If any of you are fans of the show Once Upon a Time, you were probably just as BLOWN AWAY as I was at the season 3 finale episode last night. I'm still in shock and awe!! LOL. The show got me thinking a lot about how much so many of the characters have changed and developed over time, so much like we ourselves do in real life. On TV and in movies we often see poor portrayals of girls and women, showing them as either ditzy, weak and overly sexualized, or overbearing, standoffish and man-hating. Neither are true-to-life at all. I was inspired to put together this post today because there are so many GREAT female characters out there that DO portray women the right way, and with flying colors. Here are just a few of them in no particular order, all with video evidence to back up their greatness. :) Though fictional (except for #9), every single one of these ladies represents a different type of real woman in the world. Every single one is BEAUTIFUL; not because of her body or features, but because of the light that shines from inside of her and never fades.
#1: Regina Mills/The "Evil" Queen from "Once Upon A Time"
Regina started out good as a girl, but when her own mother murdered her fiance, a thirst for revenge started to grow inside of her, eventually turning her over to evil. Yet her character stands as one of the greatest examples of redemption and change toward a better life, regardless of one's past. Over time Regina realized the error of her actions and learned to allow the magic of "light" back into her life. On her journey back to "good," she endured blame, ridicule, torture, loss, grief, and rejection. Even after losing everything, she chose light over darkness. To me, this makes her a hero. :)
In the clip below, Regina must face her wicked sister in order to save a baby she'd stolen. Regina had only ever used dark magic, but realizes that the only way to vanquish a darkness so powerful is to use the light within her.
#2: Seven of Nine from "Star Trek Voyager"
Seven (whose real name is Annika) was just a child when she was captured and assimilated by a horrifying collective called the "Borg." She completely lost her emotions and identity, becoming nothing more than a mechanical drone in a giant hive. After the crew of the Starship Voyager took her in and removed most of her mechanical parts, she had to learn to be human all over again. She had to learn to smile, laugh, play, love, and create instead of destroy. All of this would take a great deal of time, but watching her blossom into the strong, compassionate person she was meant to be is so captivating. It just goes to show that something as simple as human love can not only change someone, it can also heal.
In the clip below, Seven tries singing for the first time since she was a child. Never before had she shown any willingness to do anything so emotional and artistic. As you can see by the Doctor's face at the end of the clip, her progress is not only impressive, but also heartwarming. <3
#3: Katniss Everdeen from "The Hunger Games"
Katniss has grown up in a society where her people have been under the cruel thumb of the government for as long as any of them can remember. They are forced to give over certain selections of their children every year for the annual "Hunger Games' where the children must fight to the death in order to claim one victor. Though Katniss is angered by the injustice of her world, she never lets her anger control her. All she ever does is react. In an arena where everyone is trying to kill each other, Katniss remains true to her value of human life.
The clip below is a perfect example of exactly the kind of bravery I wish to have myself. As I mentioned, all Katniss does is react; without any hesitation or fear. When they are publicly beating Gale, the man she loves, she doesn't cower and cry. She runs straight in and shields him.
#4: Elphaba from Broadway's "Wicked"
Elphaba was born with great powers, but everyone around her was too distracted by the green skin she was born with. For a long time she believed her abilities only amounted to what other people thought of her. But after being framed as a villain before all of Oz, something in her changed. People believed her to be wicked, but in the end it didn't matter. She chose the right path. She chose to accept both the powerful AND loving person she truly is.
In the clip below, Elphaba gracefully rejects every bit of negativity that has been thrust upon her and chooses to carve her own path.
#5: Tracy Turnblad from "Hairspray"
Tracy is an upbeat girl who loves to dance. She dreamed of dancing on her favorite TV show, but after auditioning she was faced with harsh criticism for her imperfect appearance. Still, she not only persevered to get herself on the show, but also people of every size, shape, and color along with her.
In the clip below, Tracy sneaks into the televised dance-off she was banned from and rocks the house!
#6: Merida from "Brave"
Merida is a princess who loves to ride her horse and practice archery. But as her royal duty, she is expected to marry, whether it is someone she loves or not. Instead of caving to societal pressures, Merida instead chooses to take matters into her own hands, realizing that a stronger relationship with her mother is all she really needed; not an arranged marriage and not a royal title.
In the fabulous clip below, Merida literally takes her fate into her own hands.
#7: Amy Farrah Fowler from "The Big Bang Theory"
Amy is a very intelligent young woman with a PhD in neuroscience. But growing up she was teased so much by her peers that she was too afraid to try and make friends. It caused her to miss out on the social growth and bonding that most people seek at such a young age. As an adult, Amy decided she no longer cared what labels others placed on her. She started making friends and even dating; experiencing the things she thought she'd never have. When she met her boyfriend, Sheldon, she realized he'd experience much of the same treatment growing up and slowly she continues to help his shield of insecurities come down.
In the clip below we see how Amy uses her intelligence to help others open up. Her boyfriend Sheldon has trouble with commitment and steers clear of physical touch. She slowly shows him that growing comfortable around someone can actually be enjoyable.
#8: Elsa from "Frozen"
Elsa has the amazing gift of being able to freeze anything and create ice and snow. But after an accident as a child, she ended up hurting her sister and grew afraid that she would never be able to control her powers. After being crowned queen, everyone suddenly discovers her powers and fears her, causing her to run away. But her strength truly begins to show when she decides to "let it go" and be herself. She finally uses her powers freely and creates magnificent things with them. She soon realizes that love is the most powerful ability she possesses, and it was there all along in the love she has for her sister.
In the clip below, Elsa lets go of her worry over what others will think of her unique abilities. She chooses to live life for herself, regardless of where judgment had steered her before.
(This one is actually not a fictional character, but Disney did make a lot of changes to the original story. Regardless...)
Pocahontas has a deep connection with all life around her. Though her people warn her of others who appear to be different, she chooses to "listen with her heart" instead. She becomes a symbol of peace for all people, no matter what race or origin.
In the clip below, Pocahontas saves John Smith in spite of her people's hatred for his kind. She chooses to throw herself in the way of her Father's wrath to restore peace and compassion.
#10 Clair Huxtable from "The Cosby Show"
Clair will always be my favorite TV mom. She is a lawyer, a believer in equal rights, AND the mother of 5 children. She never let injustice stand if she had anything to do with it. She treated everyone in fairness and respect, and never ceased to be a lady in every way.
In the clip below, Clair eloquently addresses the sexist idea that "a woman should serve her man."