Welcome to this week’s installment of Geek Girl Authority Crush of the Week, wherein we shine a spotlight on strong women who inspire us. Now, this not only includes fictional female characters in geeky media, but creators as well. These ladies are a prime example of female empowerment and how crucial it is for young girls to have said example to follow.
DISCLAIMER: The following contains spoilers for Firefly, a far-too-short-lived science-fiction show that aired from 2002 to 2003, and its 2005 film spinoff, Serenity, which encapsulated the entire series.
Zoë Alleyne Washburne (portrayed by Gina Torres) is a rebel fighter turned rogue. In the Independent Planets army, referred to as the “Browncoats” for their brown trench-coat uniform, Zoë was a Corporal, serving alongside Sergeant Malcolm “Mal” Reynolds (Nathan Fillion). After the Alliance defeated the Independent Planets in the Unification War, Zoë joined Mal aboard the derelict Serenity, a Firefly class freighter. Serving as Captain Mal’s right hand, Zoë is the only person Mal trusts or consults when faced with serious situations. In an unlikely turn of events, she fell in love with and married their pilot, Hoburn “Wash” Washburne (Alan Tudyk).
The Real Deal
Zoë can hold her own in battle, having fought in the Unification War as well as fighting alongside Mal and the crew of Serenity in various scraps as they do odd jobs, both legal and illegal, for some fast cash. As second-in-command, when Zoë barks an order, everyone jumps. She follows her gut but also listens to logic. Her prior military career helps her keep a level head when things get tough, even allowing her to channel and compartmentalize her emotions when Reavers kill her husband while the crew is trying to expose a massive government cover-up conspiracy.
Why She Matters
When you can’t run, you crawl. And when you can’t crawl, when you can’t do that, you find someone to carry you. – Browncoats
Joss Whedon is known for writing strong female characters and Zoë definitely fits the bill. Call it stubbornness or sheer determination, Zoë embodies an ideal from her military days and does what is needed when it is needed to get things done. As career military, Zoë knows her way around a weapon and can analyze a situation quickly to determine the best course of action. She knows what needs to be done and sets out to do it, no matter the cost. But, at the end of the day, she can kick off her boots and relax. She shows how a woman can be a bad*ss but still have a loving marriage and she balances the two as best as she can; she and Wash have their moments where he accuses her of being too abrasive and more soldier than wife, but they ultimately make up and their love shows. She also shows that a woman doesn’t need a man to be complete; her marriage to Wash isn’t out of necessity and her independent attitude remains throughout the series and film.
Be like Zoë and don’t let anything stop you. Set a goal and get after it, no matter what. Keep a level head when things get rough, don’t let your emotions cloud your judgement, and power through. But, don’t lock your emotions away completely. Make the time for love in your life and take time out of the day for your significant other – but don’t let that love change who you are at your core.
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