No Man’s Land: The Strength of Post Apocalyptic Women

If only The Matrix was post-apocalyptic, we’d definitely put Carrie-Anne Moss’ Trinity on the list. The same thing applies to the first two films of the Terminator franchise, where Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor set the bar high for all other female protagonists after her. And let’s not forget about Sigourney Weaver’ Ellen Ripley because everything she does in the original Alien film series is a full-on exhibit of in-your-face bad-assery like it’s nobody’s business. But we have to exclude all three of them because you’re only looking for post apocalyptic women, so here we go.

Furiosa – Mad Max: Fury Road

Post Apocalyptic Women

Her full name is Imperator Furiosa, and probably the only post-apocalyptic heroine you’ll ever need to know. Here’s the deal with Furiosa: everybody knows that the film Mad Max: Fury Road is supposed to be about Max’s adventure or two against some of the most outlandish-looking villains to hit the screen, like all other previous films in the franchise. In Fury Road, however, Charlize Theron easily makes Furiosa the central figure throughout the entire duration. At many points in the film, you’ll even overlook how good Tom Hardy is as the hero. Hardy’s Max and Theron’s Furiosa form an explosive team, but the latter is the brightest star in the show.

Katniss Everdeen – The Hunger Games

Post Apocalyptic Women

Let’s put Jennifer Lawrence aside first and analyze Katniss Everdeen’ characterization. Katniss is a lot of things, and often described as a prominent character without actually being likable. Besides being impossibly good at bow and arrow to where Robin Hood would drop his jaw, Katniss is at least demanding and self-possessed as much as she is fearless and kindhearted. She’s probably too complex for her own good, but then comes Jennifer Lawrence to make everything much more tangible. According to Suzanne Collins herself, Lawrence is the only one capable of capturing Katniss Everdeen as imagined in the book.

Alice – Resident Evil

Post Apocalyptic Women

Portrayed by Milla Jovovich in all six of the Resident Evil original film series, Alice is your super-heroine in every sense of the word. You know the drill in Resident Evil: a bunch of mad scientists hired by a corporation deprived of goodwill developed a virus meant to modify human genetics. Things go wrong and everyone injected with the virus turns into a physically enhanced zombie. The infected suffer from decreased brain functions and rotting skins, with a hint of insatiable craving for human flesh. While Alice is subjected to the same experiment, she doesn’t show any of those negative symptoms at all. She is the only success story in the scientists’ portfolio. The virus makes her an unstoppable warrior, unbeatable in hand-to-hand combat and a master of firearms. She is the ultimate zombie exterminator.

The Unnamed Midwife – The Book of the Unnamed Midwife

Post Apocalyptic Women

Don’t ask us what the name of the unnamed midwife is. Sometimes she’s Karen or Alex, and at other times people call her Dusty or Jane. A strange plague nearly kills everyone, and the remaining male survivors seem to rush back to their most barbaric mindset. Some women also survive, but they can’t give birth without sacrificing their own lives and killing the newborns. Soon enough, there are much fewer women and men in the world. Women are made into sex slaves and nobody cares if they die – whether from outright violence or giving birth – except our unnamed midwife whose superpower is, well, midwifery; her ultimate weapon is the birth control pill. Throughout her journey across the country, she kills men to free women from pile after pile of misery.

The Doctor’s Wife – Blindness

Again, no one knows who her name is, but since Blindness is a film instead of a novel, at least we know that the doctor’s wife is portrayed by Julianne Moore. An epidemic of blindness hits the city. The only person who seems to have immunity to the disease is, you guessed it right, the doctor’s wife. All the blind people, including the doctor, are taken to an asylum. They barely receive any treatment here, but at least they don’t just wander around and fall into potholes, bump into sharp objects, or enter the wrong bathrooms. The doctor’s wife, despite being able to see just fine, lies to the government about her immunity so that she can accompany her husband in the asylum. And when the asylum inevitably succumbs to chaos, she rises to the occasion and leads everyone to safety.

We think everybody can agree that the post-apocalyptic genre is traditionally a testosterone-driven frenzy. Some people might argue this is unfair, but there’s actually a scientific basis for it. When the world-as-we-know-it has succumbed to an exceedingly powerful force – whether nuclear, climate, extraterrestrial species, or lethal viruses – the matter of life or death really comes down to the survival of the fittest as Darwin’s evolutionary theory suggests. Most authors would imagine that male humans are better fit to thrive than their female counterparts in a setting ruled by violence. Not that women can’t survive in a post-apocalyptic world. It’s probably the same reason wars throughout history are fought mostly by men, although it doesn’t mean there aren’t women soldiers either.

Can you name some heroines in war movies? Is it true that books written by female authors tend to have heroines as well? We’d love to hear from you.

Other Things You Might Want to Know

Some of the most iconic heroines in films, regardless of genre:

Sarah Connor, Trinity, and Ellen Ripley are arguably the most memorable ones, but there are also some other notable characters such as

  • Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) – Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  • Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) – Star Wars film series
  • The Bride (Uma Thurman) – Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2
  • Mulan (Ming-Na Wen) – Mulan
  • Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) – Marvel Cinematic Universe
  • Selene (Kate Beckinsale) – Underworld franchise

Do we also have remarkable female villains?

Yes, we do. Among the most brilliant ones are:

  • Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) – Maleficent
  • Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) – Suicide Squad
  • Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) – Game of Thrones series
  • Bellatrix Lestrange (Helena Bonham Carter) – Harry Potter film series
  • Cruella de Vil (voiced by Betty Lou Gerson) – 101 Dalmatians

Is Ghost in the Shell Post-Apocalyptic?

Events in Ghost in the Shell are set in the near future where humans are possibly augmented with cybernetic improvements including intelligence, vision, and overall physical strength. The world and humanity have not met their demise yet, but maybe close to it. In short, it is not post-apocalyptic.

Check out other articles by month: