I’m a big film and television series buff. I like to spend my free time (if I have any), watching different movies and shows to entertain myself, be amazed and learn new facts that I can keep for references or just to satisfy my craving for good entertainment.
Another fact about me is that I admire strong, independent women. I like to think that I’m a big advocate of girls and women everywhere, but I still haven’t gotten to attend or show how much because I am a little bit scared to put myself out there and join movements and organizations that will help spread empowerment. Nevertheless, I am a feminist at heart, although not too much of a hardcore feminist, and I believe in the ultimate influence and power of women that can help change the world into a better place, no matter how cliché that is.
This essay will discuss two of my passions and share different female characters that I think are strong women and are inspirational throughout the series and movies they belong in, and why I think they are a step up in the empowerment of women through their representation within the media.
The number one most influential woman for me is, hands down, Daenerys Targaryen from the HBO television show Game of Thrones, which is based on George RR. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Take note, she is not just Daenerys Targaryen but she is Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons. That is a whole bunch of titles, and she went through a lot of experience and badass moments to get those. The reason why she is one of my most favorite characters is that she pretty much is the definition of a strong woman.
The young Daenerys in the first season of Game of Thrones was still adhering to her older brother’s orders. She was forced to marry Khal Drogo of the Dothraki khalasar to create alliances and armies because her family was defeated by Robert Baratheon in a rebellion against the Mad King, the Targaryen orphans’ father. Although at first we can see her uncertainty in his to a known savage, she willingly went through the process of marrying the khal and eventually fell in love with him.
She even made a hard decision to eliminate her brother because he threatened her and her future son. Heck, she even had to eat a raw horse’s heart to prove to the Dothrakis (which are the people of Khal Drogo) that she is worthy of their leader and to be their Khaleesi (which is queen in Dothraki language). Oh, and she is Daenerys Stormborn because she was literally born during a storm.
She is also called The Unburnt because she went into a pit of fire to prove that she is a dragon and that fire cannot kill her, which is one of the most badass moment in television ever! Well, at least for me. After her husband died because of a tragic incident, she went into the fire which will burn the dead remains of Khal Drogo and brought the three dragon eggs she received as a wedding gift. After the fire was extinguished, she emerged unscathed and now with three newly-hatched dragons. The Dothraki people bowed down to her. That was one of the most jaw dropping and beautiful scene ever! She also do not take her followers by force, but by choice. She gives them the freedom to choose whether to follow her or be free with themselves. She breaks the chains of those enslaved in cities she has come across and asks them whether they choose to fight with her. Throughout the whole show, Daenerys has been one of the most powerful and strong character, and has showed that success will not be gained if you do not stick with people who has your best interests, choosing to set aside love for something that is bigger than it and fighting for the rights of everyone, even of the common people. She is ruthless and maybe sometimes impulsive, but she is genuine and only has the best interest at heart and she only wants to go home and claim what is hers. Fingers crossed that she doesn’t die on the eighth season of Game of Thrones or I will be devastated!
Second woman that greatly inspires me and is very influential to young kids and women, is Hermione Granger from the eight-part movie Harry Potter, which is based on JK Rowling’s seven-part book series. Hermione is the main character’s smart, strong, and level-headed best friend. Throughout the books and the movies, she is often called a know-it-all, but this know-it-all is just plain bright and a good strategist. She shows how badass she can be, uttering spells to save her friends and sacrificing even her own identity to her family to protect the wizarding world from He Who Must Not Be Named. Despite being muggle-born (child of non-wizard parents), she has proved everyone that this she must not be underestimated and will punch your face if you’re attacking one of the people she loves.
Hermione has inspired me to be strong despite the challenges that comes my way and that studying is important because you never know when a fact may come in handy, especially in death-defying situations.
Annalise Keating, the main character in the show How To Get Away With Murder, is the third woman I admire because of her strong will and brave representation. Annalise is a lawyer and a criminal law professor who has gone through different experiences in her life including losing her unborn child, losing her husband, and overcoming issues with her being African-American. But despite these, she still shows that she will not be easily defeated by the people who continuously try to bring her down. Annalise is an example of a woman that does not back down even in trying situations. She fights for what is right and protecting the people close to her heart. She has shown her versatility, strengths and weaknesses, and how to get back up even if people keep on pulling her down.
The fourth woman I admire is another character from Game of Thrones, and it is Arya Stark. Arya in the beginning of the season was a little girl who despised lady lessons and has a tomboyish flare. She preferred to hold swords and arrows than pins and needles and wanted to wear armors instead of dresses. Her brother gave her a parting gift sword that she called Needle, which is one of her most prized possessions ever. Because of circumstances within the series, she was parted with her family and had to set out alone. She met different people, fought different enemies, went through different unknown places, but she survived through it all. I am amazed at her skills and abilities to survive all on her own and the things she learned along the way, how it made her stronger and capable of protecting herself and her family. Another badass thing she can do is to be no one but some one at the same time, if you get my reference (wink, wink).
Once Upon A Time’s resident evil witch, Regina Mills, is included in this list of influential fictional women. Once Upon A Time is a fantasy show and has another woman as it’s main character, which I love. Do not be fooled by Regina being the evil witch. Although she is the stepmom of Snow White, as the episodes and seasons unfold, her character has grown more than just an evil stepmom. Because of the tragic death of her one true love, hate and anger has settled in her heart. Nevertheless, she has shown that love hasn’t fully left her heart as she cares deeply for her adopted son Henry. Regina is inspiring because throughout the series, she has shown her growth from being ruthlessly evil to being kind but firm in character. She has embodied the phrase “strong, independent woman.” She fights head on against whoever tries to mess with the people she cares about, showing that she is not afraid of anything. Her only fear is to lose her son. Under her brave facade, is a woman with a soft heart.
Next up is my favorite blonde woman from the movies: Elle Woods from Legally Blonde. Elle Woods is the president of a sorority and after a devastating heartbreak with her boyfriend because he said she was “not serious enough,” she decided to enter Harvard University as a law student. Many people doubted her, even her parents, but with Elle’s perseverance, she managed to ace the LSATs and be accepted to Harvard. I am extremely awed at Elle because of this. She proved that she is not to be underestimated just because she likes pink, mani-pedis, and glittery lip gloss. When she got into Harvard, challenges do not stop coming her way. She has to overcome mean classmates, bumping into her ex-boyfriend who has a new fiancé, and scary, intelligent professors. But Elle has passed all these with flying colors, showing everyone that she is not just a “dumb blonde.” Elle is an inspiring character because she has broken all the stereotypes against girls who like to wear pink, cares about fashion, and is blonde. She has showcased her capabilities and slapped onto her ex-boyfriend’s face that she can encompass all his doubts about her and that she can live without him. The best thing I love about her is that she never forgot who she is from the start and even if she has achieved her goals, she can look back and still be the girl she was before.
The last woman that I admire is the main girl from the movie I recently watched from the cinema, Art3mis or Samantha Evelyn Cook from Steven Spielberg’s new film, Ready Player One. Art3mis is a girl who is fighting for the OASIS, a virtual reality game that is owned by the dead developer, Halliday, so it won’t fall into the hands of people who will not utilize the game for good. Art3mis has shown how badass she can be on her first appearance on the film, executing great skills in an ultimate race. Throughout the film, she has shown great character and quick thinking by not letting too much of her emotions affect her actions. She fearlessly goes through the challenges within the game, sacrifices herself and bravely goes into situations that she knows would save the people and her friends. She also believes in the main character’s capability to achieve their main goal. She is a super cool character, a supportive friend and a strong girl all in all. She inspired me to be critical in thinking and be able to make situations better for everyone.
Each of these characters has different traits that set them apart from each other but they all have one thing in common: being strong, badass women. I admire these individual characters and how they add to the growing representation of amazing women within mass media. In a world where women seem to be put in a pedestal of second best, and most men governing places and countries, people judging the capabilities of a woman, these female characters have shown that maybe people should think twice before they mess with women. These characters have also diverted the imagery of woman on media as dumb, a damsel-in-distress waiting to be rescued by a knight in shining armor, and a woman all droopy-eyed and waiting for love. These women independently achieved their goals and purposes without needing a man.
Yes, some of them had love interests but what is good about it is that this did not define their character within the show or the movie.
Times today have changed, and I am also seeing a shift in how things that once upon a time were taboo to the people are discussed. People opening up about topics that should be addressed and talked about more is a good thing because it opens possibilities of discussions and sometimes offers solutions to problems within the society. Women stepping up their game within the media industry is good and is a change for the next generation. It is a step up to gender equality. Breaking of stereotypes and norms is a good way to eliminate pre-conceived notions that women are only second best to men. Why can’t both be equally good? After all, we are all just human beings. Regardless of gender, we can do and achieve everything if we have the perseverance and strong will to go get that goal.
In a few years, I wish to see less movies stereotyping women, degrading their capabilities and underestimating their worth. The world needs to see that we are more than just the light of a home. A woman is so much more than that.
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