Kick-ass Everywomen.

Have you noticed that almost every single Urban Fantasy cover has a woman with a scowl, some kind of weapon and a leather bustier?

Don’t get me wrong: I love the idea of kick-ass heroines as much as, if not possibly more than, the next gal.  I’m certainly not looking for a repeat of pretty “girl hostages” or spunky sidekicks that are there to be rescued.

But really — does it take a katana sword and size-zero bondage gear to truly create a heroine?

A celebration of the kick-ass Everywoman.

I’ve been working on a new series that will come out next Fall.  I’ll be telling you guys about it soon, but the bottom line is: the heroine does kick ass… eventually.

She wasn’t genetically altered.  She hasn’t been training in martial arts since she was two.  She isn’t some preordained guardian of whatever.  It isn’t fate: it’s dumb luck and her unfortunate ability to make some amazingly bad decisions.

On the plus: she’s wickedly competent; she’s got a sense of humor; and when it comes to people she cares about, she’s going to do everything she has to, no matter what lines that crosses.

Seeking:  normal women stepping up to extraordinary circumstances.

So I went on a hunt to find characters like that: girl-next-door turned fierce, funky heroines. And here’s who I came up with:

1.  Linda Hamilton in Terminator (the original.) 

She’s a waitress, for pity’s sake.  She can’t balance her checkbook, and she’s supposed to be mother of the guy who saves humanity?  Yet when push comes to shove, she manages to crush Arnold in a metal-press.   Check, please!

2.  Amy Adams in Enchanted.

Naive in New York, she manages to befriend rats, charm cynics, and then put the pain on a King-Kong sized dragon.  In a designer dress.  Booyah!

3.  Elizabeth Shue in Adventures in Babysitting.

When a girl gets stood up for her dream date, she decides to pick up a few bucks and watch some kids for a neighbor.  Next thing she knows, she’s mistaken for a centerfold, she’s running from murderous criminals, and stopping  a gang fight with a switchblade.  Best line:  “Don’t…fuck… with the babysitter!!”

I’m tapped out for the evening, but I know there are more out there.  Can you help me find some?  Who are your favorite fierce Everywomen?
Photo by Cameron Photography.  


  1. Great blog, Cathy!

    My favorite kick ass heroine was Sigourney Weaver in Aliens. So traumatized by her first go around with the aliens, but so haunted that she has to face them again to get her life back. I loved her character and the way she faced her fears.


    1. Ripley! Excellent choice! 🙂 Will definitely need to add her to the list — she’s so normal in Alien, and then she just rises to the occasion in the second!

  2. Was going to say what Nancy said. Loved Sigourney in the entire Aliens series. Her maternal insticts kicked in her bad-ass-tedness, forced her to face her fears. Another that comes to mind for me (no surprise to you, I’m sure) is Phèdre nó Delaunay, of the Kusiel series by Jacqueline Carey. She’s as far from a girl-next-door as possible, having been raised as a courtesan, and discovering her penchant for experiencing pleasure from receiving pain. But she responds to circumstance with her wits, courage, and, yes, sometimes her wiles and passion. No actual ass-kicking, but still a uniquely kickass heroine extraodinaire.

    1. I think that physical violence isn’t the only criteria of ass-kicking. 🙂 I really need to read that series… I enjoyed Santa Olivia very much, and I’ve been meaning to get going on it.

  3. These are exactly the kinds of stories I like! The first few that come to mind are Cujo, and The River Wild. Maybe not the best movies ever made, but they get my blood pumping and keep me on my seat. 🙂 Love the underdog!

    1. The underdog! Exactly! I guess just about everyone loves the underdog, but there’s something about an everyday person going above & beyond that lights my imagination.

  4. Cathy,

    I loved all the heroine’s mentioned and I also think of people like Demi Moore in G.I. Jane and those we’ve all rooted for in the less heroic movies like Dirty Dancing’s Baby and Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde. Just because they’re not saving the world doesn’t mean they aren’t working to save their corner of it.

    On the other side of the fence, I’ve been meaning to tell you two things for like ever:

    1. We miss you at OCC!!
    2. When I first got on Twitter back in January and knew NOTHING, I went to your Twitter account and followed a bunch of your people. In essence, you got me started, and I adore Twitter. Been meaning to thank you for that good deed you didn’t know you did for some time now. 🙂

    1. Jenny! I was thinking G.I. Jane, as well — and I love the idea of Legally Blonde. Those definitely fit right in!

      And LOL — I’m glad that my Twitter account helped. I am still more of a Facebook girl, but I’m slowly adapting to the Twitterverse. And I miss all of you guys in Southern Cal! 🙁 I’m hoping to make it to National next year to reconnect. Thanks for dropping by!

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