It’s 2016 and let’s not play Monopoly

First up – it’s 2016 (and a great, shining ball of Happy New Year-ness to you fine folks). I hope it’s treating you well and you’re holding the January blues at bay.

Second up – it’s 2016 and hover boards are a thing, but they don’t actually hover and apparently occasionally blow up (so I’ve heard).

Third up – it’s 2016 and there’s a new Star Wars film out (which, by the way, is a whole lot of fun if you’ve not had the chance to see it yet – new faces, old faces, and some excellent one-liners). And not only is there a new film out, but the lead character is a girl. Excellent! Not only is she a girl, but she’s a girl who doesn’t need to be rescued, who stands up for herself, and is pretty damn sharp with a stick. Brilliant!

Shall we have an argument about how there really isn’t a decent reason why she shouldn’t be included in a property-based boardgame? No. Because the internet has already done that. And I don’t like Monopoly. And for the record, it makes me angry that she wasn’t originally included as a character in the game (she is apparently joining the game, but only after internet outrage commenced). The glaring omission to include the main female lead (Rey) made me wonder why she’d been forgotten. It made me wonder if it’s because EVEN IN 2016 we’re still supposed to think that Star Wars is just for boys and that boys wouldn’t want to play with toys that feature female characters. And it made me sad, because the film is fun and Rey is great and girls like science fiction as much as boys and CAN’T WE ALL JUST START PLAYING TOGETHER AND HAVING FUN?

And it reminded me of those times when male friends of mine have suggested that they wouldn’t read books by female authors because, well, they’re for chicks, right? And it reminded me of times when male friends of mine suggested that I couldn’t possibly like real science fiction because, well, I’m a girl and should probably be weeping into a box of tissues whilst watching rom-coms and eating chocolate.

So here’s to 2016, let’s make it a good one. And let’s forget what we’ve been told about how we’re supposed to be, and what we’re supposed to do. And here’s to 2016, and just five of our fictional female characters that kick ass. I’ll start:

  • Ripley, Alien
  • Kirby Mazrachi, The Shining Girls – Lauren Beukes
  • Miriam Black, Blackbirds – Chuck Wendig
  • Melanie, The Girl with all the Gifts – M R Carey
  • Carol, The Walking Dead

And I but scratch the surface, fiends. Who are your favourite female characters? Who are your favourite female authors? Fire away in the comments below or take to the task on twitter.

I await your diverse suggestions.