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Once I ruled out Show (too difficult anyway, far too many to choose from), this was pretty easy too. Maggie from The Walking Dead did occur, but Lauren Cohen has already had representation. And Michonne seems like she could get interesting but hasn't really so far and anyway is nowhere near the "favorite" status yet. And, well, I don't watch Star Trek or Dr Who. So.



Day Ten: Favorite Flat-out awesome female character in a scifi/supernatural show

Cordelia Chase of Buffy and Angel.

I actually had two options for this answer, as well as two options for Day Twenty-One (character screwed over by canon), and funnily enough, they were the same two options both times! Astonishing. Then I figured that even though I'm kind of evenly split over which character got more thoroughly screwed over – and when I lean, I think I may lean more toward Cordy, but not by much – I enjoy her more as a character. So here she is.

Here's what sets Cordelia apart from pretty much every other Whedon female of note: the element of choice. Not being chosen, but of choosing her path. And in spite of being supernaturally violated repeatedly, like most other women in his works, it's her choices that define who she is and who she becomes. For contrast, yes, Buffy (et al) makes choices that affect how she lives her life, but her essential definition is of being Chosen (making her choices all responses to being Chosen). And the lesser characters, of being drafted into her state of Chosenness (or Specialness, if you prefer River or Echo). Cordy is the only female who consistently exercises meaningful agency. (For anyone waving Inara at me, for the way "choice" was coded into the role of Companion so that the prostitution issue doesn't get all *icky* for people, I point to the way her choices are mocked, belittled and flouted at every opportunity by Mal, with no consequences beyond a sharp retort from her, and the reward of her sustained attraction to him. Either way, narratively her agency counts for little. For Adelle, I'll give you a partial. Which may go some way toward explaining why she's probably my second favourite of them all.)

Cordy chose. Sure, the supernatural intruded on her awareness, and Sunnydale was Sunnydale, but she didn't have to get involved. Most of her fellow students and townsmen turned a blind eye. She had all the reasons and all the resources – social and financial – in the world to do the same, and most of the time the scoobies would obviously have prefered it. But that's not Cordy. She is if nothing else a creature of truth, she who'll pass on tact because it's "just not saying true stuff." Once she sees the nature of reality, she never goes back, even when given the opportunity. She even retroactively chooses the visions, and everything that comes with them, including the risk of a tail, because she sees the truth of the alternative. Every time she comes to a real choice, she steps up. And it takes her from being a shallow rich bitch to one of the most trusted, wise, effective and reliable lieutenants on the side of light. (A role that she is, briefly, allowed to resume when agency is restored to her after the travesty of S4, and with which she makes all the difference to S5, because you're damn right they owed her.)

Which is why her canon screwing over was so completely horrible. Her quality of agency was specifically used to violate her. When Skip comes and feeds her the BS about being Chosen to be a higher power, and kicks off the whole Jasmine thing (yeah, I know, but all that plotting is pretty wild and wacky, and anyway that event seems to be the pivot), it hinges on Cordelia choosing to consent. Which is what opens her up to being completely co-opted (stripped of all agency) by Evil, and used against the people she loves and the whole world. So, yeah. Thanks Joss! See what happens when women Choose, rather than are Chosen? Never ends well. I think there's a lesson in there for all of us. True female agency is only rewarded when it's being ~beautifully and painfully~ reclaimed, but only as a result of being empowered directly by violation at the hands of bad powerful men.

... *cough.* Okay. So. Yeah. That got a little away from me there at the end. Anyway. Cordy! Always awesome.


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