I had some trouble with the number ten spot, whether to put Rosalina or Peach here (and for a time, it was Magica DeSpell. Jeez, what was I thinking?). Peach has some cute aspects, but ultimately I decided that A) Peach is still pretty damn annoying, always getting kidnapped and B) Peach has only gotten hot in recent years. Before that she was obnoxiously saccharine, bland, and no matter what incarnation, her voice was grating. She only achieved notoriety with me by donning skimpy bathing suits and tennis outfits in fan art. I probably wasn't supposed to write that part.
Rosalina, however, has always been hot. She's tall, motherly, wise, and mysterious. She has pale skin, and a cute lock of hair over her eye. She's one of the deepest Super Mario characters as well. Her family is dead, and the revelation that her mother "is sleeping under the tree" is heart-breaking. She becomes lost in the stars, mother to an orphan luma, and tries to fill the void in her life with "children". I think I might have the thing girls get where start falling for "projects", people that needs fixing, that can be healed with love. But don't tell my wife that.
I don't usually go for blonds, but there's something about her wispy hair, her elegant dress, and her kind smile that does it for me.
Go ahead. Laugh at me. Get creeped out. Point to the bestiality implications. Call me a furry. I don't care. Gadget is an ideal woman and here's why: she is unlike any other woman of her era.
Remember the context of the Disney Afternoon here -- our other candidates for primary female role are as follows:
·DuckTales's Webby -- an obnoxious, whiny brat.
·Tale Spin's Rebecca Cunningham, a bossy bitch, and her obnoxious, whiny brat daughter.
·Darkwing Duck's Gosalyn, a whiny, obnoxious (adopted) brat who thinks she's a boy.
·Goof Troop with... did that even have females?
Author's Note: I didn't watch Gummi Bears so I have no idea about that one. But since it took place in a medieval fantasy setting, I'm willing to bet the women roles were not terribly strong.
So you see, except for Chip 'n Dale's Rescue Rangers, all female characters did were grab an idiot ball or precociously wander into danger to provide a plot point. Gadget was a cool drink of water in a desert of stereotypes.
But being a breath of fresh air doesn't make any top ten lists. What does is the fact that Gadget not only broke her stereotypes -- both for being a token woman and a mad scientist -- but did so with an abundance of heart. In every episode, she is portrayed as intelligent, down-to-earth, quirky, capable, and always thinking. But she is also flawed, scatter-brained, and naively ignorant. The first thing she says when the boys try to recruit her is "Excuse me! You're all standing! Here, let me make you a chair."
Yes, there were some times where being the only woman in the group led to some tropes that took advantage of her gender -- like where she has to go undercover as a gangster's moll. But these become neutralized when the plot skews when Dale comes in, also dressed as a moll and providing competition -- even though they're on the same side! But that's more a comment on the quality of the show than Gadget herself.
And what is Gadget herself? Let's ignore the rodent and size factor here. Imagine Gadget as a normal, human woman in the real world. She would be... AWESOME!!!1! It would be like Felicia Day with an engineering degree. Along with the cool-headed rationality, the sweetly naive way of thinking, the attention to detail that most
Gadget doesn't have a great body. She never wears a dress, and she never wears make-up. She doesn't NEED to (mostly because she's a mouse and that would be weird). But also, because she's a great person all the same. Now before this becomes the Gadget fan club, let's move on.
I'm sorry, but they'll be a lot more anime girls on this list before we're done. It's not like it's misplaced. I am somewhere between an otaku and simply an aficionado of awesome stuff. Cowboy Bebop is made for people like that. Faye Valentine is made for people like that.
Japan is very strange with the way it makes women. Sometimes they're weak stereotypes. Sometimes they're strong and independent. Faye is both -- a self-proclaimed "romani" who smartly uses her sex appeal to her advantage, like con jobs and gambling hoodwinks. She sets up residence on the bounty hunter's starship as if she's entitled. But she takes as much abuse as she dishes out. Both for humor and for pathos.
Once she gets to know the crew, she becomes genuinely concerned about them. In the mid-season episode, she gets involved the central storyline via a character from the past. This leads her to becoming genuinely concerned for people's safety. Besides sun-tanning and facials, she has to put up with the lack of food, the indifference of her partners, and the strangeness of Ed rubbing her face on her thigh.
And she has her own ghosts to deal with. The global past of Bebop is tied directly to her, but you don't know it until it's revealed slowly throughout (and I won't spoil it for you).
Beyond that, Faye is a beautiful woman. Yes, she's kind of a sex object, but she owns that. She's in control of that. And while she's spunky and haughty, you can tell she's an adult woman with fears. She's not just a bitch because she's a bitch.
7. Tinker Bell
Now Tinkerbell might be a bitch because she's a bitch. And I'm talking about the dyed-in-the-wool 1953 Disney version of Tinkerbell. Not the straight-to-video "Pixie Hollow" version (where she talks, heaven forfend). Not the elfish Julia Roberts version. Not the Mary Martin flashlight version. The version that actually got jealous, got mad, got even (then got sorry, then got back with her abusive boyfriend).
She communicates through bell tinkles. She never speaks, and no, I'm not going to make a comment about women talking too much. Probably a lot of her attractiveness comes in her impossible hourglass figure, titillating leaf dress, and a hairstyle that communicates not beauty, but business. The movie treats her sole purpose of existence to provide fairy dust (but I like that in the book, she's actually a mender of pots and pans).
My primary exposure to Tinkerbell was not through the whole of the movie, but through a scene in one of the many pre-Disney Channel network clip show specials (like Disney Valentine, Disney music, etc.) where Tink voyeurs on Peter and Wendy getting flirty in front of Peter's shadow.
If you focus on that scene you get a lot of woman personality, which was hard to find in that time period that wasn't... well, wasn't like Wendy. Wendy was demure, motherly (a little bossy), properly British, and innocent. Tinker Bell was not. She has a vindictive streak when she pulls Wendy's hair, a vain streak when she examines herself in the mirror (a hand mirror in the drawer she's stuck in) and thinks her butt's too big, and a comic streak when she tries to get out of the drawer and falls over herself.
I like Tinker Bell because she's not like all the other girls. She has some problems, some meanness, but she's beautiful. Also, it's spelled Tinker Bell, not Tinkerbell, like I've been doing it all these years. Who knew?