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November 3, 2008 |

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | November 3, 2008 |

Growing up, I had a very hard time feeling comfortable in my own skin. I read a lot, used big words, watched the Discovery channel, and insisted on questioning what “normal” meant. It’s gotten better as I’ve grown, more because I’ve become a stubborn misanthropic bitch than because I fit in more as an adult. However, even in the darkest days of feeling like the world was playing some kind of cosmic joke on me, there were women who inspired me, who lead me to believe that perhaps there was a light at the end of the tunnel for girls and women who didn’t fit. These are four women who make me feel more normal for an hour (or more) at a time.

gillian-anderson-maxim1.jpgDana Sculley*: The original, the trailblazer, the smoking hot death-dealing redheaded FBI agent who could apart a corpse like nobody’s business. I started watching the “X-Files” when I was 10, and while the ostensible hero was Fox Mulder, I watched for Sculley. Did it bother me that she was usually wrong? Hell no, I’m a rational human being and I don’t care how much “paranormal phenomenon” you’ve see, when you hear hooves you think horses not zebras. Is she the reason I have red hair now? Not directly, but the association definitely doesn’t hurt.

*The writer does not acknowledge that X-Files existed past season 7 and neither should you.

katestarbuck.jpgKara “Starbuck” Thrace: The world of “Battlestar Galactica” appears to be refreshingly gender neutral, but even there Kara Thrace is a stand out. She’s a foul mouthed, cocky, loose cannon, hard drinking pain in the ass who gets away with it because she also happens to be a damned amazing pilot with absolute confidence in her abilities. Too often women who are exceptional internalize the societal pressure to downplay their own accomplishments or talents. This is not a problem for Ms.Thrace, and it’s wonderful to see a woman who’s wildly talented and both knows it and will talk shit about it to anyone. If I were in a post-apocalyptic world where immortal, sentient robots were pursuing me with an eye towards total annihilation, I’d definitely want Starbuck on my side.

Elastigirl.jpgHelen Parr aka. Elastigirl aka. Mrs.Incredible: So inspiring she’s been a Halloween costume of mine. Helen was not only a kick ass superhero, but also a kick ass mother and I think both those roles are equally impressive. Never mind being an attentive, loving yet firm mother to three normal children, imagine doing it when one of those children can become invisible at will and throw force fields, one has super speed, and the third one…? Is a hellspawn? Whatever, Helen Parr is an amazing woman who not only manages to be a good mother to her children, but also an amazing hero who can orchestrate attacks using her children and husband’s unique abilities. Plus, she’s out there working it for all us bottom-heavy girls.

hermione-granger.jpgHermione Granger: Final hit in the pagan warrior/mother/maiden trifecta (although it could be argued that throughout the series, Hermione embodies all these roles), but also a great character in her own right. Brainy, capable, occasionally pushy, Hermione’s saga tracks several typical smart teenage-girl plights. Her tempestuous relationship with Ron Weasley, her overwhelming desire to be known as the best or brightest, her struggles with her looks, all of these are likely familiar to other girls who grew up trying to find a balance between their desire to showcase their intellect with their desire to fit in. Despite her occasional overbearing mannerisms, Hermione is a valuable member of the team and always comes through for her friends, whenever they need her help.

Special Graphic Novel Section, courtesy Marra

kittypride.jpgX Men’s Kitty Pryde, code name Shadowcat: Everybody’s favorite kid sister and, thanks to Joss Whedon’s latest reinvention of the Astonishing X-men, a kick-ass, intelligent first string protagonist in her own right. In the late 80s and 90s, especially, it was incredibly difficult to find a strong female character that wasn’t totally sexed up or borderline retarded (Invisible Woman, anyone?). Considering she became an X-Man in her early teens, she had a surprisingly normal transition to adulthood. Her powers are defensive, but that doesn’t stop her from kicking ass and taking names; she’s one of the few Jewish comic heroes, and she’s the best damn thing about X-Men: The Last Stand (granted, that’s not a high bar to clear). She’s brilliant, opinionated, and she has a pet purple dragon — if that’s not the definition of awesome, I don’t know what is.

tulip.jpgTulip O’Hare: For those of you not familiar with the Preacher Universe, it’s a fucked up world where God’s a pussy and a man can survive a nuclear explosion without even the help of a refrigerator, and Tulip O’Hare, gun-wielding girlfriend of Jesse Custer, is easily the greatest character in it. A bold claim to be sure, but Tulip is the very definition of bad-ass. She’s strong, smart, and hard-bitten, and also heartbreakingly vulnerable. She loves her man but doesn’t take any paternalistic shit from him — he tries to leave her behind in the final battle between Good and Evil to ‘protect her’; so what does she do? She mows everybody down with an M-4 and shoots Jesse’s mortal enemy herself, right in his penis-shaped head. Though she falls into a downward spiral of drugs and depression after she thinks Jesse died, she manages to pull herself together not because her man comes back to life but because she’s just that tough.

Honorable Mentions: Molotov Cocktease, Blossom, Bubbles, Buttercup, Selena (from 28 Days Later), Sharon “Athena” Agathon,, Professor McGonagall, and ZoĆ« Washburne.

Genny (also Rusty) spent the last four years getting a degree in Music with a minor in English and is now wondering if she should have pursued the trophy wife option. She wastes her time and potential in the farmland of central Maryland and blogs about it at Rusty’s Ventures.

Marra Alane Wilcox is a senior at a major university in southern Florida, where she is double majoring in Political Science and Criminology. She unfortunately realized too late that these areas of study have little to do with her future career plans. She blogs at Marra Alane. Sometimes.

A Completely Random List XII / Genny (also Rusty) & Marra

Lists | November 3, 2008 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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