Strong Female Characters: Korra

For those of you that don’t know, Korra is the main character of the phenomenally successful cartoon series, Avatar: The Legend of Korra. Following on from Avatar: The Last Airbender, the series follows Korra, the newest Avatar and reincarnation of beloved cinnamon roll Aang, as she attempts to stop revolutions and secret societies, come to terms with her responsibilities as the Avatar, and, of course, save the world. The series was met with considerable critical acclaim, winning several awards and being favourably compared to the work of animation greats such as Hayao Miyazaki. Korra herself has been hailed as a truly ground-breaking character, particularly in regards to her romantic relationships, one of which is widely acknowledged as a completely game-changing moment for children’s TV.

But does she measure up to the hype? Let’s find out – but watch out for spoilers!

 

  1. Does the character shape her own destiny? Does she actively try to change her situation and if not, why not?

Unlike Katara, who chooses to run off and have adventures with the Avatar, Korra is the Avatar. She is destined to have super-awesome magical powers, converse with spirits and deliver glowy-eyed smackdowns whether she likes it or not. Like many other characters before her, Korra often falls into the standard traps of the ‘Chosen One’ storyline. Simply by having these powers in the first place, part of her agency as a character is taken away from her, because all sorts of baddies will always be trying to hunt her down.

Like this, except much less adorable. (image: giphy.com)
Like this, except much less adorable. (image: giphy.com)

That said, this doesn’t completely dominate Korra’s storyline. She may always be the Avatar, so in a larger sense her destiny is already spelled out for her, but she still decides where she goes and what she does. When she’s told she has to wait to begin her airbending training because her teacher can’t move into her compound, she runs away and ends up moving in with his family instead. When she can’t enter the Spirit World, she finds someone who can guide her through the portals. When she is almost killed in an attempt to stop the reincarnation cycle and rid the world of the Avatar forever, she cuts herself off from her friends and family and attempts to live a normal life. She might not be in charge of her destiny in a wider sense, but on a smaller scale she is, so I’ll give her half a point.

SCORE SO FAR: 0.5

 

  1. Does she have her own goals, beliefs and hobbies? Did she come up with them on her own?

Korra’s hobbies are pretty well-established. She gets really into pro-bending – which is essentially wrestling except you play in teams of three and chuck bits of the four elements at each other – and she uses this as a way of blowing off steam. Her beliefs are pretty much fixed: she wants to help as many people as possible, will always protect the innocent and has a very strong sense of right and wrong. Her goals tend to vary from season to season – they usually tend to revolve around whichever no-good baddie needs stopping at one particular point in time – but as a general rule, they’re all connected into her long-term Avatar goal of keeping balance in the Universe.

SCORE SO FAR: 1.5

 

  1. Is her character consistent? Do her personality or skills change as the plot demands?

Korra is a very consistent character. She’s brave, fierce, compassionate, a little hot-headed, wants the best for her family and friends and has trouble balancing her sense of responsibility with her desire for freedom.

Captain America approves of this. (image: giphy.com)
Captain America approves of this. (image: giphy.com)

Her skills are also pretty constant, too. She’s established as someone who excels at the physical side of bending and has much more trouble with situations that require a lighter touch – whether that’s spiritual guidance or delicate political negotiations.

SCORE SO FAR: 2.5

 

  1. Can you describe her in one short sentence without mentioning her love life, her physical appearance, or the words ‘strong female character’?

A hot-headed young woman with incredible powers must learn to control her own abilities and fight to keep balance in the Universe.

SCORE SO FAR: 3.5

 

  1. Does she make decisions that aren’t influenced by her love life?

Korra’s love life is a little patchy, particularly in the first few seasons. Like many other teenage girl characters before her, shortly after she’s introduced to the audience she gets tangled up in a complicated love triangle. She’s in love with Mako, a standoffish firebender, but he’s dating the heiress Asami, even though he might secretly have feelings for Korra too. But what Korra doesn’t realise is that Mako’s brother Bolin, a goofy earthbender, actually does have secret smushy feelings for Korra and she just doesn’t know who she wants to be with and WHO’S GOING TO TAKE HER TO PROM, YOU GUYS??

Thank you, Blackadder. (image: giphy.com)
Thank you, Blackadder. (image: giphy.com)

This wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t factor into her decisions so much. In the first two series Korra is constantly jealous of Asami and Mako, trying to get him to admit his feelings, and constantly questioning Asami’s loyalties. Thankfully the stuff with Bolin stops pretty quickly, but it still dominates the first two series much more than it should – especially considering there’s a baddie running around who can LITERALLY TAKE YOUR MAGIC POWERS AWAY KORRA, GET YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME.

Thankfully, in the last two series Korra’s love life is handled with a lot more subtlety. In series three and four her main focus is on stopping the people who want to destroy her, and her love life very much takes a back seat to this. Korra and Asami are shown gradually getting closer, building up trust, friendship and a real respect for one another in such a way that it doesn’t detract from the plot. They come to confide in each other in a way that’s both believable and meaningful, and when they become a couple, it’s with a much greater sense of maturity than there ever was in Mako and Korra’s relationship. If her relationship with Mako eclipsed the plot, Korra’s relationship with Asami enhanced the plot. For that reason, I’m giving her half a point.

SCORE SO FAR: 4

 

  1. Does she develop over the course of the story?

Korra goes through some really strong character development over the course of the series. She becomes more mature, more compassionate, learns to get in touch with her spiritual side and comes to understand and accept her role as the Avatar. That’s some believable development on all counts, so she passes this round with flying colours.

SCORE SO FAR: 5

 

  1. Does she have a weakness?

One of Korra’s major weaknesses is just how hot-headed she can be. She bursts in all guns blazing before she really realises what she’s gotten herself into, and this often gets her into trouble. She also has real difficulty handling the softer side of things – whether that’s being open and honest about her feelings in a relationship, or whether it’s handling the subtleties of political negotiations. She’s also very easily manipulated – particularly at the start of the series – and doesn’t actually think things through all that often.

Seriously, this cat could fool her. (image: giphy.com)
Seriously, this cat could fool her. (image: giphy.com)

Some of these flaws she manages to work past, some of them she doesn’t – regardless, I’m giving her the point.

SCORE SO FAR: 6

 

  1. Does she influence the plot without getting captured or killed?

While she does get captured quite a bit, she almost always manages to get herself out of trouble – and as I discussed in question one, this is an occupational hazard when you’re the Avatar. But that isn’t her only influence on the plot. Throughout the series she’s a driving force on the plot, whether she’s investigating bad guys, battling spirits, or accidentally starting a civil war.

SCORE SO FAR: 7

 

  1. How does she relate to stereotypes about gender?

Korra pretty much smashes all the gender stereotypes into tiny little pieces.

Much like this. (image: giphy.com)
Much like this. (image: giphy.com)

She’s brave, physically strong, and resourceful. She isn’t afraid of getting her hands dirty, is super into contact sports, is utterly unafraid of being seen as unladylike and gross and actually has a hard time coping in situations that call for typically feminine behaviour. Yet at the same time, she has a strong connection to her family and really wants to find a loving, committed relationship (occasionally becoming a borderline ‘clingy girlfriend’ stereotype in the process) and eventually finds this with another woman. The importance that Korra places on love doesn’t undercut her tomboyish nature – nor does this nature disappear or give her insecurities when she gets into a relationship.

What’s more, Korra’s bisexuality isn’t treated according to negative LGBT stereotypes, either. The show treats Korra’s sexuality as something that evolves very naturally and something that she is very comfortable with. Her relationship with Asami doesn’t eclipse her previous relationship with Mako, even though the two were very different in nature – both are portrayed as equally valid. It isn’t played for fanservice, either – it’s a very understated, subtle relationship that leaves you in no doubt of the depth of feeling these two have for one another. In short, Korra doesn’t fall victim to negative gender or sexuality stereotypes, so I’ll give her the point.

SCORE SO FAR: 8

 

  1. How does she relate to other female characters?

Korra has plenty of relationships with other female characters. When she meets the police chief, Lin Beifong, they initially don’t trust each other at all, but as they begin to work together they become good friends – despite the fact that there’s a considerable age gap between them. Korra also distrusts Asami initially, but this gives way to friendship and later, to romantic love. She’s friends with Jinora, her teacher Tenzin’s daughter, who eventually teaches her how to cross over into the spirit world. She has a close relationship with her mother, develops a rivalry with her cousin, the Princess Eska, and also comes up against a range of female villains.

FINAL SCORE: 9/10

 

Korra is a brave, hot-headed young woman with a range of goals, hobbies and beliefs, a range of relationships with different female characters, some solid character development and well-established flaws, who remains consistent throughout the plot. She might not be completely in control of her own destiny, and her love life does sometimes drag the plot down in the earlier seasons, but she’s certainly passed my test!

Next week, I’ll be going back to tone of my favourite authors. Tiffany Aching, I’m coming for you.

 

 

And if you’re looking for all my posts on Strong Female Characters, you can find them here.

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Strong Female Characters: Wyldstyle

For those of you that don’t know, Wyldstyle is the main female character in the phenomenally successful 2014 film, The Lego Movie. The plot revolves around a seemingly ordinary little Lego man who is mistakenly identified to be the Special: the most important, most interesting person in the Universe, master builder, and sole saviour of the ENTIRE WORLD (no pressure). Wyldstyle is the mysterious woman (and accomplished master builder) who drags him on his quest – despite some serious reservations. The film was a smash hit, winning several awards and raking in millions at the box office, with a sequel and three spin-off films already planned. As for Wyldstyle herself, she’s been hailed as both an interesting and well-developed character and a role model for young girls everywhere.

But does she measure up to the hype? Let’s find out – but watch out for spoilers!

 

  1. Does the character shape her own destiny? Does she actively try to change her situation and if not, why not?

For the most part, Wyldstyle is usually in control of her own destiny. Typically, in stories that revolve around a prophecy and a Chosen One, it’s very easy to have the story be led by random events, not by actions of the characters, but this isn’t the case in The Lego Movie. When we first meet Wyldstyle we see her actively looking for the Piece of Resistance that marks out ‘the Special’ – she’s not waiting around for the prophecy to come true. She does take orders from Vitruvius but he’s not the one who controls where she goes or what she does – the overwhelming sense I got from the movie was that he trusted her judgement enough to let her make those calls. What’s more, after Emmet is revealed to be the Special – and after her separation from him – Wyldstyle is still making her own plans and following through with them. I’ll give her the point.

SCORE SO FAR: 1

 

  1. Does she have her own goals, beliefs and hobbies? Did she come up with them on her own?

We don’t hear a lot about Wyldstyle’s hobbies, but it’s safe to assume from the way she dresses and her reaction to the song that Batman wrote for her that she’s into a lot of alternative stuff. Listen to it here and let me prove my point:

Her goals and beliefs are much more clearly defined. She wants to stop President Business from taking over the Universe with the Kraggle and she firmly believes that she is the one who has been chosen to do it.

SCORE SO FAR: 2

 

  1. Is her character consistent? Do her personality or skills change as the plot demands?

For the most part, Wyldstyle is pretty consistent. She’s brave, a bit of a show-off, intelligent, creative, values her freedom, cultivates an air of mystery and is secretly insecure. Her skills are very consistent too. All throughout the film she’s shown to be a master builder – someone who can dismantle the Lego structures around them and use the pieces to make whatever they can imagine. Wyldstyle is one of the best – she can adapt to almost any situation and literally make something out of nothing.

SCORE SO FAR: 3

 

  1. Can you describe her in one short sentence without mentioning her love life, her physical appearance, or the words ‘strong female character’?

A brave, mysterious woman with the power to create anything she wants must fight to save the world – and confront her own prejudices along the way.

SCORE SO FAR: 4

 

  1. Does she make decisions that aren’t influenced by her love life?

Wyldstyle’s love life is brought up at almost every opportunity. For most of the film she’s dating Batman, but Emmet has a crush on her, and this means that there’s much more of a focus on her love life than you would expect in a movie about saving the world. The scenes illustrate her character and the nature of her relationships very well, but it does slow the plot down.

My clever use of this slo-mo gif means I can use the word 'literally' and be COMPLETELY ACCURATE (image: giphy.com)
My clever use of this slo-mo gif means I can use the word ‘literally’ and be COMPLETELY ACCURATE (image: giphy.com)

However, for the most part, Wyldstyle’s decisions aren’t influenced by her love life – what really motivates her is her desire to stop President Business. Even when her love life is brought up, it’s usually because of a reason that pertains to the plot: for example, when Batman runs off to party with the Star Wars characters, abandoning both her and the rest of the heroes when they need to fight off Lord Business, the scene rapidly turns into a discussion of their relationship. Even though it is a really prevalent feature of the film, Wyldstyle’s love life is usually only brought up when it’s relevant to the plot and doesn’t actually feature into all that many of her decisions. I’ll be generous and give her the point.

SCORE SO FAR: 5

 

  1. Does she develop over the course of the story?

For an hour and a half movie where most of the characters are Lego people, there’s a surprising amount of character development. Over the course of the film, Wyldstyle recognises her own snobbery towards normal Lego people who haven’t been recognised as master builders and learns to see past it. She also starts to overcome her own insecurities when she opens up to Emmet and tells him her real name – and that she thought she would be the Special all along. That’s some believable development for someone who’s made of yellow plastic, so I’ll give her the point.

SCORE SO FAR: 6

 

  1. Does she have a weakness?

Wyldstyle actually has several weaknesses, all of which are acknowledged by the other characters and hold her back. She’s judgemental, insecure, impatient, demanding and doesn’t take kindly to being overlooked – she has plenty of flaws to choose from.

One of which is dating this guy. (image: giphy.com)
One of which is dating this guy. (image: giphy.com)

SCORE SO FAR: 7

 

  1. Does she influence the plot without getting captured or killed?

Wyldstyle is a real influence on the plot. She’s the one who initially goes looking for the Piece of Resistance, she’s the one who gets Emmet into trouble, she’s the one who brings him to Vitruvius, Cloud Cuckoo Land and the master builders. She also influences the plot on a smaller scale too – with her master builder skills she gets Emmet into and out of trouble and eventually helps him realise his own innate talents.

SCORE SO FAR: 8

 

  1. How does she relate to stereotypes about gender?

Wyldstyle relates to gender stereotypes in a really interesting way – there’s quite a few different layers to her character. On the surface, she’s brave, creative, resourceful and unafraid of taking action – not something you normally see in a stereotypical female character – but she’s also really invested in her relationship, can be seen as a bit of a ‘clingy’ girlfriend, and uses her love life to give herself validation. Most aspects of her personality are dialled up to eleven and played for laughs, and this in itself adds another layer. These parts of her personality can’t just be looked at as quirks – they become a commentary on the way that women in movies are treated.

This all takes on another dimension when you look at the kind of stereotypes about women that you usually see in action movies. Stop me if you’ve heard this before: a seemingly normal guy stumbles across a beautiful, mysterious woman who’s just a little bit dangerous. She leads him into a world he could never even have imagined, teaching him things he never could have dreamed of. Soon, he becomes a master of the craft she taught him – easily surpassing her years of training in a matter of weeks – and must use his newfound skills to save the world and get the girl.

The plots are so similar I can't tell what movie we're talking about... (image: giphy.com)
The plots are so similar I can’t tell what movie we’re talking about… (image: giphy.com)

This describes the plot of The Lego Movie, Wanted, The Tourist, and about a dozen other action films out there. Wyldstyle falls into this category perfectly – in terms of Emmet’s storyline, she’s a facilitator. But what’s interesting about the way The Lego Movie treats this clichéd old storyline is that it’s so self-aware it becomes a commentary on its own use of stereotypes. When Emmet tunes her out as she’s explaining the prophecy about the Special, it isn’t a comment on her role within the plot, it’s a comment on how Emmet sees her, and on how the action movies I listed above treat their female leads.

Another key difference in the way that Wyldstyle is treated in the story as a whole is that even though Emmet does end up surpassing her, her own skills are never brought into question as a result of this. In the typical action movie plot I described above, the hero will usually prove his worth by saving the heroine, whose incredible skills suddenly become useless in the third act for no discernible reason. The Lego Movie doesn’t do this: they’re split up for most of the climax, and Wyldstyle manages to hold her own against the Micro-Managers while Emmet goes after President Business. He never saves her, her own skills never falter, and the script doesn’t have him ‘prove’ that he’s now become better than her, which makes them seem much more equal.

In short, while Wyldstyle does fall victim to some of the old action movie clichés, the screenwriters use this as an opportunity to question those clichés. When she’s acting like a clingy girlfriend, it’s because her boyfriend Batman wants to “be free to party with a bunch of strangers whenever I feel like it”. When she’s portrayed as a stereotypical action girl, she’s not really acting like it – it’s the way the other characters see her. She may be an extremely clichéd character in some respects, but in exaggerating these clichés she is, in effect, exposing them as ridiculous.

SCORE SO FAR: 9

 

  1. How does she relate to other female characters?

We only ever see Wyldstyle exchanging a few words with Princess Unikitty – a half-unicorn, half-cat princess who rules over Cloud Cuckoo Land. These exchanges are directly related to forwarding the plot and are never really developed in a character sense, so I’m withholding the point.

FINAL SCORE: 9/10

 

Wyldstyle is a brave, resourceful character with a range of flaws, some well-developed goals and beliefs, some solid character development and real agency. She might not have any significant relationships with other female characters but she has a phenomenal impact on the plot, raises some interesting questions about gender stereotypes and doesn’t completely revolve around her love life. She’s certainly passed my test!

Next week, I’ll be going back to one of my favourite series and examining a different character. Korra, I’m coming for you.

 

 

And if you’re looking for all my posts on Strong Female Characters, you can find them here.

Strong Female Characters: Peggy Carter

For those of you that don’t know, Agent Peggy Carter is another character from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Originally introduced as Captain America’s love interest in, well, Captain America, the character proved so popular that Marvel went on to develop her own TV series (and prove that original titles are not their strong point) called Agent Carter. The plot of both the film and the TV show is largely the same: special agent Peggy Carter must stop those dastardly Nazis/Communists from unleashing whatever superpower-related horrors they’ve cooked up, only in the movie she gets a musclebound Chris Evans to help her out. The film was a smash hit, and the TV show has received high praise from the critics – most of it surrounding its portrayal of a woman trying to carve out a career in a highly male-dominated industry in post-WW2 America. Peggy herself is one of Marvel’s many ‘Strong Female Characters’, and is frequently held up as a paragon of Marvel’s feminist credentials.

But does she measure up to the hype? Let’s find out – but watch out for spoilers!

NOTE: Just so we’re clear, I’ll be focussing on the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s interpretation of the character. I know that her character is a lot more detailed in the comics, but as much as I’d like to read them I simply don’t have time.

 

  1. Does the character shape her own destiny? Does she actively try to change her situation and if not, why not?

When talking about Peggy Carter, it’s very easy to draw comparisons with one of Marvel’s most recognisable female characters: Black Widow. In this respect, they’re very similar: both are special government agents who signed up for highly secretive, highly dangerous work. Both are clearly accustomed to having their lives revolve around the missions that they are sent on, and ultimately both of them take their orders from someone else.

The real difference between the two of them is the way that their gender (and their respective time periods) affects their work. Black Widow doesn’t always have an easy time at S.H.I.E.L.D., but her competency as an agent – and her loyalty to the organisation – are never seriously questioned. Peggy’s, on the other hand, is. In both the film and the TV series her superiors doubt that she is capable of doing her job because of her gender, and assume that her loyalties can be easily swayed if somebody gets her to fall in love with them. As a consequence of this she has to work twice as hard to prove her competence and – particularly in the TV show – has to go behind her bosses’ backs if she wants to conduct an investigation on her own. Peggy’s reaction to the sexism she has to deal with makes her a much more proactive character, so she passes this round.

SCORE SO FAR: 1

 

  1. Does she have her own goals, beliefs and hobbies? Did she come up with them on her own?

We don’t really get to see a lot of Peggy’s hobbies. As with Black Widow, her life as a special agent seems to consume a lot of her time, and she’s always portrayed as a very career-focused person. Her goals and beliefs are another story, and are really fleshed out in Agent Carter. Much more time is spent establishing the fact that Peggy desperately wants to be treated as a competent agent, assigned her own cases and to have her opinions heard and respected by the other members of her team. This is what drives her through the plot – and it also factors into her beliefs. We can infer simply from her choice of career that Peggy believes in democracy, freedom etc., but one of the things she really believes in is herself, as summarised in the most inspirational gif ever:

YOU'RE GODDAMN RIGHT SHE DOES. There's something in my eye. (image: giphy.com)
YOU’RE GODDAMN RIGHT SHE DOES. There’s something in my eye. (image: giphy.com)

You could bounce rocks off Peggy’s self-confidence. She knows that she is bloody good at what she does – regardless of what anyone else may think, say or do – so much so that she doesn’t need other people to tell her she did a good job. She firmly believes that what she’s doing is right, and that’s a compelling trait in any character.

SCORE SO FAR: 2

 

  1. Is her character consistent? Do her personality or skills change as the plot demands?

For the most part, Peggy is a reasonably consistent character. She’s intelligent, resourceful, determined to prove herself, keeps calm in a crisis and knows how to take care of herself. It’s also established that she’s a highly skilled agent: she knows her way around a number of different weapons and is fully capable of bludgeoning grown men into a pulp if they cross her. The only time her character really falters is in this scene from Captain America:

For background: Peggy and Steve aren’t actually involved at this point, and when she sees him kissing another woman she completely loses it. When she fired that gun at him she had no idea what would happen: she had no way of knowing if the shield could stop the bullets, or if the bullets would ricochet off and hurt someone else, or if everything would all turn out fine. In short, she risked the lives of everyone in that lab – which included irreplacably intelligent scientists as well as her superpowered boyfriend – just to prove a point. This is played for laughs, but it goes against everything we know about her character and is actually a terrible call for a woman who’s trying to prove that her womanly emotions don’t affect her capacity to do her job. I’ll give her half a point.

SCORE SO FAR: 2.5

 

  1. Can you describe her in one short sentence without mentioning her love life, her physical appearance, or the words ‘strong female character’?

A highly trained special agent, both determined and resourceful, must use everything she has in order to for her skills to be acknowledged.

SCORE SO FAR: 3.5

 

  1. Does she make decisions that aren’t influenced by her love life?

Most of the time Peggy is pretty focused on her missions, whether that’s chasing down Nazis in Captain America or chasing down Communists in her TV show. In Captain America, she’s very firmly in the role of love interest, so it does affect her decisions (particularly in the scene that shall not be named). In Agent Carter, it gets a lot more interesting.

In the TV show it’s very well-established that Peggy has absolutely no interest in pursuing a relationship with anybody after losing Steve. She’s still grieving – as are most of the people who knew him – and as a result, throws herself into her work. There’s a lot of pressure on her to settle down and start a family, particularly with the return of so many GIs from Europe (who then kicked all the women out of their jobs, FYI). She certainly isn’t short of offers, but she turns them all down because she just doesn’t feel ready for another relationship. At the same time, when she discovers that Howard Stark effectively tricked her into stealing the last sample of Steve’s blood – which would allow him to recreate the supersoldier formula – she completely freaks out, cuts off all contact with him and refuses to hand over the sample. Her love life is still affecting her decisions and emotions at the same time as she is trying to resist it.

I should employ Tom Hiddleston to express all my feelings. (image: giphy.com)
I should employ Tom Hiddleston to express all my feelings. (image: giphy.com)

Unlike many other characters I’ve looked at on this blog, it isn’t a current love interest that affects Peggy’s decisions. She’s still grieving for Steve after their brief romance, and it’s hinted in her cameo in The Winter Soldier that she still held a torch for him even though she does eventually move on. However, her grief is realistic, it has a minimal effect on the rest of her decisions, and it’s handled with a level of sensitivity and tact that you don’t always see in media with so many explosions. I’ll give her half a point – mainly because of that scene in Captain America – but the way her love life is handled in Agent Carter definitely redeems her.

SCORE SO FAR: 4

 

  1. Does she develop over the course of the story?

We don’t see Peggy develop at all in Captain America – she’s pretty much only there to blow stuff up. Once again, in Agent Carter it’s a different story. Over the course of the first series we see her gradually come to terms with her grief for Steve and eventually start to move on. We also see some non-romantic development too. When her roommate is killed, Peggy initially decides to resist forming friendships in case they are targeted by her enemies. She soon comes to realise that she can’t cut herself off from emotional support, and starts opening up to her friends a little more. That’s some solid development in more than one area of her life, so I’ll give her the point.

SCORE SO FAR: 5

 

  1. Does she have a weakness?

Peggy doesn’t really have much of a weakness at all. The things that hold her back are either completely understandable – such as her grief after listening to her boyfriend sacrifice himself – or entirely external, such as the sexism of her colleagues. Of course, she makes mistakes, but these are often treated very favourably by the script and aren’t always the result of her own flaws. Her shooting at Steve’s shield is played for laughs and used to illustrate how ‘feisty’ she is. When she’s fooled by the Russian double agent, she’s the first one on her team to realise what’s happened and must convince them all of the truth. She just doesn’t have a serious character flaw that she has to work against, so I simply can’t give her the point.

SCORE SO FAR: 5

 

  1. Does she influence the plot without getting captured or killed?

In Captain America, Peggy doesn’t get much of an opportunity to influence the plot. As with Black Widow, she’s kicking ass and taking names, but she does so on somebody else’s orders and (usually) as part of a much larger task force. She has her moments – like when she helps Steve sneak into enemy territory – but much of the film’s focus is on Captain Beefcake.

Not that I object to that... (image: justjared.com)
Not that I object to that… (image: justjared.com)

In Agent Carter, Peggy is the plot. The show focuses entirely on her efforts to uncover a secret Communist plot (as well as to prove herself to her colleagues and to move on from Steve). She drives the plot forward at every turn, whether she’s working out her next move or punching out a bad guy. She does get manipulated more than once – both by the Communist agents and by Howard Stark, who has not been entirely truthful with her – but this doesn’t detract from her agency as a character. I’ll be generous and give her the point.

SCORE SO FAR: 6

 

  1. How does she relate to stereotypes about gender?

How Peggy relates to gender stereotypes really depends on what piece of media you’re looking at. As I think I’ve already established, her character gets a lot more time and attention from the screenwriters in Agent Carter than it does in Captain America. Regardless, there are a few universal similarities in the way they treat her character.

In terms of personality, Peggy pretty much disregards all established gender stereotypes about women. She’s brave, she’s resourceful, she’s intelligent, she’s capable of grinding grown men into paste, she isn’t fussy, she knows her way around weapons – I could go on. The point is that none of these traits are things you would ordinarily associate with women, and she possesses them all without sacrificing her femininity. Often she actively uses this against her many sexist opponents – much like Black Widow, she lets them underestimate her and strikes when their guard is down.

DO IT FOR FEMINISM (image: tumblr.com)
DO IT FOR FEMINISM (image: tumblr.com)

Unfortunately, the way that her femininity is portrayed can be kind of problematic. What makes Peggy feminine are her looks and her emotions. She’s always well-dressed and well-groomed, with immaculate red lipstick and nails, even though we have absolutely no indication that she actually enjoys this kind of stuff. She loses control both when her relationship with Steve goes badly, and when someone brings it up in the TV show. She’s also relegated to a support role more than once, where she has to persuade a male character to act on her behalf: both Captain America and Agent Carter end with Peggy sobbing into a radio, trying to convince a man not to crash-land his plane. This means that even though she’s not doing improbably sexy gymnastics in every fight scene like Black Widow, despite all her skills as an agent she’s often treated as a potential love interest more than a character. This criticism applies much more to Captain America than it does to Agent Carter, but it’s certainly present in the TV show – albeit more in the way that other characters treat her.

Much like Buffy, Peggy comes up against a lot of characters that I like to call ‘straw sexists’. Essentially, these are characters that are written into the story to spout a bunch of sexist nonsense so we can all watch Peggy proving them wrong. They exist just so she can knock them down, and it’s extremely entertaining to watch her do it. However, this isn’t only something that can be said about her smacking people in the face with heavy objects – it also applies to much of her character, too.

Peggy exists to knock down gender stereotypes. She’s a brave, capable, resourceful woman carving out a path for herself in a man’s world, but she has no flaws and has no real development outside of the main plotline. She’s held up as a paragon of almost every virtue – she kicks butt, but she has feelings too, but they don’t affect her too much and by the way, did I mention she’s also really pretty? – and this in itself is problematic. The writers have put her on a pedestal as the perfect woman, and even though this particular pedestal involves smacking dudes over the head with blunt objects, it’s still nothing new in the way that women are treated in fiction.

SCORE SO FAR: 6.5

 

  1. How does she relate to other female characters?

For a character that spends a substantial amount of her screen time with men, Peggy does have a lot of relationships with other female characters – most of which are from Agent Carter. She’s friends with her roommate, Colleen, but must hide her real job from her and eventually kinda-sorta gets her killed. She initially pushes away the waitress, Angie, as a result of this – but then becomes friends with her. She has to pretend to be a respectable young woman for her landlady, Miriam, while simultaneously despising her and keeping the true nature of her work a secret. And of course, she’s completely fooled by – and must defeat – the Soviet double agent, who poses as a harmless girl. These are a wide range of relationships with a wide range of different characters, so she passes this round.

FINAL SCORE: 7.5/10

 

Agent Carter is a brave, resourceful agent who is an active player in her own story and develops over the course of the narrative, but she still hasn’t passed my test. Ultimately, what really let her down – aside from the rather half-hearted way the script treats her character in Captain America – is the fact that the writers so clearly built her up to be a stereotype-smashing character. In denying her a real weakness, they’re stopping her from becoming a properly fleshed-out character.

For me, this really exemplifies the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s problems with writing women. I’m sure the writers have only the best of intentions, but it seems like when they write their female characters they aren’t trying to make them anything other than ‘strong’. In writing these perfect women – who have no flaws, can handle anything that’s thrown at them and can keep up with the endless parade of superheroes we see every summer – they aren’t actually developing their characters properly. They aren’t even writing real women, for that matter.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is often praised for its characterisation – most of which is actually from the original comics, and doesn’t always make it into the films. Marvel’s many male characters can be anything they like: Tony Stark is arrogant, Captain America is self-sacrificing, Bruce Banner is a broiling mess of rage and guilt. But Marvel’s female characters are all cast in the same mould. They’re rarely cocky, or standoffish, or exuberant: ‘strong’ is all they will ever be. All that praise doesn’t really apply to the female characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In trying to prove that they can write women, the writers are showing us that they can only write one type of woman – and she’s so perfect that she’s not so different from many of the Disney Princesses.

Next week, I’ll be looking at The Lego Movie. Wyldstyle, I’m coming for you.

 

 

And if you’re looking for all my posts on Strong Female Characters, you can find them here.

Strong Female Characters: Princess Bubblegum

For those of you that don’t know, Princess Bubblegum is one of the main characters on the hit children’s TV show, Adventure Time. Set in the magical Kingdom of Oo, the plot follows the adventures of Finn, a young boy, and Jake, a talking dog with magical stretching powers, as they try and defend Princess Bubblegum’s kingdom – where everyone is made of sweets. It sounds daft, but the show has received rave reviews on almost every count, draws in millions of viewers and has been nominated for – and won – dozens of awards, including eight Emmys. Princess Bubblegum herself has been widely praised too, with critics and fans alike lauding the character’s originality, ingenuity and departure from many traditional ‘princess’ storylines.

But does she measure up to the hype? Let’s find out – but watch out for spoilers!

 

  1. Does the character shape her own destiny? Does she actively try to change her situation and if not, why not?

Throughout most of the series, Princess Bubblegum has a patchy control of her own destiny. A substantial amount of the plot in the first few series revolves around her being kidnapped by various entities, so in that respect she’s not the one in control. Most of the overarching series plots are about fighting various monsters, which you would think would make her vulnerable to my Universal Monster Law. However, while the various monsters – some of which are truly terrifying –

OH GOD THIS IS WORSE THAN CORALINE (image: adventuretime.wikia.com)
OH GOD THIS IS WORSE THAN CORALINE (image: adventuretime.wikia.com)

– do influence the plot at times, it doesn’t necessarily detract from the control she has over her own life. As the series progresses, the episodes where Bubblegum needs to be rescued become gradually less frequent, and we see her exercising a lot more control over her destiny as a larger whole. She sends Finn and Jake out on missions, she plots to undermine Flame Princess when she considers her a threat, and it’s revealed later on in the series that she has literally made every single person in the Candy Kingdom out of leftover sweets. She’s not always in control, particularly in the earlier episodes, but she certainly has her moments.

SCORE SO FAR: 0.5

 

  1. Does she have her own goals, beliefs and hobbies? Did she come up with them on her own?

In this respect, Princess Bubblegum is a very well-developed character. She’s very interested in science, using it for her own personal projects and to improve the lives of her confectionary-based subjects. In terms of her beliefs, she values organisation and order, and often takes this too far when she spies on her own citizens. Her goals very between each series – mostly because they revolve around trying to defeat the monster of the week. That’s well-established interests on every side, so she passes this round.

SCORE SO FAR: 1.5

 

  1. Is her character consistent? Do her personality or skills change as the plot demands?

Princess Bubblegum is a remarkably consistent character. She’s intelligent, kind, well-organised, believes in doing questionable things for ‘the greater good’, and can be a little overbearing and uptight. She’s also consistently shown to be a skilled scientist and a good ruler.

Look at that science face. (image: picslist.com)
Look at that science face. (image: picslist.com)

SCORE SO FAR: 2.5

 

  1. Can you describe her in one short sentence without mentioning her love life, her physical appearance, or the words ‘strong female character’?

A brilliant scientist and a wise ruler – who also has the power to create life and happens to be entirely made of bubblegum.

SCORE SO FAR: 3.5

 

  1. Does she make decisions that aren’t influenced by her love life?

Princess Bubblegum’s love life isn’t really a feature of the show – which is a real departure from the traditional ‘princess’ storyline, where the ultimate goal is always marriage. Plenty of other characters have crushes on Princess Bubblegum – including Finn, the Ice King, and some complete randomer called Braco. But for the most part, these are unrequited, and only really affect her when she has to turn them down. The one time her love life does affect her decisions is when she’s dealing with Marceline the Vampire Queen.

IT'S CANON YOU GUYS (image: adventuretime.wikia.com)
IT’S CANON YOU GUYS (image: adventuretime.wikia.com)

It’s revealed – mainly through hints, subtexts and interviews with the show’s creators – that Princess Bubblegum and Marceline were once romantically involved, and this seriously affects Bubblegum’s judgement when it comes to Marceline. She either lashes out at her or bends over backwards to help her, depending on her mood. However, these instances are few and far between, and don’t tend to completely eclipse Bubblegum’s other aims, so I’ll be generous and give her the point.

SCORE SO FAR: 4.5

 

  1. Does she develop over the course of the story?

Princess Bubblegum doesn’t really develop much over the course of the story. Over the series as a whole, it’s implied that Bubblegum is letting her power go to her head: she starts spying on her citizens, undermining other princesses, and getting gradually more despotic. However, this is never really explored – it’s often shown in very short scenes thrown in at the end to make the ending a little unsettling. It’s also implied that she has actually always been like that – the audience is watching more information being revealed about her character, rather than watching her character develop. I’ll give her half a point because the lines are often blurred in this respect, but she’s not off the hook.

SCORE SO FAR: 5

 

  1. Does she have a weakness?

Princess Bubblegum has several weaknesses. She completely bulldozes over other people’s opinions and feelings, she lets her power go to her head, she can be completely convinced that she’s right even when it’s very clear that she’s not, and she’s such a stickler for order and procedure that it drives everyone nuts.

Best reaction gif ever. (image: giphy.com)
Best reaction gif ever. (image: giphy.com)

All of these weaknesses hold her back at some point during the plot in various different ways. In one episode, her insistence that everyone follow a carefully laid-out plan to compose a song provides both comedy and drama. In the series as a wider whole, her insistence on doing things her own way often means that she pushes her friends away from her and harms people they care about because she’s so convinced of her own righteousness. That’s some realistic weaknesses that don’t always manifest in the same way – so she passes with flying colours.

SCORE SO FAR: 6

 

  1. Does she influence the plot without getting captured or killed?

Bubblegum’s influence on the plot is a little patchy at times. If you look at the episodes individually (particularly the earlier ones), it can often seem like Princess Bubblegum’s role is that of a permanent kidnappee – she gets kidnapped by the Ice King so often that it almost becomes a running joke. However, this isn’t her only area of influence; there are plenty of other episodes where she sends characters out on quests, goes out looking for adventure herself, or puts in place measures that can save the Candy Kingdom. This becomes especially apparent when you look at her role in the series as a whole – it’s abundantly clear that she’s driving the story foreword in a more long-term sense. I’ll be harsh (as always) and give her half a point.

SCORE SO FAR: 6.5

 

  1. How does she relate to stereotypes about gender?

Princess Bubblegum is actually a pretty ground-breaking character in terms of gender stereotypes. At first glance, it’s easy to suppose that this isn’t the case. She’s kind, polite, always looks feminine, is a princess who needs to get saved a lot and is literally completely pink. But this isn’t the only aspect to her character. She’s also a devoted scientist and a slightly despotic ruler who’s unafraid of getting her hands dirty, as shown here when she literally rips this guy to pieces:

The message this sends out about Bubblegum’s character is that being feminine isn’t necessarily a barrier to being strong, or clever, or a capable ruler – and that women aren’t immune from the temptations of power, or somehow exempt from flaws. You might think that Princess Bubblegum would be the stereotypically good, kind princess we’re all familiar with, but the extra layers of character development prove that she’s far more than that.

SCORE SO FAR: 7.5

 

  1. How does she relate to other female characters?

Princess Bubblegum has a wide range of relationships with a wide range of characters. Uniquely for a fantasy world, Ooo is mostly ruled by other princesses, so we see her interacting with other female rulers a substantial amount of times. She always treats them with courtesy, although this is often coloured by her real opinion of them. She’s friends with Lumpy Space Princess – even though she often seems exasperated by her. As I already discussed, she used to date Marceline the Vampire Queen. As a result of this their relationship is a little strained, but sometimes we can see glimpses of the residual feelings they have for each other. When she comes up against a female villain, the way she reacts to them depends on how powerful they are and how much of a threat she thinks they present. That’s believable relationships on every count, so she passes this round.

FINAL SCORE: 8.5/10

 

Princess Bubblegum may not always be in control of the plot, but she displays consistent intelligence, has flaws that hold her back, has a range of different hobbies, goals and beliefs and has some really interesting relationships with other female characters. What’s more, she does it all while remaining an extremely feminine character, effectively showing that women don’t need to reject any girly tendencies in order to be strong. She’s certainly passed my test!

Next week, I’ll be looking at one of my latest favourites. Agent Carter, I’m coming for you.

 

 

And if you’re looking for all my posts on Strong Female Characters, you can find them here.

Strong Female Characters: Coraline

For those of you that don’t know, Coraline is the main character of Neil Gaiman’s 2002 novel, Coraline (the clue’s in the name). The plot revolves around a young girl who moves into a new house with her family only to discover that it’s also inhabited by a truly terrifying supernatural creature who looks just like Coraline’s mother, only with buttons sewn over her eyes. Once she (rightfully) realises that the Other Mother is Class A Nightmare Fuel, Coraline must try and save her real parents – and the eternally tormented souls of all the children the Other Mother trapped in her hellscape.

You know, for kids!

The book was an incredible success, winning several awards, and was adapted into a 2009 film of the same name that I am completely unable to watch alone, even though it’s technically aimed at children. The film came in for just as much praise as the book, particularly for its portrayal of Coraline herself, who has been widely hailed as one of the most realistic child characters in modern fiction.

But does she measure up to the hype? Let’s find out – but watch out for spoilers!

 

  1. Does the character shape her own destiny? Does she actively try to change her situation and if not, why not?

At first glance, it might seem as if Coraline’s character might fall victim to my Universal Monster Law: if your story revolves around your characters defeating a scary monster, it’s usually the monster who’s in control of the plot. However, this isn’t really the case with Coraline. The Other Mother doesn’t come after her in the same way that Dracula went after Mina Harker, or the dinosaurs chase after Ellie Sattler and Claire Dearing. Coraline is the one who first makes contact with the Other Mother – when exploring her new house, she stumbles across the door that leads to her domain. You can make a case for the Other Mother luring Coraline into her realm – she fills it with things designed to entice a small girl and deliberately plays on Coraline’s insecurities – but ultimately, Coraline’s the one who decides to go back there, and she does so once she’s seen through the Other Mother’s charade. Unlike the other monster movies I’ve looked at, Coraline’s ability to control her own destiny isn’t hampered by the presence of the monster, so she passes this round with flying colours.

SCORE SO FAR: 1

 

  1. Does she have her own goals, beliefs and hobbies? Did she come up with them on her own?

Coraline’s hobbies aren’t particularly well defined in the book. She enjoys playing outside, but this is pretty common for a child of her age. She tries her hand at a few different activities in both the book and the film, and never really expresses a marked preference for any of them. However, her beliefs and goals are much more clearly defined. While she doesn’t start off with a clear goal, she soon gets one pretty quick: she has to defeat the Other Mother or her soul will remain trapped in a nightmarish hellscape forever and ever.

She's such a good motivator. (image: blog.fidmmuseum.com)
She’s such a good motivator. (image: blog.fidmmuseum.com)

This is what drives her through most of the story in both the book and the film. Her beliefs are closely linked to this – she believes that once she’s escaped the Other Mother’s domain, she can’t just get on with her life and forget about her experiences. She has to find a way to make sure that the Other Mother will never go after another child again, by getting rid of the key that will open up the way to her world. When the Other Mother sends her severed, spider-like hand crawling after her (EW EW EEEEWWWWWWWW) she uses this opportunity to put the key – and the hand – somewhere where the Other Mother can never find it, deliberately putting herself in danger in the process. This shows that Coraline firmly believes she has to finish what she started – despite how much more difficult this makes her life – so she passes this round.

SCORE SO FAR: 2

 

  1. Is her character consistent? Do her personality or skills change as the plot demands?

Coraline is actually a very consistent character. She’s brave, intelligent, curious and has a very quirky sense of humour. She’s also capable of thinking outside the box and demonstrates incredible maturity all throughout the story.

SCORE SO FAR: 3

 

  1. Can you describe her in one short sentence without mentioning her love life, her physical appearance, or the words ‘strong female character’?

A brave, curious young girl stumbles into a sinister world and must fight to free the people trapped inside.

SCORE SO FAR: 4

 

  1. Does she make decisions that aren’t influenced by her love life?

Coraline doesn’t really have a love life, so this question doesn’t really apply here.

Goddammit that is FANFIC (image: deviantart.com)
Goddammit that is FANFIC (image: deviantart.com)

What motivates her through the story is equal parts curiosity, the desire to be reunited with her family, and a sense of duty – she’s compelled to finish what she started and destroy the Other Mother.

SCORE SO FAR: 5

 

  1. Does she develop over the course of the story?

In the movie, Coraline’s character development is really spelled out. She becomes a lot more mature, starts making more of an effort to connect with her family and friends and becomes far more grateful for what she’s already got. In the book, it’s a bit more subtle. She also becomes more mature, but it’s in a slightly different way: she comes to understand the nature of bravery and learns to face her fears. Regardless of which version of the story you prefer, each one offers realistic development, so she gets the point.

SCORE SO FAR: 6

 

  1. Does she have a weakness?

In the book, Coraline doesn’t really have that much of a weakness. The most I could say about her is that she’s extremely curious – which does of course get her into trouble, as it’s this trait that initially leads her to the Other Mother – and that she demands her parents’ attention and can’t understand the fact that they’re busy. However, I don’t really see this as a weakness. It’s natural for children to want their parents’ attention, and it’s natural for them to be curious. In Coraline’s case, her curiosity is part of what makes her so likeable as a character and actually ends up working out in her favour, because it leads her to find objects that will help her destroy the Other Mother and helps her to learn more about her enemy. I can’t really class that as a weakness.

Not even if you squint. (image: giphy.com)
Not even if you squint. (image: giphy.com)

In the film, however, Coraline’s weaknesses are much more apparent. She can be petulant, grumpy, whiny, and she often takes what she already has for granted. These are weaknesses that seriously hold her back – some of which she manages to overcome, some of which she doesn’t. I’ll give her half a point for the movie adaptation.

SCORE SO FAR: 6.5

 

  1. Does she influence the plot without getting captured or killed?

Coraline drives the plot forward at every turn. Against a manipulative, insidious opponent like the Other Mother, you might think that Coraline wouldn’t have much of an opportunity to have a real impact on the plot but happily, this isn’t the case. While the Other Mother might have been the one who tempted Coraline into her world, even in the realm of Lovecraft’s nightmares Coraline is the one who’s controlling the story. She’s the one who refuses the Other Mother’s bargain and finds her way back home, she’s the one who realises that she must go back in order to rescue her parents, she’s the one who proposes – and wins – the game that grants her freedom and sets the Other Mother’s prisoners free, and she’s the one who ultimately prevents the Other Mother from ever taking another child.

Not bad for a girl who’s still in primary school.

SCORE SO FAR: 7.5

 

  1. How does she relate to stereotypes about gender?

Gender stereotypes don’t have much of an impact on Coraline’s life at all. Part of this could be attributed to the fact that she’s still too young for them to really affect her, but I don’t think this is necessarily the case. Aside from generally being very brave, resourceful and intelligent, throughout both the book and the film, Coraline displays a really strong sense of identity – she’s clearly very comfortable and secure in who she is. She enjoys exploring and playing outside, but she’s also interested in having fashionable clothes – and she never once displays any discomfort with the perceived disconnect between her two hobbies. For her, the things she enjoys aren’t really affected by the way other people might perceive them.

Where this gets really interesting is when you look at how Coraline relates to the Other Mother and to her real mother. At first, she’s irritated by the fact that her real mother spends so much time working and leaves her dad to make all the (disgusting) food. By contrast, the Other Mother seems like the perfect 1950s housewife: she always has time for her family, she makes them delicious food, she gives Coraline gorgeous clothes that she made herself and wonderful toys that she never gets tired of. In short, the Other Mother tries to make herself into the perfect mother.

It doesn't work. (image: giphy.com)
It doesn’t work. (image: giphy.com)

What’s interesting about this is that Coraline sees straight through it. She’s never seriously tempted to sew buttons onto her eyes and stay in the Other Mother’s nightmare-flavoured idea of ‘perfection’. In Coraline’s eyes, it’s pretty clear that being a ‘perfect mother’ has very little to do with whether you stay at home, cook your children’s meals and hand-stitch all their clothes – it’s about whether you love them. Gender stereotypes have no effect on Coraline’s perceptions of motherhood, which is remarkably mature for someone of her age.

SCORE SO FAR: 8.5

 

  1. How does she relate to other female characters?

Coraline has a few relationships with female characters. She’s slightly bewildered by her elderly neighbours, Miss Spink and Miss Forcible. She meets a couple of ghost girls while she’s trapped in the Other Mother’s realm – which would send Hieronymous Bosch running for the hills, by the way – who manage to scare her and inspire pity at the same time. And of course, she becomes close with her mother and the Other Mother. These relationships are by far some of the most interesting in the story. I already touched on some of the points I’ll be referencing in the previous question, so apologies if I repeat myself.

Coraline has a slightly strained relationship with her mother. They’ve just moved to a new house and Coraline will be starting a new school, so understandably, there’s some tension there. Coraline’s mother has a lot of work to do and Coraline has a lot of time on her hands before her new school starts, so they’re often at odds because they want such different things. It’s made pretty clear to the reader/audience that Coraline feels ignored and unappreciated by her mother because she won’t spend time with her or buy her the things she wants. Ultimately, this is a temporary situation that resolves itself once the family settles in. While there might be some distance between them, it’s made clear that Coraline’s mother loves her very much.

The Other Mother, however, is a completely different creature.

HAHAHAHA LITERALLY. Enjoy your nightmares. (image: non-aliencreatures.wikia.com)
HAHAHAHA LITERALLY. Enjoy your nightmares. (image: non-aliencreatures.wikia.com)

At first glance she appears to be better than Coraline’s mother. As I discussed earlier, she has more time for her, she cooks for her, she brings her toys – she’s effectively moulded herself into a very simplistic ideal of what the perfect mother should be. This is precisely what makes her so dangerous – she’s seen the frustrations in Coraline’s relationship with her real mother and has made herself into their antithesis. She’s like the lure on the end of a fish hook; she draws children in with promises of love and attention right before her weird needly fingers go for their eyes.

What stops her from being the perfect mother – and also what stops Coraline from willingly letting her sew stuff onto her eyeballs – is that she doesn’t love Coraline in the maternal sense. In the book, we see the following line:

“It was true: the other mother loved her. But she loved Coraline as a miser loves money, or a dragon loves its gold.”

This isn’t real love – it’s a near-obsessive desire to possess her completely, and Coraline sense this from the very beginning. This is what stops her from giving in, and it’s also what gives Coraline her chance at victory. She uses the Other Mother’s possessiveness against her when she challenges her to the game that will win her freedom; the Other Mother wants her to stay so badly that she agrees to it, and deliberately leaves herself a loophole if Coraline does actually manage to outwit her. Thankfully, Coraline doesn’t have to stay in one of Hieronymous Bosch’s nightmares for the rest of time – but her relationship with the Other Mother is far and away one of the most interesting dynamics in the story.

FINAL SCORE: 9.5/10

 

Coraline is a brave, curious character who isn’t held back by gender stereotypes, is firmly in control of her own destiny despite the difficulties that her age could pose, displays a consistent personality and has a range of well-developed, realistic relationships with a wide range of other female characters. She’s certainly passed my test!

Next week, I’ll be looking at Adventure Time. Princess Bubblegum, I’m coming for you.

 

 

And if you’re looking for all my posts on Strong Female Characters, you can find them here.