Over the holidays I watched Mad Max Fury Road. I’m not usually a fan of action adventure but this movie hooked me from the first giant tire tread through the desert. It was one long hair-raising car chase but also had a visionary quality that teetered between nightmare and transcendence. And it had Charlize Theron as “Imperator Furiosa.” With her shaved head, missing arm, and grease-smeared face, Theron wasn’t an action heroine running in high heels and fighting without messing up her hair and make-up. Theron was both goodhearted and tough as steel. She was the real deal.
Watching her was thrilling and liberating. I’d never seen a heroine like this before, and I’m glad that we are seeing more kickass heroines, like Furiosa, in movies and in YA today. But much as I get a vicarious thrill from these fierce females I will never wield a bow and arrow like Katniss, or drive a big rig through danger, like Furiosa, nor do I aspire to ever do those things. My admiration remains at a distance. In all honesty, the heroines in movies or fiction that truly move me are the ones who use a quiet strength to triumph over peril, the ones who wrestle with emotions, and who may not always make the right choices. Some of them are quite feminine. I don’t see this as weakness but rather as an aspect of diversity that deserves as much attention as anything else. So I’d like to celebrate some of the other types of strong female characters that are out there.
In this piece, Julianne Ross reminds us that in addition to Furiosa there are some unsung female heroines in Mad Max Fury Road.
Weary of beautiful girls and superheroes? Ever wonder where are all the average young adult protagonists?
Here’s a list of YA novels that celebrate “the quiet(er) strength of realistic characters.”
But enough reality. Take this quiz to find out Which YA Fantasy Heroine Are You?
What sorts of YA heroines do you identify with the most?