Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, June 11, 2010

A trio of tough girls hanging out at the pop culture mall

Even in this post-post-post modern age where many social barriers have been broken,there are still quite a few hurdles for folks to climb over. Without going through a laundry list of grievances,let's narrow our focus on girls and their fictional portrayal in the media at the moment. Two of the most basic stereotypes about young women are persistent,regardless of format or genre;the spoiled princess and the suffering sweetheart.

Are these archetypes altogether bad for the developing ego of young ladies? No,not at all-part of the reason that these personae are alive and kicking is due to the fact that you or someone you know has fitted into one of these categories out in the real world and in the hands of a capable storyteller,both sides of the sisterly coin can be merged to create complex characters that offer their audience someone to identify with rather easily.

The overwhelming preference for strong female characters,especially for the younger generation, is one that both guys and gals have grown to appreciate over the years and have been become major pop culture icons. Right now,I see three promising contenders to that crowning glory and thought it would be nice to shine the spotlight on them while they're still waiting in the wings.

First up is Amy Harper Bellafonte,the post apocalyptic heroine of The Passage. While there are a myriad of characters in Justin Cronin's amazing book that clamor for your attention,the quiet heart of the novel belongs to the seemingly randomly chosen little girl as the intended savior of the human race.

Her survival after the reign of gruesome terror from the vampiric virals that destroyed civilization as we know it is both key to the plot and heartbreaking in it's sorrowful sincerity:

Next,we have Bree Tanner,who started off as a very minor character in the third book of the Twilight saga,Eclipse,and now has her own story told in a spin-off novella and it looks as if her role in the soon to be released movie adaptation of Eclipse has been expanded as well.

No doubt,a few of you out there may be rolling your eyes and going"Oh great,another reluctant vampire"-consider this,however;by increasing the vulnerability of this troubled teen who is thrust into the middle of a conflict that she doesn't understand and given otherworldly abilities that enpower as well as frighten her,enriches the whole balance of the Twilight saga which is all about young women making crucial choices that affect their future path in life.

Not to mention that Bree's fierce vulnerability is a great way to contrast the cold and calculating nature of Volturi darling Jane,who has no qualms about making evil executive decisions:

Our last but far from least girl on deck is Ree Dolly,the down to earth leading lady of Winter's Bone. Based on the brilliant novel by Daniel Woodrell,this movie chronicles the quest of 17 year old Ree to find her father,who is hiding out from the law in their rural community out in the Ozarks.

Ree has been running the household and taking care of her younger brother and sister on her own for a long time now but her dad put up their home as collateral for his bail and if he doesn't make his court date,Ree and her siblings will be separated from each other,perhaps for good.

Ree not only has to battle the elements in her search but fight against the stubborn clannish resistance of her relations to offer her any aid and would rather see her immediate family go under than give in to what they consider outsider ways. The film received a nice bit of acclaim at Sundance and with the limited run starting in theaters today,word about this remarkable young woman will hopefully spread like wild fire:

With the advent of more and more tough but tender heroines emerging from the imaginations of writers and film makers these days,I feel pretty secure about positive role models for the younger set being readily available there. If you start to have some doubt about that,keep in mind that no matter what the age or time period,some girls aren't as weak as they seem and that even the strong ones have the right to cry once in a while. Check out some classic girl power lit and you'll see what I mean:

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