Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Favorites: Bad Ass Females Edition

Welcome to Friday Favorites! FF's is a weekly feature on this blog in which I list books, authors, characters, etc. who I feel deserve a little bit of recognition. 

This week's Bad Ass Females edition of Friday Favorites will focus on heroines, side characters, villains, etc. who don't take things lying down. They're sassy, tough, and more than willing to save themselves instead of waiting for someone to sweep them off their feet.

One thing that I've seen more and more of in literature lately is something that I like to refer to as the Pseudo-Prince Charming (Or "Nice Guy") Effect. Authors today seem to think that it's okay to have their male leads be complete misogynistic assholes who completely disregard their leading ladies' opinions, feelings, and wishes and instead do what they deem "best for them". However, they make up for these obvious character flaws by attaching a tragic past, making them fabulously rich and horribly attractive, or both. Oy. Not only is this becoming alarmingly prevalent in popular adult literature, it's seeping into young adult literature and giving young girls the wrong ideas about what they should be looking for in a boyfriend, as well as about how they should be acting. Namely, like the only important thing in life is getting a boyfriend and that they should just settle for the first creep who comes along and stalks them.

Now, I'm not one of those Negative Nancies who think that all girls are going to see things like this and find these "nice guys" brooding and attractive instead of abusive and frightening. But the fact of the matter is, weak female leads and mentally (and emotionally) abusive love interests are becoming frighteningly popular. So without further ado (and no more ranting), here is a list of females who took the popular damsel in distress act and completely threw it out the window.

1. Katsa from Kristin Cashore's Graceling

Now, not only is this girl bad ass, she's also smart. And she even ends up saving her love interest instead of the other way around. She refuses to allow things to simply happen around her and instead takes matters into her own hands, time and time again. It also helps that she's been trained to fight for her whole life. And there's the little matter of her grace.

2. Kaoru from Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Kaoru had the potential to become a sad, sappy girl who suffers from "Bella Syndrome". However, unlike Bella would have, when Akiva starts acting like a jerk, she doesn't just take it. She tells him to quit his shit. And he does. What a thought! Plus, again, she's taken self defense and fencing classes for nearly her whole life. And her former self was a soldier. So. You know. That helps.

3. Hazel Grace Lancaster from John Green's A Fault in Our Stars

Hazel is a girl who is dying from cancer. I don't know about you guys, but if I was slowly drowning in my own body, I would be a lot less well-adjusted than she is. Hazel is a female protagonist who accepts her lot in life, but who doesn't act as though the world owes her anything for the crappy hand she was dealt. She navigates through romance, disappointment, and loss with far more grace than she gives herself credit for, and she comes out hopeful in spite of everything that has happened to her.

4. Isabelle Lightwood from Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments Series

I've only read the first two books so far, so correct me if I'm wrong, but Isabelle is terrifying. She may be a supporting character, but she's definitely not someone whose bad side I would want to be on. She's tough, smart, and kicks some serious ass, all while managing to look like a supermodel. That takes talent.

5. Clary Fray from Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments Series

Again, I've only read the first two books so far, but Clary can hold her own. She doesn't expect Jace or Simon to rescue her and while she is untrained, she has some serious guts when it comes to a fight. She speaks her mind, fights for what she believes is right, and makes sure that she's always along for the ride without being a liability.

6. Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter Books

Hermione is possibly the most wonderful female character in young adult literature and certainly the first that I really looked up to as a young reader (Of course, I was 11 at the time, but I digress). Hermione is not only brilliant, but also fiercely loyal and committed to doing everything she can for the greater good. And I don't know about you, but if she pointed a wand at me, I'd be just a bit nervous.

7. Molly Weasley from the Harry Potter Books

"Not my daughter, you bitch!" Enough said.

8. Bellatrix Lestrange from the Harry Potter Books

Alright, say what you will, but Bellatrix is one of my favorite characters in the Harry Potter books. She's so twisted and evil that I can't help but want to get inside her head and see what it is that makes her tick and why she's so adoring of old Moldyfarts.

So there we have it. Eight female characters who refuse to fall into the damsel in distress personality type that seems to be so popular. If you haven't read any of these fantastic books, I highly recommend each and every one of them. These are the types of girls that should be seen as role models (For the most part. I wouldn't exactly recommend taking a page out of Bellatrix Lestrange's book). They mess up, but they make sure that they fix their own mistakes instead of relying on their boyfriends to do it for them.

Happy reading, all!


  1. The only ones I can agree with you are the last two...and its only because out of the books you mentioned I have only read that series, LOL.
    Every time I here "Bad ass female character" my mind ALWAYS goes to Faythe from Rachel Vincent's Shifter series. I dont know if you've read it, but it's practically the only adult series that I actually like! You should definitely check it out (the 1st book is called Stray). And if you ever get a chance to read them let me know what you think of Marc...I personally hate that guy (he's is a total jerk-face and totally abusing in my opinion)! I'm Team Jace! :D

    1. That's on my Kindle and my to-read list! I'll have to move it up a bit. I'm so overwhelmed by how many books I have to read right now that it's ridiculous, though, so it probably won't be for a while, haha. Good thing that I have a job that allows me to read and derp around on the internet all day!

  2. Great list Kendra. Kaoru kicks ass! I love the Infernal Devices series so much (or the first two, anyway) that I bought the box set of Mortal Instruments. Can't wait to read during vacation next month!