Once upon a time, in 1993, there was a very short heroine who appeared on TV. She was red of hair and had an interestingly attractive face with big, big eyes. She wore pantsuits which were kind of boxy, and sometimes six inch heels, which alas, didn’t really make her all that taller.
Spiritual by nature, this woman was a scientist who possessed unquestioning faith, till she began to question it herself. She often talked about Einstein, hunted bad guys and monsters for a living, and fell in love with her male co-worker/partner, yet, diligently kept her hands off him and never went swoony in his presence. – Her favorite book was Moby Dick, her favorite movie The Exorcist.
She was a tough FBI agent, but managed to get into a few ‘damsel’ moments from which she needed ‘saving.’ In turn, she saved innocent people, and also her partner from disastrous situations. She was independent and a professional, didn’t sip girly drinks but, was still extremely feminine, and stood equal to (and often above) every other adult, male and female alike, even with all her shortness.
Her name was Dana Katherine Scully and she was seriously kick-ass.
As the female lead in the hit 90’s television series, The X-Files, Special Agent Dana Scully M.D, stole the show with her brain, wit, and exceptional patience. She was a girl in an all-boys club, but not a pushover by any means.
Earning the fond title of Our Lady of Skepticism, Dana Scully remains one of my all time favourite television series characters, who was a definite game changer in how women were portrayed in sci-fi roles, or lead roles overall.
In one particularly hilarious scene, Scully, after a long, hard day decides to conduct an autopsy. Sighing in annoyance (as only Scully could) she lifts the corpse’s intestines, lungs and heart onto a scale and notes their weight into a tape-recorder. Then, she guts the stomach and peering inside at its contents, begins narrating. “Pizza, topped with pepperoni, green peppers, mushrooms.” There is a pause and she looks up for a moment in contemplation. “Mushrooms… That sounds good.” – She immediately orders a pizza.
No matter what the circumstance, Scully was usually able to maintain her poise and a coolly calm front. She had her fair share of problems though, and not the best taste in men (psychopath, sheriff/vampire, married man and so on) and could be pretty annoying both as a woman and a character.
She was so real, it was awesome.
Through the series, we got to see Agent Scully go through numerous indignities and fall victim to a lot of physical/emotional/mental trauma. She was abducted by aliens, suffered PTSD, was later diagnosed with cancer, had her eggs forcibly harvested, lost her sister who was killed, got pumped full of an alien virus by a tube stuck down her throat, and made the heartbreaking decision to give her child up for adoption to save his life.
What was remarkable about Dana Scully though, and what I loved most about her, is how despite growing over the course of the show, as well as becoming stronger (and sometimes weaker) from her trials, she wasn’t one of those typical female characters we’re all so used to seeing, who start out helpless and clueless before it all turns around and they become a SFC.
Scully was a skeptic at the get go, tough, rigid and beautifully capable without any major catastrophes turning her into that. She had none of that cliched and annoying as-a-woman-I-am-strong-after-enduring-adversity-and-wasn’t-before-because-that-is-the-ONLY-way-a-woman-can-attain-strength crap.
She was an onscreen rarity, a fabulous leading lady, and definitely an original.
I’d call her a cunt, but she doesn’t seem to have the depth or warmth.” – Dana Scully