Have you ever read a book or watched a movie where you see a character and think, “that’s me?” Fictional representation is just as important as Real Life (although some might disagree?). A character could represent a number of traits that you see in yourself or wish you could become: gender, race, sexuality, personality, religion, health, the list goes on and on.
For me, personally, I was influenced by several female characters. I was an only child growing up and quite the bookworm (so much that I would get in trouble for reading instead of cleaning my room. THE HORROR).
- The first character that ever spoke to me was Nancy Drew. She was blonde (me, before I began my red phase) and inquisitive. She loved to solve mysteries and I loved reading them.
- Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation Starship Voyager. I know a lot of people dislike Voyager, but I highly enjoyed it. My dad was a huge Star Trek fan so I was always subjected to ST: The Next Generation and ST: Deep Space 9. When Voyager premiered I couldn’t believe it: a female in command! Not just in a leadership role, but the main character! Sure, I never ended up an astronaut, but seeing Janeway on TV every week filled me with inspiration and hope for the future.
- Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Yes, she had Stockholm Syndrome, but she was a major bookworm *cough* and was an outcast. She spent her days being on the outer rings of the social circle, so I could relate.
- Sailor Moon. Don’t laugh! Sailor Moon began airing in the U.S. about the time I started figuring out my identity. I saw myself in Usagi: clumsy, always hungry, always tired, completely boy-crazy. It was like watching myself. And what could be better than seeing your animated equal turn into a super-heroine just by screaming MOON PRISM POWER! Although to be honest, I saw (and still see!) a bit of myself in each of the inner senshi. I love books like Mercury, I’m tomboy-ish like Jupiter, I’ve always wanted to be an actress like Venus, and Mars? Okay, I actually have nothing in common with Mars which is probably why we wouldn’t get along, seeing as how she gets easily annoyed with Usagi!
- Four of the Mane Six from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. Again, no laughing. I was a huge fan of the First-Gen ponies, so I was excited when MLP:FIM came out. I mostly see myself in Twilight Sparkle, being as she lives in a library (THE DREAM) and always has her nose in a book (guilty); Rarity because she haaaates being dirty; Fluttershy, since I’m an introvert who would rather spend time with animals than people; and Applejack because again, tomboy.
- Raphael from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: he had a bad temper, which I could, and still can, relate to. He tried to hide his feelings, no matter how deep they ran.
- Arya from Game of Thrones: again, a major tomboy. When her mother wants her to wear pretty dresses and learn how to sew, she only wants to be out with the boys shooting arrows. Wow, it’s like George R.R. Martin looked at my past and decided to write down exactly what he saw!
When life gets too hard and you want to get away, seeing yourself in a work of fiction is a great way to escape. Some people (muggles, mostly) want to keep us grounded in reality; but fiction is healthy and allows us to live out our fantasies through these characters.
So tell me: are there any characters you identify with? Let me know!