Analyzing Women’s Strength in Fiction: Physical Strength in Movies

Honorable mention: Astrid, How To Train Your Dragon series

1. Black Widow, Marvel studios  

Subcategory: mental

Do I need to explain her? Black Widow is smart and strong, able to kick anyone’s butt. She is a former Russian operative, but then worked for SHIELD and now, The Avengers. Black Widow is very popular for her smarts, strength, and independence. But some criticize her for being the “weakest” Avenger, as in, no special powers. Those people make me want to laugh. Her agility and martial arts skills can definitely count as a power. I dare you to imagine Thor, or Captain America, or Iron Man, or the Hulk, attempt to replicate her fighting skills, and  try not to laugh. So don’t put her down just because she doesn’t have “super powers.” She is one of the strongest and most capable members of the Avengers.

2. San, Princess Mononoke:

Subcategory: emotional

San is probably the fiercest female character from Studio Ghibli. Her parents abandoned her as a baby, and she was raised by Moro, the leader of a wolf pack. San can easily stand her ground with the wolves, and she will do anything to protect the forest from other humans. She’s one of the most popular Ghibli heroines, but I have rather mixed feelings about San. On one hand, she’s an interesting character who’s strong, has a heart, and has  great development.  But on the other hand, in the beginning, she seemed rather bratty and overly impulsive. Of course, some of the fault lies in the storytelling, but she just seemed a little petty at moments. So while I like her quite a bit, she isn’t my favorite Ghibli heroine. She’s a developed character, but I can’t bring myself to love her like everyone else seems to.

3. Sarah Connor, Terminator: Judgement Day:

Subcategory: emotional

In the first Terminator, Sarah Connor was just an ordinary girl. But in the second one, she was a mother preparing for a war between humans and machines. She was also seen as clinically insane by doctors and her own son. However, she definitely became stronger, physically and mentally. And I have to admit I’m impressed that she was able to trust the second Terminator, as he looked like the machine that tried to kill her in the first movie. I haven’t seen these movies in a long time, so this will be short; basically, I think she had fantastic development between the two films, and it was her emotional strength and mental power that made her so strong.

4. Mulan, Mulan:

Subcategory: emotional

Mulan is easily one of the strongest Disney princesses. (I’m talking about princesses only here. The Disney heroines like Esmerelda, Meg, Nani, Kida, etc. are a different story). Anyway, she goes off to war dressed as a man to keep her aging father from having to go instead. I mean, that’s pretty darn courageous. And yet she grows and becomes even stronger throughout the movie. Mulan is one of the most beloved of the Disney princesses, and for good reason; she’s brave, kind, family oriented, and was one of the first princesses to rescue others rather than just being saved. And yes, Mulan does get “saved” at one point, but keep in mind that that was after she had basically stopped her entire military squad and captain from being killed by the Huns.

5. Wonder Woman, Batman Vs. Superman:

Subcategory: emotional

I think everyone can agree with me when I say that Batman Vs. Superman was pretty meh…until Wonder Woman appeared. The last couple of minutes were awesome with her in it, and the actress they chose was perfect. She was one of the few heroes to be able to really fight Doomsday, and she was her own hero; she wasn’t “with” Batman or Superman. And she was even cooler in her own movie. She proved to have her own direction and capability. She makes her own decisions, and although she is one of the strongest women to have ever existed, it’s her loving heart that gives her so much power. She’s kind and compassionate, yet that doesn’t weaken her; instead it makes her even stronger.

21 thoughts on “Analyzing Women’s Strength in Fiction: Physical Strength in Movies

  1. Black Widow and Mulan are definitely my favorites!! BW is just really awesome in general, I loved her especially in Winter Soldier with Cap. I’ve only seen Mulan once but I loved her as well! Great list, as always!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I love Peggy and Pepper! It’s so sad about Pepper and Tony Stark though. Some of them are stronger without powers and that’s pretty cool. But I do love the female characters with powers too; The Scarlet Witch is another favorite of mine. Yeah, it irks me too, because I love them all!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sorry this is so late, but yeah…I have to agree about being sad about Tony and Pepper. They were cute, and I especially liked how they were in the third Iron Man movie. And some if them are stronger without the powers, but the female characters with powers are pretty darn cool too. And I do like Scarlet Witch! I’ve only seen her in Civil War, but I thought she was surprisingly complex and interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this post! It’s definitely a subject I’m passionate about 🙂
    My favorite moment was definitely when Wonder Woman showed up… It was so badass! Even the song sent chills down my spine! Superman and Batman paled so much in comparison.
    Mulan is one of my favorite Disney princesses. She’s brave yes, but she had to work to earn everything else. She had to train her butt off and win the trust and loyalty of her comrades (all men) by proving herself to them. She also remained humble, kind and real throughout the story, no matter what she achieved. That is true strength right there.
    I love San, even though I recognize her faults (I think that’s why I love her so much). She was raised by wolves and thus thinks and feels like them. It would be unfair to compare her to a normal human being and expect the same from her. Besides, she did everything she could and what she thought best for the forest and her friends/family, regardless of her own safety. That is commendable in itself.
    Again, awesome post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same here! It was awesome, and I really hope the Wonder Woman movie is good.
      I know, that’s another reason I love Mulan that I need to add; she wasn’t good at everything right away. She had to work for it, and you saw her work for it. And despite going through war, she still had her basic moral code remain.
      San is an interesting character, and her faults definitely help make her a good character. I just felt like she was a little overrated. Like, I keep hearing people say she’s one of the best (if not the best) Ghibli heroine, and I don’t agree with that. But yeah, it was unfair of me to compare her to normal human standards, because well, the wolves and the forest were the only family she’d ever known. And yeah, her doing everything possible to save her family and friends is commendable. I just felt like she was a little overrated.
      And thanks!


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