Five Badass Female Characters That Prove a Female Doctor Isn't Groundbreaking

There’s a female Doctor on Doctor Who, in case you missed it. While I think a lot of the criticism against the move is dumb, so is a lot of the applause for the move. As Georgi Boorman points out over at The Federalist, it’s not nearly as unprecedented and groundbreaking as many on the left are claiming.


For years, women have been a central part of science fiction and fantasy franchises. By pretending that a female Doctor is so groundbreaking, the left is erasing years of strong, powerful women in the genre. As a result, I thought it would be fun to look at five of the most badass women characters in science fiction and fantasy, both on television and film.

The criteria I used are pretty straightforward. First, all must be prominent characters in their franchises. That means that as much as I liked the character of Vasquez in Aliens, she was out. A one-off minor character just wasn’t going to cut it. Further, I decided that the character doesn’t have to start out as a badass. Often, transitioning from the run-of-the-mill girl into the uber badass is part of the character’s arc, so it would be stupid to skip those characters.

I’m well aware that not everyone will agree with this list, which is fine. No list is ever going to be perfect for all people, after all. Additionally, these ladies aren’t ranked. Instead, they’re listed mostly in the number I thought of them. The truth is, it’s hard to say who would win a battle royale between these women, so why bother guessing?

5. Red Sonja

The 1985 film Red Sonja was based on a Marvel Comics character of the same name that was loosely based on a similar character from Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories. Starring Brigitte Nielsen, she was probably one of the best-known fantasy characters in the world.

This wasn’t a great movie, but the character was definitely a badass and helped pave the way for our #4 entry on this list.



4. Xena

Mmmmm…Xena. While the show might have been cheesy, I loved the spinoff from Kevin Sorbo’s Hercules far more than its parent show. Xena was the consummate badass warlord turned fighter for all that is good and right in the world. During the show’s run, she went toe to toe with everyone from petty tyrants to the Romans to the Greek Gods themselves.

Through it all, she became a role model for every little girl who wanted to be able to whoop some butt.

3. Buffy Summers

Buffy Summers is a unique character. Who else could have gone from a goofy bomb of a movie and reach stratospheric heights on the small screen? Yet that’s just what this character did.

Buffy is cited by Boorman in the above-linked piece as the beginning of the uber-strong female characters in science fiction and fantasy, and for good reason. Played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, the character perfectly balanced feminine beauty, teen angst, and the hard edge of a warrior. First and foremost, though, was that warrior aspect which made her so popular.


2. Ellen Ripley

Alien was probably the first movie I ever watched that could be described as a horror movie, and it scared the crap out of me at the time. Sigourney Weaver’s Ellen Ripley was the sole survivor (no, I’m not giving spoiler warnings. If you haven’t seen this classic by now, that’s on you), but she wasn’t really a badass…until Alien came out.

Another close encounter with the Xenomorph was more than Ripley could bear, so she picked up a rifle, duct taped it to a flame thrower, and got nasty. Then, when the queen alien showed up on the ship, she hopped into a piece of industrial equipment and went to town. That ups the badass status of anyone!


1. Sarah Connor

Sarah Connor is another character who wasn’t that badass in the beginning, but that changed when Terminator 2 came out. By then, Connor was a hardened badass ready to lay a beatdown on any walking toaster that came after her kid. Whether played by Linda Hamilton or by Lena Headey before she went on to be the most hated woman in Westeros, Connor punched her badass bonafides aplenty.


Those are five butt-kicking ladies, all of whom pre-date a female Doctor by a large margin. The important thing to remember is that I only named five. There’s no Princess Leia or Rey from Star Wars, no Willow from Buffy, no Captain Janeway from Star Trek, or a host of other women who have played major roles in their franchises long before Doctor Who.

What does your list look like? How would you rank these ladies? Let us know in the comments below.


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