The Greatest (Fictional) Feminist Icon – Erza Scarlet

This will not be a political post at all, so if that’s what you were hoping for, click off. While I don’t consider myself a ‘feminist’, because the word has been tainted in recent years, for this post I will be using the word in a classical sense: strength, wit, altruism, beauty, and loyalty in a woman.

When I think of a character that girls of all ages can (and should) look up to, I don’t think of Princess Leia, or Selene (from Underworld), or Lara Croft, or Samus Aran. I think those character are good examples of feminist icons, but not quite at the caliber of Erza Scarlet from Fairy Tail. I’m not a fan of the Fairy Tail franchise, but my wife watches the anime, which means I watch it with her, and I do enjoy watching whenever Erza’s on screen, because she’s just a great character. I wouldn’t be writing this post if I didn’t think so.

Here, we have a character who is immensely powerful, but also sensitive; authoritative, but not self-serving; and intelligent, but still questions herself. Erza is completely loyal to her people, the Fairy Tail guild, even to those who abandoned the guild or were excommunicated. She is the 3rd strongest member of her guild, but never abuses her power. Everybody looks up to her, as they should. She’s not even that old. Not to mention, she’s gorgeous. I mean, if she were a real person, she’d kill the myth that redheads steal your soul……. What am I talking about? She’d steal many souls. She’d be like Jane Fonda: still beautiful even after reaching 80.

But there’s more I love about her character than just the intense aspects. She’s also sensitive, and even sometimes goofy. I’ll never forget the time my wife and I were watching the anime, and right in the middle of an episode, Erza whips out an entire picnic set, and with dreamy eyes says, “I’ve always dreamed of having a picnic!” I thought she was under some kind of weird spell, but nope, she was being real. At first glance, I’d never think of Erza as being the type who cares about picnics of all things… But that just made me like her character even more. I have a soft spot for people, both real and fictional, who can properly balance intensity with sensitivity, and balance seriousness with silliness.

erza picnic

You just don’t get all these things from the other strong female characters I listed. Although if I had to make a list of my top 3 favorite female characters, it would be Erza, and then Samus Aran (Metroid), and then Cortana (Halo). This list is, of course, excluding characters that I have created myself, but I won’t say which ones.

Who are your favorite strong female characters?