Ready Player One is released in cinemas in Australia today. Its author, Ernest Cline, has already been broadly celebrated for his work depicting the nerd community. In fact, he was even praised by The Guardian for making his female lead in Ready Player One less one dimensional than in the books. This is apparently enough to be worthy of praise. Last year, in addition to working on Ready Player One, Cline found time to publish a poem entitled “Epic Nerd Girl Porn”, which includes him referring to women as objects (my original article on the poem can be found here).
Cline does not deserve to be celebrated as an artist or representative of the broader nerd community. To combat his misogynistic views, I would like to present:
Ten artistic women that deserve celebration more than Ernest Cline
Gadot’s role as Wonder Woman was hugely inspirational both on and off the screen. Not only did she play the lead in the first ever successful female superhero film, but she did so while five months pregnant and suffering from severe morning sickness. She’s pretty much a real superhero!
Carrie Fisher was and continues to be, one of my favourite people to have ever existed. She campaigned for women’s rights and mental health awareness and didn’t care what anyone thought of her. At one point, upon hearing a high profile producer has sexually harassed one of her friends, Fisher personally delivered him a cow’s tongue in a Tiffany box with a note which read, “If you ever touch my darling Heather or any other woman again, the next delivery will be something of yours in a much smaller box.”
One of my absolute favourite musicians of all time. Her book, The Art of Asking, is one of the most beautiful I’ve read and talks about recognising different people’s passions for the art they are. Also, she has a song about female pubic hair.
A fantastic games journalist who became a fantastic writer. Alexander was one of the many people fighting against the Gamergate movement, even though it would strongly affect the space where she worked, which earns her my undying respect. She also is one of the contributors to Where The Water Tastes Like Wine, quite possibly my favourite game of the year so far.
Rotten Tomatoes credits her with being the greatest action heroine of all time, and it’s probably true. Yeoh performs most of her own stunts and was the first big female name in kung fu movies. No wonder she’s gone on to captain a starship.
Jamie Clayton and Freema Agyeman
These two potray one of the most successful relationships ever depicted on a television show. Nomi and Aminita’s relationship is the heart of Sense8 and proves that loving relationships are just as much of a joy to watch as suspense filled ones. The actresses’ friendship in real life is also a joy to watch on Instagram. It’s pretty adorable.
Lana and Lily Wachowski
The Wachowski siblings (Lana pictured above) are most commonly known for their Matrix trilogy but have also made both my favourite TV show (Sense8) and my favourite film (Cloud Atlas). Their films deal with deep philosophical concepts and often demonstrates the strength of the human spirit. They have a really beautiful, unique way of seeing the world which comes across in all of their work.
As I said in my piece on her character in Vikings, Katheryn Winnick probably plays the most kickass female character on television today. She does almost all her own stunts for her role as Lagertha, which isn’t surprising given her stunt training and martial arts background. She also got her first black belt at thirteen. When I grow up, I want to be Katheryn Winnick.
Ursula Le Guin
Ursula Le Guin was a fantasy and science fiction author at a time when men totally dominated the field. In fact, many of her female contemporaries used male pseudonyms in order to get published. Despite this, Le Guin flourished in her field, becoming the first person to win both the Hugo and Nebula award for best novel for the same book twice. Her book Left Hand of Darkness was the first science fiction book I ever read. It and the rest of her work are a huge inspiration for me.
Daisy Ridley is the only person on this list to be younger than me, but she has already achieved so much more. She plays the new heroine of the Star Wars movies, Rey, and has already made her character totally beloved to the franchise. Ridley also suffers from endometriosis, like me, so seeing her talk about it so openly and achieve so much despite her illness is a massive inspiration.
Photo of Carrie Fisher provided by Gage Skidmore, photo of Ursula Le Guin provided by Marian Wood Kolisch, photo of Lana Wachowski provided by Anna Hanks, photo of Leigh Alexander by Hot Grill on Flickr and photo of Amanda Palmer by StaceyHH on Flickr.