I'm not sure I can make this post make sense, but I'm trying. Have some ramblings about female characters in my fandoms.
The first books I can remember (atm) being seriously fannish about were by Karl May. I don't know how well he's known outside of German-speaking Europe, probably not very well, but I loved his books: the Westerns, the ones set in Arab countries, the miscellaneous others. All of them shameless self-inserts preaching Christian morality and white European superiority, but I didn't care: adventure, brothers in arms, daring feats of bravery, heck yeah. That was the time when I started constructing my own self-inserts (Mary Sues, all of them, and I'm not at all ashamed of them.) All female, of course. The lack of female awesome characters bothered me, for some reason. I remember reading the Old Surehand books and falling in love with Kolma Puschi - I think that was the first time I was annoyed by Old Shatterhand swooping in and single-handedly saving the day. (Let's not even talk about Nscho-tschi.)
My next love was Science Fiction, which had a bit more female characters. So much love for Susan Calvin! For everyone who has only seen the film "I, Robot" and not read the books, first, what are you waiting for, second, she is so much more awesome. Susan Calvin is the smartest person around, all the men call her whenever they have problems, and she solves them while being sarcastic, closed-off, and still human. I loved "Feminine Intuition".
Next came a period of reading everything, a lot of it fantasy. Some female main characters! I read a lot of Marion Zimmer Bradley (mostly because it was available in my library and I liked the worldbuilding. I never fell in love with her characters.)
Star Wars: Leia! I also read Lord of the Rings and later the Silmarillion about twenty times: I had high hopes for Aredhel, but then she went and got abducted. And all the other Elven women either didn't get mentioned or fell in love with humans. Meh. Harry Potter: Well, there was Hermione, who is smart, but I never got the sense that the author liked her much, and somehow we didn't click. I had a brief manga interlude, and my favorite characters were Nami, Robin, and C-18. No good female characters in Beyblade, so I concentrated on my own. And none of those were main characters.
Tl;dr: Looking back it is very obvious to me how I always looked for the female characters to identify with. I also created my own, sometimes several of them (I had my own crew of Mary Sues for One Piece, and it was glorious.)
Sooo then I discovered internet fandom! Mostly through SGA. At first I read a lot of gen teamfic, when I ran out I read all the AUs, including McShep, and later I read everything/anything. I fell in love with the fandom, not canon. Fanon!Teyla is awesome, and sometimes, fanon!Elizabeth and fanon!Jennifer are, too. They are occasionally awesome in canon! But not main characters, and I wasn't satisfied with the way they were presented on screen. Teyla and Elizabeth and Jennifer are interesting, but we have to work on it, and there is not enough consistent fanon (especially for Elizabeth and Jennifer) so it means having to start all over again each time.
I think SGA was the first or one of the first fandoms where I didn't create a self insert for a long time. Hmm.
Hmmm, what was next? Probably One Piece again. Wow, I've been following this one for a long time. At the moment I'm in one of my "meh" phases, mainly because I am really, really annoyed by how little Nami and Robin and get to do and do not particularly care for Shirahoshi. Every crew member except the women gets a fight to show off their new powers? Really, Oda? And they wear even less clothes for more curves than before. I'm disappointed.
Firefly! Where we have River, Inara, Kaylee, and Zoe. All of them interesting premises that need fanon (or a few more seasons...) to make them really great, but I didn't get into the fandom so I don't know if it exists.
For a short time I followed Sherlock fanfic. The stories I enjoyed most were a) magic AUs, because the fandom has some amazing ones, and b) stories fleshing out Sally Donovan and Molly. I recently rewatched Sherlock: it's a great mini-series, and maybe I could even love it if it had some better minor (female) characters. But Sherlock is kind of a dick; John Watson is awesome, but most Sherlock/John stories don't have a character dynamic I enjoy.
White Collar: This is how you do female side characters well! I love Elizabeth and Diana. (Also Neal is very pretty and Mozzie is fun.)
And then (or was it before?) I discovered Homestuck, and Homestuck has Rose, Jade, Kanaya, Terezi, Vriska... female main characters! We have female characters being kind of screwed up, having their own adventures, lots of girl-girl interactions (some of those interactions involve almost or permanently killing each other), girls interested in girly things and also being badass (Rose and her knitting needles! Kanaya's lipstick/chainsaw!) It is glorious. How did I never know how much I missed this? Female characters that don't
need fanon! Love. And they didn't get killed off any faster than the rest of the cast, either! How much do I love Rose <3 especially in the most recent updates.
Claymore has all the ladies as main characters! At first as lone warriors, which I didn't find that fascinating because I love teamwork and friendship, but then they formed a group and it was wonderful. I'm not very fannish about this manga, but I enjoy the female warrior friendship very much. (Also the female crystal-tentacle-monsters.)
Tower of God has the princesses! So much love for the princesses. Lahel and Hwan are probably going to be interesting, too. And Anak and Androssi definitely count as main characters.
Gunnerkrigg Court: female main characters again! And we even got make-up scene, and they are so adorable together, and just *flails* awww.
Noblesse is the unfortunate exception among the webcomics I'm following. I want all the Seira&Yuna friendship stories! (At first I thought Ik-shan and Tao were women, I'd have liked that.) They are the least "main" of the "main" cast, and as much as I love M-21 and the others I regret that.
Tl,dr again. I think what I want to express is that in all the fandoms/canons/books/comics/movies I follow/encounter I still look towards the female characters first to identify with. It's the female characters that I can relate to much easier and whose stories interest me first. My favorite part of PotC is Elizabeth Swann, and I get annoyed when reviews of Thor only mention Thor and Loki, dismiss Jane and Darcy, and then call it a general movie primer. Occasionally I still make up my own female self-insert Mary Sues, and I love it.
This turned out to be - actually, I'm not sure, a look at female characters in my fandoms? I've been thinking of checking out Buffy, but I promised a friend that Doctor Who would come first, and who knows what I'll discover until then. I'm not even sure what I wanted to say, but hopefully this will one day help me organize my thoughts. Also it is the middle of the night which is another reason why I might not make any sense.
Oh who am I kidding, this is totally me procrastinating on studying for my next exam tomorrow. In a few days LB will come and hopefully force me to do more and be online less because I have no self-control whatsoever at all. *facepalm*
reminded me of A:tla - how could I forget that! Katara, Toph, Mai, Ty Lee, Azula <3 and soon Korra!