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Fabulous Villainesses We Want to Be Like

Liked In Defense of Villainesses by Sarah GaileySarah Gailey (tor.com)

She’s fabulous.
Her hair is done. Her makeup is flawless; her coat, luxurious. She’s single. She’s thin or she’s fat or she’s muscular or she’s old or she’s young but she’s never ever cute or soft or scared of you.
She’s hungry. She wants money, and she wants more luxurious coats, …

We look at thin-wristed shy-smiling nice-haired female protagonists and we see what’s expected of us: wait. Be patient. Be nice. Be happy with your lot, enjoy what you’re given, and don’t look for more. Make wishes, not plans. Have animal friends, never henchmen. No one should work for you, but everyone must love you. Look soft and small and breakable, and cry with your head flung into your arms so no one has to see your puffy eyes. Be afraid that no one will ever rescue you. Be afraid that you’ll have to live your whole life without adventure ever finding you.

We’re sold on the female protagonists, and I do mean sold. We admire their spunk and their tenacity, because it’s accessible—it’s rebellion in the form of wanting. It’s gazing at the stars at night after spending all day scrubbing the floors, and believing that wishing will be enough.

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at tracy.durnell@gmail.com. She/her.

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