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The 5 Most Underrated Pop Culture Heroines

What happens to female characters who don't fight like men?

Leslie Loftis


December 31, 2012 - 7:00 am
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Recently, I argued that we like heroines who act like men and so writers construct stories enabling women to physically compete. So what about the female characters that don’t act like men?

If writers don’t have a female character fight for herself and by herself, then we typically ignore them. Sometimes we ridicule them. If given the opportunity, we rewrite them. Then, we complain that there aren’t enough of them. There are many, and the comment thread on the last article mentioned a few. These are my favorite five.

5. Princess Buttercup, The Ignored Heroine

In The Princess Bride, Buttercup lives on a farm and falls in love with a quiet and dedicated farm boy. The boy, Wesley, goes off to seek his fortune so he may marry Buttercup, but his ship is attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts. Buttercup despairs for Wesley’s death. Years later, the prince of the land choses her as his bride. Powerless to refuse him, she agrees. Soon, Wesley returns and rescues her and the land.

Targeted by an evil prince for her beauty, but with no physical way to resist him — no superpowers — Buttercup relies on her courage and wits to keep the prince and his henchmen at bay until help arrives. With Wesley’s help she escapes and together they save the kingdom from a needless war. But she got rescued and does not physically fight. She engages in elegant verbal sparring, of which I’d provide a video clip, but I can’t find any of those scenes online. They aren’t popular enough that anyone thought to upload them. I’ve rarely seen Buttercup mentioned as a feminist favorite even though The Princess Bride‘s cult following rivals Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s. Strong-willed and spirited she might be, but she’s just not manly enough to merit much attention.

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Here's a suggestion for those of us ( men and women) who would see less bickering between the sexes; people get all hung up on the notion of "strong women" and men fall prey to labeling some of these people as "bitches".

So, lets fall back to a less ambiguous term; jerk.

Everyone knows what a jerk is so there's less room for misunderstanding.

Conservatives need to get slicker with their communication. Dropping the B word for the J word will help us greatly.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
'Buttercup relies on her courage and wits to keep the prince and his henchmen at bay until help arrives'

Thankfully, Buttercup does not live in Chicago where wits often go unrecognized.

Princess Leia also, thankfully, did not live in Chicago.

Princess Allura: Her father’s diplomatic advisor hid her from raiding parties for years until five space explorers — all men — came looking for the mythical robot Voltron.

Thank goodness there were men around. As usual, through their blundering efforts, the valiant woman was able to demonstrate her courage.

Bella Swan falls in love the neighborhood dealer (disappointing the boy next door) and eventually passes the test for a rookie cop.

Buffy Summers? What can I say? Chicago is a bad place to live.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
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