While the concept and implementation of female young adult heroines is somewhat new in popular culture, the concept of these female heroines in the television world is even newer. Numerous YA heroines have popped up in move form in recent years, Katniss Everdeen, Tris Prior, you get the picture. However YA heroines have been slower to move to the television scene. Only very recently have these heroines moved over to this form of narrative. The movement towards having YA heroines on a recurring television series is a very important one. It provides an opportunity for YA heroines to become a role model for the feminist ideology in a way that returns once a week. One great example of a YA heroine who battles with feminism is Clarke Griffin from the TV show The 100.
The TV show The 100 is based around the post apocalyptic world in which the believed remnants of the human race live aboard a space station. The station is dying and as such 100 prisoners are sent to the ground to see if it is inhabitable. The 100 encounter “grounders”, people who survived on the ground, and have to learn to survive with them, sometime peacefully, sometimes through hostility.
Check out my earlier post about Clarke to get a more in depth background into the show.
One of those 100 prisoners is Clarke Griffin.Clarke is a strong female character that leads the members of the 100 in the show. Clarke was raised on the Ark and her mother was a member of the council, the decision makers for the Ark. She never had to struggle to get the things she needed she was not outcast in any way while aboard the Ark. Clarke was placed in prison due to her want to help the people of the Ark and alert them to the impending death of the Ark itself.
When the 100 first reach the ground Clarke attempts to help lead them and prevent them from making poor decisions. A majority of the 100 on the ground referred to her as “princess” due to her upbringing and the stigma she had recovered. Even the show advertises her as a “princess”.
However Clarke is not your average princess, she is much stronger, more passionate, and a better leader. Clarke is represented as a strong leader while still being able to care for those in need or those who are younger. In this way she is the perfect feminist role model. In one of the first episodes of the first season Clarke is walking through the camp when she hears a young girl scream for help. This girl is named Charlotte, she was having a nightmare thinking back to when her parents were floated on the Ark for a crime they had committed. Clarke goes over and comforts Charlotte by talking about her experience with her father being floated. She tells her that everyone has a second chance because she they are on the ground.
Later in the show Charlotte ends up killing Clarke’s best friend, Wells. Charlotte kills him because of something that another member of the 100 told her. Instead of banishing her and letting her die, Clarke chooses to overcome her rage and help Charlotte because she is just a child. Clarke is a strong caring heroine who does not allow her baser emotions overrule her kindness and thinking.
Another example of Clarke begin a strong female heroine is when she chooses to fight against the grounders. Clarke is not only a caring person but a heroine who is willing to fight in order to protect herself and the other members of the 100. In later episodes of the show she is seen fighting both with and against the grounders. She is willing to do what is necessary to survive.
Clarke not only fights the enemies she faces but she also is willing to help them. In one episode she is captured by the grounders and tasked with saving a child who was injured during an attack. She attempts to save her life, but in the end is unable to.
Clarke Griffin is the ideal feminist role model as she is caring, strong, and willing to do what is necessary to help those around her. In the show she is shown as a pretty person however she is not overly sexualized. She is shown for her character and heroism rather than solely for her looks.