Analyzing Women’s Strength in Fiction: Emotional Strength in TV and Anime

I am so sorry for being so late! I have been really busy and frankly, forgot about this post. But it’s here!

Honorable mention: Shado, Arrow

1. Molly Hooper, Sherlock

Subcategory: mental

In the first season of Sherlock, Molly appears to just be a kind girl who has a crush on Sherlock. However, in season 2, she proves to be resilient and steady; she’s one of the few people Sherlock has ever apologized to after he hurts her feelings. Not just anyone can say that Sherlock Holmes has apologized to them. Besides, she also dated the world’s greatest criminal mastermind and didn’t die, she went through medical school (she clearly has some brains) and works with corpses on a daily basis. And in Reichenbach, she’s one of the people Sherlock trusts with his grand plan. Molly is a character who is beloved by many, yet has a lot of haters, mainly because of her crush on Sherlock. I find that reason stupid; most women (and most men too) have had crushes on people and gotten a little in over their heads because of it. Does that invalidate their strength of character? No. That’s why I feel as though Molly is actually quite relatable and is a much stronger character than most people think.

2. Joss Carter, Person of Interest, 

Subcategory: mental

Carter is a police detective who always has her morals in check. She’s often hell-bent on finding the perpetrator of whatever crime she’s investigating. Even early on, when she was trying to track down John Reese, the protagonist, I couldn’t hate her; mainly I was surprised at how stubborn she was. But there’s another reason she’s strong; she was able to change her state of mind and became an important ally for Reese and Finch, even though she started out as their enemy. Carter seems to be quite underrated when put into comparison of the other lead female characters, Root and Shaw, which I find too bad. I found Carter to be the heart of the show in some ways; she portrayed strong morals and a kind heart, all the while being sharp and motivated in solving crimes. She’s saved the main characters several times, and while she does bend the rules at times, she always sticks to what she believes is right.

3. Donna Noble, Doctor Who

Subcategory: mental

I remember when Donna first appeared in Doctor Who; I didn’t like her. She was way too in your face, always had something to say. But by the end of the episode, I was pleasantly surprised by her character development, and at the end of season 4, I can say I think Donna had the best character development of all the companions. She had amazing resilience from the start; in her first episode, she had an awful wedding day; her fiancé was cheating on her with an alien (and plotted to kill her), she vanished on the altar and came face to face with The Doctor (who was an emotional wreck after Doomsday), and when she vanished, no one thought to look for her; instead, they partied. Yet she still saves the Doctor that day, rather than falling apart. Later, it’s revealed she suffers emotional and mental abusive from her mother, and the only person to truly show her love is her grandfather. And while Donna does amazing things with the Doctor, she thinks of herself as nothing. Despite her horrible self-esteem, she saves so many lives, including the Doctor’s, and slowly gains confidence.

4. Madoka Kaname, Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Subcategory: physical

At first, Madoka just seems like the classic sweet main character: naive, gentle, and has a small group of friends. But as the true nature of the anime is revealed, she is shown to be much tougher than she looks. Madoka has to see a friend die, see another friend become involved in a deadly rivalry with another magical girl, and sees that same friend crumble into depression, all while being unable to help without sacrificing something very important. While she may not be involved in the center of the events of the story, she clearly shows guilt over what is happening. Some fans criticize Madoka for her lack of involvement and for her tearful nature. I actually think her tears make her stronger: I’ve learned that it’s better to react in the moment rather than hide true feelings. It can help prevent mental illness. And don’t get me started on what she does in the last episode. She’s so selfless, and is truly the most powerful magical girl of all.

5. Caitlin Snow, The Flash

Subcategory: mental

Caitlin has gone through way too much in the first two seasons alone. I’m really surprised no one has recommended she go to a counselor after all that’s happened. Not only is she an important asset to the Flash and therefore been targeted by villains numerous times, she lost her fiancé, found him, except he was very different, then saved him, then lost him again, was backstabbed by a close friend, was eventually abducted and held against her will by that friend, and clearly has some PTSD. Yet she’s resilient and does not allow herself to break down. She remains brave and compassionate, and doesn’t allow her experiences to control her.  I dunno about the fandom, but I quite like Caitlin; she’s kind, smart, and refuses to let the past change her negatively.

8 thoughts on “Analyzing Women’s Strength in Fiction: Emotional Strength in TV and Anime

  1. I love these posts of yours, Kate!
    And although I haven’t had the pleasure of watching any of your mentions except for Doctor Who, you totally piqued my interest 🙂
    Donna Noble was exactly that: a noble woman, through and through. She’s my second favorite companion and terribly underrated. No one ever remembers Donna! It’s either Rose or Amy. Which is a shame because she was a terrific character and I miss her a lot 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!
      Ooh, which shows are you interested in now?
      I know, Donna’s name actually gives you hints into her personality. Oh! Who’s your favorite companion? To be honest, I have a hard time choosing just one…But Donna is very underrated. It’s sad. And I’m always gonna be annoyed with how she went.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My favorite is Amy but it’s a very close tie with Donna, to be honest! (Is it a redhead thing to be awesome? I don’t know hahaha) But yeah, all of them were great in their own way.
        I’ve had little time lately to watch anything at all but I love Game of Thrones, The 100 and Once Upon a Time. I have some others but I’m super behind on them! I’ve watched 2 episodes of Sherlock and used to be obsessed with Arrow, which sort of connects with The Flash in a way… But I have no idea what’s going on in the show right now XD

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I like Amy too! And yeah, red heads seem to be awesome a lot…
        Huh. I haven’t watched any of the shows you mentioned. Like, Game of Thrones sounds interesting, but I don’t want to watch it…everyone dies! And I only really enjoyed the first two seasons of Sherlock, although the second episode of season 4 is amazing! I dropped Arrow after season 2. The first two seasons were amazing, but after that…no.


      3. Yeah, you learn one thing after you start watching/reading Game of Thrones: don’t get attached XD But it’s still an amazing show. I highly recommend it!
        The 100 is pretty cool too. In the future, humans live in space because Earth is inhabitable as the result of a nuclear apocalypse. But then space is no longer an option either so they have to return… Instead of sending everyone in, they send 100 teenage delinquents to check if it’s safe (since they’re expendable). And it kind of goes from there.
        I’m on Arrow’s season 4 right now and don’t really know what to think of it. It’s fine but I’m not as excited to watch it as before. Could be because I haven’t watched it in so long or just the show itself. Oh well.
        Sherlock was alright but didn’t really grab my attention. Maybe I need to watch a couple more episodes before making a proper judgement.


  2. I’ve seen Sherlock, but it’s been awhile. I hadn’t really thought about what it meant, Molly being one of the few that was in on Sherlock’s plans, or what she must have gone through mentally after finding out that sweet Jim was actually Moriarty.

    Donna was such a bundle of complicated things and I love her so much. She’s such a picture of strength for so long, with her outgoing manner and brusque talking style, but underneath is someone with a lot of doubt. I still haven’t watched the last few episodes of S4 because they make me quite sad, the end of Doctor Donna. ;_;


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s