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8 Female Movie Heroes Who Kicked Ass In 2014

Watch your back, patriarchy. These bitches are coming for you.

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Of the top 20 movies of 2014 (as of Dec. 18), 14 focused on men, while only three — The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, Maleficent, and Divergent — inarguably feature female protagonists. That is bananas (phallic double entendre intended).

In a sad, women-light landscape, the below eight female characters proved lady action heroes can hang with their male counterparts. They showed courage and conviction, and they reminded us just how stupid it is that people mean "tough and heroic" when they say "manly."

1. Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Guardians of the Galaxy

Disney / Via marvel-movies.wikia.com

There was a pretty big flaw in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, one that even a then-9-year-old girl I know picked up on: Why would Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) be the "leader" of the Guardians when he is, at best, its third most competent member behind Gamora and an anthropomorphic raccoon? Gamora, man. She is super competent. She's a no-nonsense, moral-as-fuck renegade who really, really doesn't take kindly to the "be grateful, bitch" narrative. She will not put up with your bullshit. And also, she will beat you down. GAMORA FOR PRESIDENT.

2. Sergeant Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt), Edge of Tomorrow

Warner Bros.

Sergeant Vrataski is the antithesis of Major William Cage (Tom Cruise), the sniveling hero of Edge of Tomorrow. Savvy, steely, and uncompromising, she becomes the warrior humanity needs in a fight to the death with an alien race, endlessly courageous and persistent where Cage cowers and hesitates. If this had been a movie about Rita Vrataski instead of a movie where Rita Vrataski pushes a man to do better, it would have been a perfect movie. Love you forever, Sergeant.

3. Maleficent (Angelina Jolie), Maleficent

Disney

YES, MALEFICENT, YES. Betrayed by a man who chooses his own self-interest over the integrity of a woman's body, Maleficent is a powerful and flawed agent of vengeance. She ultimately realizes that harming another woman is not fitting retribution for a man. She literally slays him without even trying. You undo yourselves, men, you really do.

4. Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Disney

A self-centered soldier, Natasha "Black Widow" Romanoff doesn't have super strength or the ability to fly like her S.H.I.E.L.D. colleagues: She relies on her piercing intelligence and her abundant hand-to-hand combat skills. Recognizing the hypocrisy of the current world order that puts men on top, she works outside the system when it suits her needs. Captain America (Chris Evans) may have the values of a World War II soldier, but the Black Widow knows that contraception was criminalized in the 1940s, so fuck those values. She is a clear-eyed, unapologetic inspiration.

5. Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), Divergent

Lionsgate

Tris will not be pigeonholed unless she pigeonholes her own damn self as DAUNTLESS, and that's a quality you have to admire. She starts off as a shitty fighter and she becomes a great one because she is diligent as all hell. She will use your weakness against you for the greater good. Also, she jumps off tall structures like a boss.

6. Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), Mockingjay

Lionsgate

Katniss Everdeen is an old-school hero: individualistic and rugged with a fondness for outmoded weapons. The woman has more integrity in her stiff upper lip than the average person has in that flimsy stack of bones you call a spine. She is the leader of a revolution. And she keeps it real. So, so real.

7. Lucy (Scarlett Johansson), Lucy

Universal Pictures

A woman is kidnapped by men who decide to use her body for their own purposes. But when she becomes superhuman, she turns the tables on those motherfuckers. This is an awesome fantasy about what it would be like if the coercive power men had over women's bodies backfired. Can you imagine if every time an abortion clinic was forced to close, all its woman staffers developed telekinetic powers?! What a world!

8. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), X-Men: Days of Future Past

20th Century Fox

Mystique is the kind of activist who makes people uncomfortable: Not content with patiently waiting for the dominant classes to see her as fully human, she takes direct and sometimes violent revolutionary action to further her aims. Though she's ostensibly one of the "bad guys" of this movie, the reality is, in fact, much murkier. Her single-minded pursuit of revolutionary aims, even if they ultimately fail, is both poetic and beautiful. SLAY.

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