I am a large Joss Whedon fan. He is my favorite male feminist television show creator. I have noticed that there is a certain pattern to the sort of women characters that appear on his programs like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003), Firefly (2002), Marvel Agents of Shield (2013- ), Dollhouse (2009-2010), and Angel (1999-2004). This is not to say that all of the women don’t have super unique qualities or are not complex female characters. The same can be said of the male characters, but since this is a feminist blog I will only mention the female types I have noticed.
As an aside, I would also like to note that all of the main characters no matter the gender are usually part of some sort of team or crew.
1. Powered Heroine: This female character is often the star of the show or at least one of the main characters. She has some sort of power that puts her in different plain from all the other characters. The Powered Heroine is most likely born with that power, but that is not what makes her special. Her compassion and alternative clever ways of thinking is what makes her a natural leader. The powered heroine is often a skilled warrior, but also very funny. She makes smart one liners during tough situations. The powered heroine is intelligent, but not college educated or really the product of any conventional education. All her skills and knowledge are self taught.The Powered Heroine is always vulnerable because of something that has happened in her past. She often has some sort of father figure who she is extremely loyal to who looks out for her. The loyalty always goes both ways. The Powered Heroine only trusts a select few.
Examples: Buffy Summers, River Tam, Skye/Daisy Johnson and Caroline/Echo
2. Quirky Nerd: These female characters are often geniuses or at least extremely gifted in one or more field. The Quirky Nerds are the ones who are often asked to fix problems faster than possible. They give complex explanations on what they are doing that either the father figure or the Powered Heroine has to ask them to simplify. Quirky Nerds are the ones with some sort of high degree or they are high achievers school. They are usually funny in an awkward quirky way that is not on purpose. The quirky nerds are usually best friends with the Powered Heroine who they are super loyal too. These female characters are always vital to the team and things could not happen without them.
Examples: Willow Rosenburg, Kaylee Frye, Jemma Simmons and Winfred “Fred” Burkle
3. Kickass Silent Warrior: This female character is usually the right hand woman of the father figure. The Kickass Silent Warrior does not say much (as implied), but what she does say is important. Not to say they can not be humorous. They are extremely loyal/protective to both the father figure and the Powered Heroine. They might not be best friends to the Powered Heroine, but they do care about her and have a care taking aspect to the relationship. The Kickass Silent Warrior is a skilled warrior who is part of some sort of secret military-like organization or was a soldier in a civil war. She has been traumatized/hardened by some event in a battle or mission. The Kickass Silent Warrior has been partners or friends with the father figure for a long time. She may appear cold, but is quite warm hearted. The Kickass Silent Warrior will do anything for her team.
Examples: Zoe Washburne and Agent Melinda May
For my readers who have not watched any of these Whedon tv shows I would highly recommend them. They all have interesting, science fiction, and fantasy like storylines with engaging complex characters of all genders, races and sexualities. Any feminist would love a Joss Whedon show.