Joss Whedon is unparalleled in his creation and depiction of beautiful, strong women on TV. His shows often have feminist themes running through, and women come out on top. For the next few weeks, as a celebration of Whedon’s feminism, I’m going to be talking about my top 5 Whedon women. It was not easy.
1. Cordelia Chase (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
“I was a cheerleader, a princess and a warrior. And I have visions and super powers and I’m the target of an evil law firm because I’ve spent the last three months living on a higher plane, fighting for the forces of good, who wage a battle against demons and evilies and squishy bug babies, ’cause all that stuff’s real and that’s the world I live in.”
It’s hard to talk about Cordy without saying one thing in particular – that she’s a goddamn queen. Yeah she’s a bitch, she’s rude – but she’s strong. She knows who she is and what she wants and she carves the path for herself. Her character development from the early seasons of Buffy through to the end of Angel is incredible but not entirely unexpected or drastic – we can probably understand it as an unveiling of her nicer qualities. She put up a wall at Sunnydale High to protect herself – as she says to Buffy, it’s better to be alone surrounded by people. But as she made true friends at Angel Investigations and became comfortable with herself, the walls came down and she was actually likable. Yet, still bitchy and sassy and totally comfortable in her own skin. She takes charge. I mean even pre-Connor, pre-higher power. Her friendship with Fred is the cutest and her love for Doyle is entirely tragic.
When Cordy becomes broke, she goes and gets a goddamn job alongside high school to try and keep up the lifestyle she wants. When Angel leaves Angel Investigations, Cordy goes and takes goddamn charge. When Angel doesn’t want to charge customers, she goes and goddamn makes him. When Xander cheats on her, Cordelia goes and goddamn fucks that guy’s life up. When she can’t handle her goddamn visions, she goes and gets some goddamn demon powers. Her choices aren’t always perfect, but they’re inspirational.
Cordelia is a bitch. She is a queen. She is rude and she sticks up for herself and she goes and gets what she wants. She is perhaps the most detestable of all the Whedon women, but simultaneously, the most likable. She doesn’t hide who she is. In true Whedon style, she isn’t the typical prom queen even when she seems to be. And for that reason, I’m putting her first.