Hero Archetype #9 — The Bad Ass Woman

When I was thinking about what to write this post about, I realized I overlooked something that is all too obvious to me.  As I’ve mentioned before in a previous post, I am quite inspired by women.  Why I never thought about the movies/books/whatever with a bad ass woman in it is beyond me but, hey, better late than never right?

So onto the post.  Bad ass women.  Something about them always added a certain level of entertainment to any story.  I think it’s because I’ve always enjoyed the women I’ve met in my life that, for the lack of a better term, could kick my ass.

Personally, I think it’s because I have a generally aggressive and assertive personality, and I like people who challenge me and aren’t cowed by it.  Add in the fact that they’re women and the whole thing is even better.

My friends laugh and tell me I have a fetish for “dragon ladies”, as hardcore female characters have been coined.

Honestly, I can’t find  a way to argue with them.

So this post goes out to all those wonderful characters and the fire that drives them.

You see, the best thing about the bad ass woman in any story is that it’s usually so different from what we usually see in books and television today.  As I’ve mentioned before in my post on the Bechdel Test, most female characters are put into a story just to fawn, or fight, over the male protagonist.

I love when they’re elevated past that and actually given more of a purpose and personality.

Listen, I’m sorry if the feminists out there are going to get mad at me for this, but what I love about it is the combination of strength and femininity.  Traditional femininity is all about beauty and grace that would sometimes border on fragility.  I love when they take out that fragility and put in a bad attitude and the willingness to kick ass.

Once you miss that with other heroic archetypes and you really see the magic happen.

Stories with bad ass women is that the stories crafted around them are always excellent, and some are even legendary.

Look at Sarah Connor from The Terminator, it’s become a piece of our culture.


The Bad Ass Woman mixed with the Accidental Hero

Lisbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon tattoo series is an excellent character in an excellent series of books and movies.  Unfortunately Stieg Larsson is no longer with us, but the books he did finish have become a Swedish national treasure.

Girl With Dragon Tattoo

The Bad Ass Woman mixed with the Anti-hero

The list goes on an on.  I’m not going to take the time to lay out all the examples I could think of but one thing is true.

Strong and dangerous women do well in the world of fiction.  I’ve mentioned why I have a personal affinity for it, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we all have our own personal reason for enjoying this phenomenon.

What I do know is that using this archetype in conjunction with others typically associated with males will make your story stand out.

I highly suggest giving it a whirl for yourself.

So what do you think?  Agree?  Disagree?  Think I’m crazy?  Whatever you think, please leave your thoughts in the comments below.


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