International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to honour some pop culture heroines that inspire the real-life women of the world. Here’s our list!
13 Inspiring Women in Comics and Movies
Not all heroes wear capes. But, these ones do. Sort of. Point is, as International Women’s Day comes around, we take a look at some amazing, strong women in pop culture.
These fictitious women are not only remarkable because they inspire the women of the world, but because they’re inspired by the women of the world. They’re full of life, energy, confidence, and all of the other fantastic feminine traits we celebrate on the 8th of March.
So, in no particular order, here we go…
1. Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman is one of the strongest superheroes in all of fiction. She has flight, super strength that matches that of Superman, and an arsenal of fighting moves that makes her incredibly powerful. But, it’s not just her physical power that makes her so impressive.
Diana Prince is a caring, considerate, quietly confident woman who has natural authority even when she’s out of her super suit. In the comics, Diana has had a few different jobs including an Army nurse, businesswoman, and even an astronaut. And, of course, in the DCEU, she works as an antiquities appraiser.
All in all, Wonder Woman has immense power. But, she doesn’t rely solely on that. She’s smart and has an ingrained goodness that’s always at play in her tactics. As we’ve seen in the comics an in Wonder Woman 1984, Diana is happy to solve conflicts with a bit of diplomacy.
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2. Captain Marvel
When you’re making a list of strong comic book heroines, you’ve got to put Captain Marvel near the top. In terms of physical power, she’s formidable, having huge strength, flight, and photon blasts at her disposal. Basically, if there’s an alien ship menacing the earth, she’ll just fly through it like a toddler crashing through a pyramid of toilet paper at the supermarket.
But, at the heart of Captain Marvel’s power is the supremely confident, take-no-nonsense, Carol Danvers. A fighter pilot by profession, Carol is headstrong and keen on tackling her problems head on. As Maria Rambeau put it in the MCU Captain Marvel, ‘You were the most powerful person I knew, way before you could shoot fire from your fists.’
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3. Princess Leia
Some might be forgiven for thinking that space princesses sit around all day on cushioned thrones and have aliens wait on them hand and foot. Not Princess Leia. An important part of the galactic Rebellion, Leia is a lead-by-example sort of princess.
She’s good with a blaster, she’s not intimidated by Sith in big, black helmets, and she totally owns her very unique sense of style. Leia is the sort of hands-on leader that all galaxies need.
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4. Hermione Granger
Hermione Granger is one of the most talented witches at Hogwarts. And, she didn’t rely on good genes or familial connections to do all the hard work. Muggle-born, Hermione puts maximum effort into what she does. And, she’s not one to downplay her intelligence for more popularity.
Even in her first year at Hogwarts, Hermione was completely comfortable with the person she was. And, despite being teased on occasion, she didn’t change for anyone. Plus, her ability to put up with Harry Potter and Ron Weasley is a testament to her patience and sheer strength of character.
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5. Power Girl (Tanya Spears)
Credit: DC via comicvine.gamespot.com
In case you’re not familiar with Power Girl, we can tell you that her name’s not ironic. As Power Girl, Tanya Spears has superhuman strength, invulnerability, the ability to grow at will, and flight. Though not actually related to Clark Kent, she’s imbued with Kryptonian power, making her a tough customer.
At just 17, Tanya was already a post doctorate fellow at MIT. And, we’re sure that, even without her powers, she would have changed the world. With her powers, however, she does a lot of that.
Plus, she showed real resolution when she shunned the male-fantasy-inspired suit that her predecessor, Karen Starr, wore and instead went for something much more empowering.
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6. Ms. Marvel
Power is something that Ms. Marvel has in spades. After being mutated by an Inhuman cloud, she gained the ability to ‘embiggen’, massively expanding parts of her body. Yep, she’s great at pummelling the bad guys with wrecking ball sized fists.
But, Ms. Marvel has heaps of inner strength. An American Muslim, Kamala Khan once questioned why she was treated differently. But, when she was given the chance to look like a more ‘conventional’ superhero, she decided to stay true to the person she is. Yeah, her inner strength matches her super strength.
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7. Black Widow
As one of the early MCU Avengers, Black Widow was the only woman in a team of heroes that had a god in Thor, a super soldier in Captain America, a green giant in the Hulk, and an iron-clad genius in Iron Man. But, she stood up and faced an alien invasion with just her pistols and martial arts moves.
Some would say that Black Widow doesn’t have a superpower. We say that she does: her bravery. She doesn’t have all the superhuman bells and whistles, but she’s still formidable and undeterred. That makes her a super strong woman in our book.
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8. Lois Lane
Credit: DC via dc.fandom.com
Lois Lane is another super woman who doesn’t actually have any superpowers. While she could easily have been just a damsel in distress, she’s a determined and driven reporter who’s always trusted to be in the thick of the action and get the story.
That’s likely why Superman has a crush on her. Her strength of characters matches his super strength. And, that’s why she’s managed to be a hero in her own right too.
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9. Harley Quinn
Leaving out all the crime and stuff, Harley Quinn is all about empowerment. In the comics she’s been a subservient goofball. But, in the DCEU, particularly Birds of Prey, she stepped out of Joker’s shadow and showed off her independence, her identity, and her acrobatic, kick-ass fighting skills!
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10. Pepper Potts
Credit: Marvel via cbr.com
In Avengers: Endgame, Pepper Potts played Rescue, basically the female Iron Man who was important in defending the world from Thanos. She’s brave, strong, and completely comfortable rubbing shoulders with hugely powerful heroes, despite being new to the gang.
But, way before this, we knew Pepper Potts was a strong woman. The role of Tony Stark’s assistant was never going to hold her, and it took her very little time to become CEO of Stark Industries. There she showed more of the take-no-nonsense charisma that got her the job in the first place.
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Credit: Marvel via nerdist.com
The cousin of Bruce Banner, Jennifer Walters got Hulk-like powers after receiving a blood transfusion from Bruce. She has the same immense strength as the Hulk, which she uses to give bad guys a hard time. But, she has some very important differences.
Unlike the rage-driven, dim-witted Hulk, She-Hulk retains her intelligence in her Hulk form. And, that’s some intelligence considering Jennifer was a lawyer before she got superpowers. That means she’s able to use smarter tactics when fighting, creating less havoc and exercising much more restraint to get the same results as the Hulk. That’s admirable.
Plus, Jennifer Walters has more self-control than the Hulk. She’s able to transform at will, often choosing to stay in her She-Hulk form for everyday living, completely comfortable with who she is.
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Granted, Gamora has some alien genes which have shown her doing things slightly beyond human capabilities. But, she wasn’t gifted powers through any particular event. Gamora simply worked with what she had and became the deadliest woman in the galaxy.
What makes Gamora so inspiring is that she managed to become such a good person despite so much adversity. Between Thanos killing her parents and raising her as an assassin, she could have gone really bad. But, she always puts the good of the galaxy ahead of her own interests.
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Like Gamora, Rey is an example of someone overcoming the difficulties of her past to become truly noble. Rey is one the strongest Jedi ever to wield a lightsabre, controlling the Force with flair and fighting with skill.
Despite being abandoned by her parents, growing up in poverty, and eventually finding out that she is a descendant of the evil Emperor Palpatine, Rey never gives into the Dark Side. Plus, she proves that you don’t have to be wealthy or well-born to make a huge impact on the world… or, in Rey’s case, the galaxy.
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Heroes Are Women, Women Are Heroes
These pop culture heroines are amazing. Yes, it’s partly because they’re saving the world and being awesome. But, it’s mostly because we see real women in them. They’re constantly overcoming difficult situations with poise, strength, and resolve, just like the women we celebrate on International Women’s Day!
Main image credit: Marvel via marvelplotpoints.com