While are there plenty of awesome female heroines in popular culture today (Ellen Ripley, The Bride and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, to name but a few), there is a relative plague of terrible ones. As such I present to you a tentative top five worst heroines of recent years. Hold onto your handbags, girls; this could get ugly.
Where do I begin? Bella Swan herself is clearly Stephanie Meyer’s self insert Mary Sue, and if you don’t believe me just Google the comparisons and see for yourself. While the book itself is written like a bad fan fiction (and its dedicated Wiki well worth a read if you’re in need of a laugh; it actually outshines some of the parodies in places), its content is probably the most disturbing aspect. Bella seems to willingly pursue what is essentially an abusive relationship with the brooding yet sparkly Edward, crawling back to him after every melodramatic incident. After flirting relentlessly with the werewolf Jacob (who seems to be mostly made of abs), she and Edward eventually get married, their hybrid baby breaking her ribs and snapping her spine in the process of being born.
Lovely. I don’t think there are enough words to describe everything that’s wrong with Bella Swan.
Marion started out as a fairly promising character. When she first meets the soon-to-be Prince of Thieves upon his return to England she very nearly bests him in a duel (initially unbeknownst to him as she is disguised in a suit of armour), and for a decent amount of time she remains fairly realistically angry at him for leaving her brother behind in Jerusalem. However it seems that as soon as she starts to fall in love with him she begins to metamorphose into a classic damsel in distress, easily allowing herself to be kidnapped despite her previous impressive swordswomanship.
The iconic tart with a heart as portrayed by Julia Roberts. A mainstay of girl’s night in movies since its release in 1990, Vivian’s prostitution is pictured with a rosy Hollywood glow as she demands huge amounts of money (and full credit card access, of course) from Richard Gere’s suspiciously kindly businessman in order to act as his escort for social events (surely kerb crawling on Hollywood Boulevard wasn’t the best place to look, Mr Gere?). Ultimately made happy by his showering her with clothes, gifts and other material possessions, Vivian falls in love and she and his wallet live happily ever after.
With little personality and a lot of shiny PVC, Kate Beckinsale’s vampire protagonist, while certainly something to look at, is really quite boring. All the flashy action sequences , pouting and frustratingly laboured romance subplots can’t bring life to what is essentially a two-dimensional character. Yes, she can kick ass (shooting through the floor like that wouldn’t work in real life, by the way) and yes, she’s attractive, but Buffy’s a better vampire slayer than her by far (as well as, you know, actually being a likeable character).
This is a tough one. Padmé isn’t actually that much of a dislikeable character overall, but her relationship with Anakin Skywalker is effectively her ruin heroine-wise. Starting out as a stoic queen who cunningly uses her handmaidens to allow her some semblance of freedom, she’s initially pretty tough and can handle a blaster with the best of them. However, as time goes by she is somewhat improbably seduced by the moody teenaged Darth Vader, embarking on a relatively sedentary lifestyle as senator (admittedly still a pretty powerful position) and soon-to-be pregnant secret wife. In the end her hubby pretty much seals her fate with a timely Force choke on his way down to the dark side, leaving her to bring Luke and Leia into the world just before she snuffs it. Poor girl.
Ella is a bitter old woman trapped in a bitter young woman’s body who works for a cloud computing company. She also likes cats.
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