There’s a meme going around right now showing Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman with a caption about how nice it is to see a strong female lead on film. Below it are clips of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Buffy and Lucy Lawless’s Xena looking shocked at the implication that folks had forgotten about the equally strong, fearless women they portrayed over the last twenty years. It amused me enough to repost it. Usually something like this will garner some laughs and maybe some joking critiques but this time it received a different response. A friend of mine good naturedly pointed out to me her belief that it was really the first time a strong, female lead character had been the focus of a feature film the way that Wonder Woman has. While it’s true that, as far as I can recollect, this is the first time I’ve seen the female lead also be the titular character, it’s far from the first time we’ve had bad ass, take charge women on the big screen. Sigourney Weaver as Lt. Ellen Ripley in the 1979 sci-fi horror classic Alien is arguably the most take charge, single handedly save the universe heroine I have ever seen in a movie. Right from the word “go” she is doing everything she can to keep the crew of the Nostromo alive despite their baffling need to continue exploring alien graveyard planets, ghost ships, and mysteriously dark corridors where their eventual, gruesome deaths are all but assured to be lurking. From trying like hell to keep her captain from bringing the facehugger onto the ship to her final girl moment of sucking the xenomorph right into the vacuum of space, she more than earned her bad ass female lead credits in this movie alone. But, seven years later, she went and set the bar ridiculously high in the 1986 sequel Aliens when, ending up on an infested colony planet with a bunch of emotionally damaged marines, she not only saves the lone survivor -a little girl named Newt- but got into an epic robot rumble with the Queen xenomorph herself. When you call a giant, predatory alien monster a bitch and proceed the beat the tar out of it with giant metal claws, you just don’t get much cooler. If Ripley was our only contestant in this apparent showdown with Wonder Woman, I might even give you the benefit of the doubt as to whether or not Gal Gadot’s character is more of a boss. But we’re not done yet. In the early nineties, long before he started making us fall in love with characters he would eventually murder on television, Joss Whedon gave us a campy, hilarious, and more than a little awesome horror-comedy film called Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The inspiration for the television series of the same name that followed a few years later, Buffy Summers became the epitome of badass female when Kristy Swanson as the titular lead, started staking vampires and proving to us with every bloody brawl that a woman can be more than some dimwitted arm candy to be rescued by a male counterpart. Bringing her own 90’s, valley girl glamour into the otherwise dark and dismaying world of undead extermination. Killing scores of blood suckers and spouting out quippy one-liners that would’ve made any chainsaw wield horror movie badass proud, she rode off into the sunset after saving her mostly helpless male counterpart time and time again. But the list doesn’t stop here. In Resident Evil, we didn’t have one, but two completely boss, monster fighting women fighting against the evils of the Umbrella Corporation. Mila Jovovich and Michelle Rodriquez as Alice and Rain formed an uneasy initial partnership before fighting their way through the zombie infested hell below Racoon City. Psychotic A.I., hideous mutations, undead dogs, boss fights, and more than a few hungry, reanimated corpses later, they managed to make their escape only to have to battle one another as Rain succumbed to the ravages of the T-Virus. The film itself has inspired a franchise spanning 15 years that has continued to show Alice as a zombie hunting, monster smashing, fearless female role model for fangirls (and boys) all over the world. It’s all a matter of opinion and point of view when it comes to your feelings on the subject. For a lot of fans and little girls all over the world, Gal Gadot is going to be the sort of strong, confident heroine that they need. She’s going to set a bar the way that Sigourney Weaver and all those strong women before and after her have done. For some little girls, this is going to be the first time they’ve ever seen a woman take charge and be something other than a damsel in distress and that is going to make a profound change inside of them that will lead them through the rest of their lives, giving them confidence and strength just like Wonder Woman. So, no, maybe she’s not the first badass woman we’ve seen on film, but she’s definitely going to be a hero for an entirely new generation of fans all over the world. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.