Top Five Worst Heroines

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.

1. Bella Swan (the Twilight saga)


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.

2. Maid Marion (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves)


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.

3. Vivian Ward (Pretty Woman)



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.

4. Selene (the Underworld series)


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).

5. Padmé Amidala (the Star Wars saga)


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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Posted by on October 6, 2010. Filed under Entertainment, Movies, Television. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

41 Responses to Top Five Worst Heroines

  1. If by ‘cunningly uses her handmaidens’ you mean ‘treats them as expendable assassin magnets’, then yes.

  2. also, she doesn’t die because of the force choke, she dies because “she has lost the will to live.” she literally dies because she doesn’t want to live anymore. If that was possible, emo kids wouldn’t exist anymore.

  3. Bella Swan is absolutely ok… she should not be on this list

  4. who are you to suggest such harsh things some of them you listed are pretty good and Bella is a very good. i reckon you are a misogynist who can’t stand other’s rise. so go on and revel in your own miserable life

  5. @List Guy
    are you stupid. bella swan should not be here but i guess for people like you she is because if you compare her and you she is far better than you are. and you are a pathetic fool to list all the other characters also. what is wrong with you. do the world a favor and die right now. turd. you were truly BBM, born by mistake.
    We all are agree that you are the worst writer in the universe!

  6. aww, lookit all the little offended twif*%s… quit your BAWWWWing and accept the fact that Bella Swan is a one-dimensional, selfish, self-destructive twat. the only reason that she shouldn’t be on this list is that to suggest Bella Swan is even remotely a heroine is a crime against humanity and good sense.

    • AGREED. Bella Swan is possibly the worst role model ever, and yet and entire generastion of tweens want her life, including Stephanie Meyer. She is bland, with no real personality except that she NEEDS to have the attention of hormonal, borderline abusive douchebags.

  7. The writer of this list is obviously young and has never understood the sacrifice that one makes for love. Sometimes the woman chooses to be saved, and it’s okay to need saving once in awhile. This “tough bitch” nonsense isn’t necessary to be a fully developed heroine.

  8. Don’t knock twilight cuz they r way better

  9. Bella? Bella is the best! This page officially sucks

  10. She is way way better then u “waterbear”

  11. She is way way better then u who knock her so back the heck up

  12. Waterbear: I couldn’t have said it better…

  13. Megan, Bella is a freaking fictional character. Anyone can make a fictional character “better” than a real live person, especially if you don’t give that character any realistic flaws. And as far as fictional characters go, Bella still sucks. Go read some actual literature.

  14. Why is vivian Ward on this list
    This is a joke right??

  15. everyone that’s hating on all these characters obviously don’t have anything better to do with themselves but put the writers down that wrote these stories because they’re trying and your not

  16. everybody thats hating on these characters obviously dont have anything better to do but put down the writers who took there time and put their sweat and tears inside these stories not to mention themselves, and all ya’ll can do is hate because they are actually doing something with themselves. they stories made box office all you have is a website they movies are international so if you want to talk about something worse talk about this website

  17. Im basically reading all of this if you actually did read the story of twilight you would know that bella is not in an abusive relationship and if you actually paid attention to pretty woman then you would know that the character did not fall in love with the mans wallet she was changing her life around and going back to school so like i said you have nothing better to do oh and by the way as far as the list for bad hero names your name should be number one on the list

  18. Yeah, agreed. Bella Swan sucks dead balls.
    She is probably the worst heroine ever produced. And people still managed to like her.
    Complete mind f&*k.

  19. I completely agree , Amidala does has a bit of a personality change, although i like Star Wars i woulda expected a different end for her .As for all the others, they well fit in their stereotypical story .Women are often squeezed into the victim that needs to be rescued corner and falling in love with their savior,but Bella is by far the weakest .The brainy kid and the pretty girl that all guys find attractive, mingled in the same body. What’s wrong with this picture? this story would well fit for an obsessed teen with a deathwish , but theres so many things that dont match with their own pattern in the book that her character is only 3 rd on the unsuccessful hybrids list.

  20. Bella Swan should be killed

    Bella Swan in indeed the worst heroine of all time!! She should have died in the first book. And that vampire is the worst vampire of all time. I never seen a vampire with AIDS until Twillight.

    Selene is also spot on. Almost as dead as the Twilight vampires.

  21. Pelase go and read Dracula or something… the fact that haf of the people who claim Bella is not supposed to be on this list seem to think chatspeak makes us more inclined to believe you, this pushes their credibility to beyond stupid.

    Good list and for all the people who cry about this list.

    Please call the WHAAAAMbulance

  22. Couldn’t be more agree with this ;)

  23. You Know I'm Right

    Great list! I’m a fan of strong, independent heroines who don’t go pathetic over men, aren’t Mary Sues, and can make their own choices in life. I’m amazed (but I shouldn’t be) by all of the hate you are getting by the Twitards! Well, if at any point you were hurt or offended, just remember that these people are (a)13 years old, (b) have no idea what real literature is, (c) take themselves and anything Twilight related way too seriously, and (d) have never read a book that isn’t about vampires. They also imagine themselves to be Bella Swan, so they think you are dissing them. Lol.

    I’m part of the target audience for YA, but I prefer a smart, well-written book with good, fleshed-out characters. Bella Swan is neither good nor fleshed-out. She is rather shallow, in fact, and it’s unfortunate how many girls model themselves after her and KStew. Maybe one day they’ll grow up and realize what a true heroine is.

    Oh, and a note about the abuse that people seem to think doesn’t exist in the books: it’s not physical abuse, obviously. Edward is controlling and he stalks her. She also lets him. It’s still a type of abuse. I seem to recall instances of blackmail and truck murder. Hmm…What a great example of “true love”!

  24. Just reading the comments makes me love this list. Critics aren’t just going to take stabs in the dark with their criticisms, people. God forbid, it’s almost like a critic actually has to have an educated opinion on the stuff they critique or something…o wait…they do >_>. The fact that the Twifags here feel the need to defend a poorly made character disappoints me especially.

  25. Bella is nice.this story is absolutely ugliest wolf is not suit with Bella.the couple of Bella and Edward is perfect.Edward love her more than Jacob so she shouldn’t have to be the part of that list..

  26. YOU GO THE HELL! Bella is NOT one of the “worst” heroines got it?! Kristen/Bella both of the girls are cool ok?! If you don’t like twilight ….i’m sorry for your sorry ass but don’t bother US with this crap !!

  27. Where the hell is Harry Potter? Bella made the list, SO WHERE THE HELL IS HARRY POTTER! HE IS EFFING NUMBER ONE. So where the hell is he?!

  28. I thought it said five best…So I think this is a fine list….

  29. It would be pretty scary if you boyfriend stalked you, destroyed your truck so you couldn’t visit other boys, was about a hundred years older than you, told you he would kill himself if you died and forces you to stay with his sisters when he’s gone so you can’t do anything. Bella, apparently likes this (or she doesn’t leave him anyway). The two also get oddly hysterical when away from each other, insanely jealous and Bella cheats on Edward. And don’t get me started on the fact that everyone thinks she is amazingly brave and beautiful. She’s scared of dancing and constantly whines about hurting Jacob.

  30. Yeah, you got that right with Bella. She’s just an effing weakling who is the creation of an untalented misogynist who wrote about *her* (imagine, Stephenie thinks her own folk are a bunch of weaklings who have to submit to the men?) sexual fantasies about a 100+ year-old sparkling, over-possessive vampire and a klutzy, idiotic, masochistic teenage girl.

  31. Padme Amidala is a strong character except for her end, it’s sad that people judge her because she had a weak moment, everyone have weak moment. Bella Swan is a very weak character, she don’t have personality, she’s boring, she only think about herself, she cheats on Edward, she doesn’t have any hobbie or passion except Edward and sometime Jacob, she never smile and there are a lot of other things that I could tell. Bella is totally at her place on this list but Padme amidala shouldn’t be there.

  32. umm , u forgot Tank Girl

  33. exactly!! Kristen is not for Bella that’s for sure! i’m falling in love with Bella, but hate Kristen. what should i do?

  34. Bella Swan and Vivian Ward shouldn’t be on this list. I like Twilight films/books and Pretty Woman, but neither of them are actually heroins =/ so you can’t exactly say they’re in the top 5 worst heroins list when they’re not heroins…

  35. While the list above is the opinion of the author, I don’t quite understand the need to write about something that one hates. In the short life that we have why dwell on things that we hate rather than the one’s we love. Why not make a list of best heroine characters that one likes?

  36. Padmé isn’t actually that much of a dislikeable character overall, but her relationship with Anakin Skywalker is effectively her ruin heroine-wise.

    This is so pathetic. The only way for Padme to be a great heroine was for her not to get involved in Anakin and maintain some stupid feminist ideal that is nothing more than an illusion on part of the fans?

  37. I love how passionate people get about fictional characters. I see no problem with the author of this list, characters like Bella are actually detrimental to young impressionable people and should therefore be made me to be seen as such. The day I hear a 30 yr old tell me that they think Twilight is a good story, I will reconsider my opinion.

  38. This is complete bs all these heroines are really good in acting and shape, you probably dont have the taste of movies you watch.once again this is just a promo of this website if you are doing so else people know these are real good heroines.

  39. its called 'brains'

    hello fellow readers, while i under stand the need to voice ones opinion, i think it is incredulous for so many people to be mean to someone about there opinion. if you don’t like what a page says, then just look at something else.

    Another thing is that a heroine is only a heroine to people who think that she is. if you don’t think that that person is a heroine then you can say so, but don’t be a troll about it.

    online troll:
    1. Is a person who is here just to annoy other users and to cause as much upset as they can. They like to lure/bait others into biting back.

    1. A woman admired or idealized for her courage or noble qualities.
    2. The chief female character in a book, play, or movie, who is typically identified with good qualities