is the fact that the filmmakers didn’t do this to Magneto’s character…

Stop the Fridging: The Invisible Feminism of ‘Arrow’

Arrow TV series

So while ‘Arrow’ seems pretty reluctant to move away from the traditional stance on women existing to be love interests and to be rescued, the individual female characters themselves sometimes show some hints of progressiveness… if only they’d be allowed to live long enough!