It’s not everyday that a hero comes along and changes the course of American history. For the next five weeks, we count down the 50 best women heroes in fiction. Heroes were chosen from every platform of pop culture including film, TV, literature, and stage. They were also inspired by you, the fans, on the many polls that the Heroes Podcast Network can offer. Lastly, the women were chosen based on their iconic statuses, fandom following, and the admirable qualities the individual characters possess.
Looking for a bunch of dudes? Aren’t we all. Don’t worry; the 50 best men heroes in fiction is up next! But what about the great baddies of history too? Yep, that list is in the works as well! Now, enjoy the countdown. Here’s #50-41 of the best Heroes of Women.
Ferngully: The Last Rainforest and Ferngully 2: The Magical Rescue
Crysta is a little fairy living in a pristine Australian rain forest, devoid of human interference. She begins the movie as naive and careless only to have her world turned upside down by a bat who had been tested on scientifically by humans, and by a logger named Zak. When Zak and the other loggers accidentally release Hexxus, a toxic spirit that feeds off of human pollution, it is Crysta who steps up to fight. She realizes the gravity of her role in life, as a protector of the rain forest, seeing incredible growth over the course of the film. Crysta seemingly sacrifices herself for the sake of her people and the rain forest itself, demonstrating unmatched bravery and selflessness.
49. Tina Belcher
Often the kinder, gentler Belcher, Tina is the voice of reason among a household of chaos. She’s also incredibly complicated for a 13 year old. She writes erotic “friend fiction,” being bold enough to use real people as her subjects. She has the most open obsession with people’s butts (notice I wrote people). She embraces who she is without fail, never apologizing for her quirks or flaws. It takes a tough kid to talk openly about the horror that is puberty and yet, this chick sings about it in a musical revue. She’s a modern role model for the aggressive world we have come to known.
48. Major Motoko Kusanagi
Ghost in the Shell
As a heavily modified cyborg, Motoko stands out as one of the best detectives, proving her incomparable in her field. While the many adaptations of the story have played around with the character, Motoko has always remained an incredible example of strength in both integrity and intelligence. She consistently is an effective leader among her squad. Her search for existential meaning in life; her search for a soul (or ghost) is what makes her so easy to relate to. It is easy for a viewer to become enraptured in her quest to understand her purpose in life since that is a similar feeling a lot of people have.
A rather recent addition into the fictional world, Lena Oxton, or better known as Tracer, has since become a phenomenal break out character of the popular Overwatch video game. She’s been a ray of sunshine amid an epic war. As such, fans of all demographics have latched onto her as a feminist and LGBTQ icon. Her popularity now outnumbers almost all other Overwatch characters (or even video game characters in general). It’s never easy for an optimist with a tragic past to rise above but Tracer has and she seems to be here to stay.
46. Elphaba Thropp
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
No one has ever said life is easy when you’re green. As an expansion of a beloved villain, Elphaba gave so much more to the story the world is already familiar. She faced incredible odds including political corruption and was brave enough to be the only one in Oz to stand against it. While many have yet to separate the wicked from the witch, she remains a definitive hero among dedicated fans. She gave us all hope that while we may be a villain to someone, we’re so much more, and ultimately, we are the hero in our own story.
Street Fighter franchise
It’s hard to believe that Chun-Li wasn’t in the original Street Fighter game. She was, however, the first female fighter in the game, and one of the first characters with real development and growth behind her inception. At first, she fought to avenge her father’s death, but eventually she learns to accept loss (something we all are faced with, but not all of us are capable of achieving) and pursues justice instead. Now she fights to protect those who cannot protect themselves, helping anyone and everyone who needs her. Immediately fans latched onto her spirit and have made her a staple to any aspect of the franchise, no matter what medium or platform it exists.
44. Helen Parr – Elastigirl
She’s the hero we all want to be. She’s the mother and wife we all want to be. She’s an absolute fierce woman that is the true hero of The Incredibles. When Bob is off glory-hunting, Helen is maintaining a family of supers who are also completely focused on the themselves and not the family as a whole. She’s a perfect example of a hero in general which is made even more apparent by her imperfections. Just like everyone else, she has issues with her body. But she doesn’t let it get her down long. She becomes plagued with doubt over the potential end of her marriage, but she is reminded by a good friend that you have to believe in how amazing you are as an individual and go after what you want. And Helen Parr gets what she wants.
43. Zoe Washburne
Firefly and Serenity
When this list was first proposed and a poll of the best female heroes went up, every single woman from Firefly was suggested. Ultimately, we chose the dedicated second in command on board Serenity. Zoe Washburne may just be the strongest woman on this list, as far as integrity and loyalty are concerned. She manages to be both a dedicated crew member and a dedicated wife, which is portrayed simultaneously, instead of other female characters that can only be one thing at one time. To watch her mourn her husband’s death is to see Zoe’s true nature in a small amount of actions alone. She is both heartbreaking and admirable.
42. Turanga Leela
Often stuck being the voice of reason among a circus of complete buffoonery, Turanga Leela is by far the fiercest of the Planet Express. She demonstrates bravery when others run away (her entire crew will run away). She generally has the best judgment among the rest of the cast as well. Leela is a courageous, independent, and loving woman, who brings an adhesive-like trait to keeping the Planet Express crew together. And she has a tale of self discovery which rivals any live action drama on air now. Believing she was the last of her kind, Leela would go to any length to learn the truth about herself, and the episode where she finally finds her family is among one of the most touching of the series.
41. Jessica Jones
Jessica Jones, Marvel universe
It’s not every day where a fantastic hero is hiding among the riffraff of side characters, but such was the case with Jessica Jones. Created in the early 2000’s, it wasn’t until her 2015 television debut that the world took notice of the dynamic character she had always been. That was partially due to her mature nature, being a rated-R Netflix show and all. But it was also because of the relate-able dark themes of the show, such as PTSD and rape, that made people take notice. Jones has lived what can only be described as a messed up life, and as such, she’s kind of a messed up person. She’s never apologetic, though. She never stops trying to do the right thing by everyone, even as it pushes her to her very limits. She overcomes what so many may not even have tried.
So there you have it, our first 10 women heroes. What do you think of our list so far? Tune in for #31-40 here!