Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Now It's Misfits with Moxie. the Rise and Rise of the Powerful Female

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Now It's Misfits with Moxie. the Rise and Rise of the Powerful Female

Article excerpt

Byline: JULIA KELLER of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE

SOMEWHERE, Jane Austen is aghast. Queen Victoria is about to blow a gasket. And your sweet little great-grandmother, the one apt to blush when the word "corset" came up in mixed company, is positively apoplectic.

These doyens of daintiness and decorum would doubtless be shocked, shamed and horrified by the female protagonists who have taken pop culture by storm: Feisty, reckless, rootless women increasingly dominate television, novels, film and music.

They're not meek. They're not mild. They do as they please and they don't play well with others. They're misfits with moxie. And unlike the powerful female characters of a previous generation, they're not depicted as witches, shrews, hags, evil stepmothers or shrivelled-up spinsters who eventually get their comeuppance.

From Grace Hanadarko (Holly Hunter) in the cable series Saving Grace to Mary Shannon (Mary McCormack) in another cable series, In Plain Sight, to the ticked-off, put-upon, fed-up woman in Carrie Underwood's country music hit Before He Cheats (2006), the new paradigm for fictional females is a cheeky, tough-talking, hard-drinking renegade with good biceps and a bad attitude.

From Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson), the chief resident in Grey's Anatomy whose steely glare can turn an intern's insides to the consistency of cotton batting, to Nurse Jackie (Edie Falco), the brusque, headstrong healer in the new Showtime series of the same name, these women aren't shy or humble. They want power. And when they get it, they like it.

The new breed of brash, audacious woman has pushed into literature as well. Lisbeth Salander, heroine of the best-selling mystery novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, by the late Stieg Larsson, recently published in paperback by Vintage, is "prickly and irksome" but somehow still alluring: "She was like a nagging itch, repellent and at the same time tempting," the narrator said. …

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