When doing yesterday’s article I linked to two previous articles about strong women characters from my youth, proving that the strong female isn’t some new thing to fiction, I noticed I used Web Woman here twice. This was a result of me forgetting who was in the first list when I did the second list. So to correct that oversite and to prove I didn’t just run out here are five more women who showed how strong they really were.
Not every woman has to be the main character or be able to bench press Manhattan to be strong. There are many forms of strength and this list has some great ones. They still struggled because struggle is part of drama and it’s what the men were doing, but they used their own unique skills without losing their femininity in the process. They showed what a strong woman can be like, whether it was strength of will, strength of character, or strength of courage. They’re mighty but they’re too busy stopping evil to roar.
Lois Lane (Superman and other related DC shows, comics, games, radio dramas….)
Admittedly this one comes down to depiction. Ignoring the Silver Age for a lot of reasons, Lois has also been written as someone who puts common sense aside to get that scoop and needing Superman to get her out of trouble. You’d suspect the reason Superman never gave her a signal watch was that she would burn the battery out. Thankfully better versions would come along as Superman would teach her Kryptonian martial arts (or maybe took her to Kandor to learn them) so she could defend herself in the Bronze Age. Later versions, including how we see her today, would grant her toughness due to her being an Army brat, though she chose journalism over the military. This would lead to the best version of Lois.
While not pining over Superman’s wedding ring like she did in the Silver Age she would still be involved with him. As Clark would temper that military attitude a bit he never tried to get rid of it. It was that strength of character, a never give up attitude, and fearlessness even when she probably should have backed off (for better or worse) that made him fall in love with her, while in turn it was Clark’s personality and compassion that won her away from Superman before learning he was Superman. They’re one of the perfect couples and I’m just waiting for DC to destroy their marriage again because modern writers don’t know how to write loving, happy couples.
Goldie Gold (Goldie Gold & Action Jack)
I don’t care how many reviewers on YouTube trash this show, Goldie Gold And Action Jack was a great 80s Saturday morning show from Ruby-Spears. Goldie was one of those reasons. She has friends everywhere. She’s compassionate and loving and not giving everyone all the money in the world doesn’t say different. If a dude calls himself Hobo Joe he apparently doesn’t mind being a hobo. For some that’s a lifestyle choice and whose to say she didn’t forward him a few bucks when he helped her out or they just came across each other?
The woman runs, among many other business ventures, a newspaper that specializes in some wacky investigations, like a snake cult with their own giant snake, or a bunch of thieves who try to brainwash her into thinking she’s a reincarnated queen so they can rob a village’s precious jewels. She may not be physically powerful, which is why Jack is there for the muscle, but she’s smart and uses a wide array of gadgets to stop bad guys or save their lives. You wouldn’t think a Paris Hilton prototype with Richie Rich levels of money and technology at her disposal would a great heroine but by 1980s Sat AM standards she fit the bill as well as she did her outfits.
Tess Darrett (Pole Position)
Based on the arcade game in the same way Rings Of Power is based on the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, Pole Position followed a team of siblings working at a traveling vehicular stunt show. However this was actually a cover. “Pole Position” is the name of a secret crimefighting organization, and this won’t be the only connection I make to Knight Rider as the concept sure seems heavily inspired by the show to me. For one thing, hero siblings Dan and Tess drove cars with hidden gadgets and operated by computers, Roady for Dan and Wheels (voiced by Melvin Franklin of the music sensation The Temptations) for Tess. They also had their younger sister Daisy and her pet whatever it is Kuma, as required by Saturday morning law. I’m not even kidding about not knowing what Kuma is as it turns out he’s some generically created creature who somehow ended up with the Darrett family.
Tess drove the normal-looking car and was the more serious of the siblings. Not that Dan was some joke character. The two were on even footing but Tess was less impulsive and more grounded than her brother. That was the benefit to their partnership on the stunt track and crimefighting. Sometimes you need impulsive and sometimes you need to hold back. She was just as tough as the better Lois depictions but wasn’t perfect. There was a time her heart was broken when a former love interest ended up betraying Pole Position for example. However, perfect is not very exciting. Tess was compassionate but strong of character and her desire to see justice done, the guilty punished, and the innocent protected, especially when it involves her family. It’s just her family includes a brother, a sister, the uncle who sends them on missions, a hybrid animal, and a pair of vector graphic computers.
Mara and Drissi (The New Adventures Of He-Man)
Since I screwed up last time and reused a character let’s have a two-for-one sale. We already know Eternia was filled with strong women, a necessity when you live on a planet-sized death trap. However, Adam would run into a pair of strong women on Primus when He-Man was called to protect that world from the evil Mutants. While not as skilled in battle as Teela (who actually put in an appearance–looking more like a She-Ra redesign down to swapping red hair for blonde), unless you want to count Mara’s last appearance and that stupid ponytail attached to a giant mace (seriously, Mattel, it may have worked as a toy but if you want a show think about how dumb that might look), they were both strong in their own right.
Mara was the assistant to Master Sebrian, technically the ruler though he did answer to the Council Of Elders. She never bought the story that Adam was some nephew her mentor never mentioned and was looking to expose him. I don’t know if she thought he was a threat to Sebrian but she never showed signs of it. She led the women in one defensive battle with the Mutants, had a romance of sorts going with Flipshot (I don’t think the writers ever decided who was involved with whom, unless they wanted Drissi to come off as a floozy), and would stand up to Sebrian to get him to take better care of himself on occasion when he overexerted. She wasn’t a mother hen but she cared about her friends and her planet and did her part to defend it.
Drissi I admittedly make fun of on occasion. A staunch pacifist, it seemed at times she stuck too hard to that when the shield around the planet developed holes and the Mutants started invading the planet at least once a week. Still, she did stay true to her values, protected her excitable brother Kaz (I’ll defend Scott Trakker from MASK and I swear Kaz was suicidal–at least Scott and T-Bob were helpful on occasion), and tend to the animals in the garden. Sadly her mental powers couldn’t control Kaz as well as her animals. She’s kind, loving, and good-natured, managing to remain that way under harsh circumstances. She may not have the right idea but her heart is in the right place and she’s strong in being true to herself. I have to admire that…as she runs away from another enemy attack and swears they don’t need to fight.
Nyota Uhura (Star Trek franchise)
Sadly we recently lost Nichelle Nichols, but she left behind one of the most important cultural figures in science fiction. She almost didn’t do it, or didn’t stay with it, until the Reverend Martin Luther King Junior himself told her it was important to show a black woman treated like anyone else…certainly a rarity in the 1960s sad to say. She was part of the first on-screen interracial kiss, even though it was forced on both parties that was nonexistent at the time…you could say it was forced on the audience. And that totally lead to an acceptance of interracial couples and their children…if your advertising cereal, medication, or laundry detergent. Still waiting on that in the actual stories.
Uhura was the ship’s communications officer but while she didn’t get as much combat as some of the later women of the franchise, there was that time she led the ship’s female contingent to rescue the men from a group of sirens. Hey, I said women I grew up with, and I grew up with reruns of the animated series, which I still consider canon. Otherwise, she could take charge when needed, but mostly it was just showing that a woman was no different from the men on her ship. In the later movies she got more chances to shine (we’re ignoring the fan dance), and various comic and novel writers also gave her some shining moments. Uhura was just as important, and in a few areas more so, than her male colleagues on the bridge.
So there’s a total of 15, with a repair job to fix the numbers right. And that’s not even all of them. I focused a lot on animation because Hollywood hates cartoons, but these kids shows were already doing what they claim they’re trying to do today and did a better job of it. There were also strong women in the live-action stuff but I didn’t watch a lot of those growing up. If I do one of these again maybe I’ll stick more to there and show even more that strong women are nothing new. They were just actually women instead of men with taped-down boobs. Boobs are the devil’s beach toys, you know.