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I’ve Joined a Gang That You Shouldn’t Mess With Part II


Liz Muirhead

This is a guest post by Liz Muirhead.  Liz likes to write  about women who could kill you with a variety of weapons and wiles.

A few weeks ago (on my 35th birthday, nonetheless), Josh posted a great blog post listing his top gang members, should he ever need a posse of fellow strongmen to help him in a late night suburban scuffle.

I loved the list, but there was one thing wrong with it, in my opinion: THEY WERE ALL MEN. Not that I don’t love men, or think they can’t be strong and intimidating, but let me tell you that women are just TOUGH. Put that biological toughness together with strength and mental acuity, and we are a force to be reckoned with.

So, in the rare instance that someone should encroach on my little square of suburbia, here’s the girls I’d call to my aid:

Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in T2 – In preparing for Terminator 2, Linda Hamilton trained for a mere 16 weeks to develop the cut physique she sported in the movie. Let’s face it, she may have killed a machine in Terminator 1, but in Terminator 2, she showed us that she WAS a machine.

Uma Thurman in Kill Bill 1&2 – If you haven’t seen this movie, I don’t think you can truly appreciate how scary Uma Thurman can be. After all, any character that can punch her way out of a coffin buried underground is no one to be messed with. ‘Nuff said.

Kate Beckinsdale, Underworld

Selene Underworld

Kate Beckinsale as Selene in Underworld – She’s a deadly vampire who uses weapons ranging from medieval to modern, and whose superhuman abilities include incredible strength and leaping ability. In the movie, she sustains a shotgun blast to the abdomen, is thrown forcefully against stone walls without major damage, and eventually can even withstand direct sunlight.

Jessica Biel as Abigail Whistler in Blade: Trinity – While it’s difficult to hold your own on the big screen when paired with the brawn of Wesley Snipes, Jessica Biel went all out for her role. In truth, the third Blade movie wasn’t nearly as good as the first two, but the addition of the tough Abigail was absolutely a bright spot.

Sigourney Weaver as Lt. Ellen Ripley in Aliens – Yes, she’s great as the brainiac peace-loving scientist in that new Avatar movie, but I loved her best when she was single-handedly destroying a race of parasitic aliens. Ripley excelled not (just) because of brawn, but because of mental toughness that could withstand anything thrown her way. When she climbs into the cargo-loader suit at the end of the movie to battle the queen…well let’s just say, she’s awe-inspiring! It’s female strength personified.

P.S. When I shared this post with my older sister (the person who really has my back whenever muscle is needed), she pointed out that Angelina Jolie’s character from Wanted was the only person she’d add to my list. But I was determined to make it through my list of five without using Jolie, since she’s had so many tough chick roles I can’t pick just one. I suppose she can be the first tough chick in my sister’s gang instead!

About the author:

Liz Muirhead is a full-time working mom to two great kids who blogs about health and fitness at Looking Good (for a mom). Liz trains with free weights and kettlebells, and hopes someday to achieve such prolific strength that she makes it on someone’s gang list.

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  • Gordie January 23, 2010, 3:16 am

    Margaret Thatcher
    Elizabeth the First
    Naomi Dunford
    Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton)

    • Liz January 23, 2010, 10:14 am

      Took me a minute to remember who Omarosa was! From “The Apprentice,” right? She was BRUTAL! Love the historical figures, and of course, we agree on Sarah Connor. Tell me about Naomi Dunford, though! Who is she and why is she on your “gang of girls” list?

      • Josh Hanagarne January 23, 2010, 11:05 am

        Liz, this is Naomi: http://ittybiz.com/ She’s freaking awesome and pretty fierce. She doesn’t know it, but Naomi is one of my best buddies on the web, and she can swear like Samuel L. Jackson.

    • Josh Hanagarne January 23, 2010, 11:45 am

      Ooooohhh….Omarosa. Scary.

  • Eduard @ Ideas With A Kick January 23, 2010, 5:27 am

    Niceeeee! I love though women. Although sometimes they can be intimidating, but I can get over it 🙂


    • Liz January 23, 2010, 10:11 am

      Eduard, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told that I’m intimidating (even at 5’1″ and 110 pounds). I’m sure glad my husband got over it. It’s a special guy that can appreciate a strong and tough woman. 😉

  • Heather January 23, 2010, 7:37 am

    LIZ! BEST! LIST! EVER! The only 2 I would add, though, would STILL be Wonder Woman (when I was 6, I wanted to be a superhero who would take over when Wonder Woman got too old and had to retire–my grandfather had just retired, so he was the guy who clued me in about retirement) and Xena, Warrior Princess. Lucy Lawless kicks ass! OOH, ALMOST FORGOT! MAUREEN BIRNBAUM, BARBARIAN SWORDSPERSON! Have you read the Chicks in Chainmail series? Awesomeness the whole way round! LOVED THIS POST! Thanks, Josh, for having her over!

  • Boris Bachmann January 23, 2010, 8:05 am

    Off the top of my head:
    How about Carrie or Cathy Bates (from Misery, not About Schmidt)?
    Jeannie or Samantha.
    Storm or that girl that Wolverine fought.
    Marissa Tomei or Phoebe Cates or the girl that Wolverine fought for inspiration.

    • Liz January 23, 2010, 10:02 am

      Ooh, great additions. Cathy Bates in Misery is scary in a totally different way than this gang of girls. I never would have that about the witch/genie type – great thinking. I did think about the X-Men girls as well – there are some really tough ones in those series. Hard to pick just one!

  • Casey Brazeal (North and Clark) January 23, 2010, 8:14 am

    Joan of Arc and my cousin Lauren.

    • Liz January 23, 2010, 10:03 am

      Love Joan of Arc – great addition! And it sounds like I have to meet your cousin. She must be cool if she’s your gang member.

  • Liz January 23, 2010, 10:04 am

    Hey everyone! Thanks for the wonderful reception over here on Worlds Strongest Librarian! Just wanted to let you all know that I’m having a “Help for Haiti” drive on my blog and donating money for each comment. All comments on this WSL post (including my replies) will count as well, so keep them coming!

  • ami January 23, 2010, 10:05 am

    Amazing list and great thought provoker. Love so many of the women already listed.

    Have to add: Michelle Yeoh (Bond girl and martial arts mentor in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Elphaba (Wicked), Beryl Markham (who wrote West with the Night). Perhaps Kaali, Athena, Medusa, Medea. My friend Diane.

    • Liz January 23, 2010, 10:15 am

      Thanks, Ami! Athena is a personal favorite of mine. I thought of Michelle Yeoh as the bond girl, but I forgot about her in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Great one. I’ll have to look into Beryl Markham – she’s new to me. And your friend Diane? She sounds like a keeper! Thanks for your additions!

    • Heather January 23, 2010, 12:47 pm

      Ooo! Kaali and Medea! GOOD CALL, AMI!

  • Janine January 23, 2010, 10:14 am

    Don’t forget Jennifer Garner and her role on Alias. She kicked ass on a weekly basis!

    • Liz January 23, 2010, 10:17 am

      That was one of my all-time favorite shows! Jen and I were pregnant at the same time, so I actually dressed up as her on Halloween that year. Almost no one got it, but I still felt tough, all pregnant in my black outfit, leather jacket, and leather boots. I was so bummed when they ended it! Big thumbs up for that addition to the list.

  • Anna January 23, 2010, 11:19 am

    Hey Liz, I would’ve loved seeing a non-celebrity gang. I would choose you in my gang for sure 🙂


    • Liz January 23, 2010, 5:40 pm

      Yes Anna, a non-celebrity girl gang would have mostly RKCs, yourself and my trainer Michelle included! And let’s not forget my sister. 5’7″ of blond beauty and pure muscle! Fun stuff, isn’t it? Thanks for including me in your gang. 😉

  • Mark Cancellieri January 23, 2010, 11:36 am

    With all due respect, when it comes to violent situations, my top bad asses are all men. For better or for worse, men are just better adapted to it through millions of years of evolution.

    This doesn’t mean that women aren’t tough though. The human race would probably come to an end if men had to have the babies. 🙂

    • Liz January 23, 2010, 5:42 pm

      Mark, due respect taken, I hope you never meet me in a dark alley. Women are better in violent situations than you give us credit for!

  • Johan January 23, 2010, 12:28 pm

    Great idea for a post. I am as guilty as Josh, my list on Josh’s post was all male too. This is my top 5 for a female gang:

    1. Sigourney Weaver as Ripley in the Alien series
    2. Uma Thurman in Kill Bill or Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor in Terminator 2

    But I wanted to come up with 3 characters that no one has mentioned yet:

    3. Granny Weatherwax (from Terry Pratchett’s discworld novels)
    4. Molly Millions (enhanced bodyguard/mercenary, from William Gibson’s cyberpunk novels)
    5. Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity in the Matrix series

    • Liz January 23, 2010, 9:04 pm

      I love it, Johan! Glad to see we think alike. I loved Trinity from the Matrix. Haven’t read the Pratchett or Gibson novels, but it sounds like they might be something I’d like!

  • MzHartz January 23, 2010, 3:57 pm

    I have another I’d add to the list. Yancy Butler as Sara Pezini in Witchblade. She could kick ass before she even found the Witchblade.

    • Liz January 23, 2010, 9:22 pm

      WOW, haven’t even thought about Witchblade in years! I was never much one for comic books, but I do remember watching the TV show. Yes, she was wicked tough, and the Witchblade only made her more so.

  • Kelly January 23, 2010, 5:46 pm

    Ooh! Awesome post, Liz!

    I would definitely have you on my list!

    My other 4 would include some of your girl gang and starbuck from battlestar galactica. She’s a badass and takes crazy risks.

    I’d be the one hiding in behind you all. 😉

    • Liz January 23, 2010, 9:14 pm

      Thanks, Kelly! I’m happy to be in your gang anytime, girl. I knew I could count on you to come up with someone else cool to add. Did you think of her because you like Battlestar Galactica, or because you’re dreaming of leaving the house and hitting the Starbuck’s drive-through? LOL!

  • Randy January 23, 2010, 6:15 pm

    Hi Liz,
    Unlike Josh, The World’s Male Chauvinist-est Librarian, I did in fact pick two bad ass femmes: Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurmon) from Kill Bill and Nikita (Anne Parillaud) from La Femme Nikita.
    O-rin Ishii (Lucy Liu) Kill Bill would round out my team. On the bench, reserve Zena (Lucy Lawless)

    • Randy January 23, 2010, 6:16 pm

      P.S. How could I forget the Chosen One? Buffy the Vampire Slayer has mad skillz that would transfer to any fight gone bad.

      • Liz January 23, 2010, 9:08 pm

        Well, and she had to be tough, because how else do you get people to take you seriously with a name like “Buffy,” right?

    • Josh Hanagarne January 23, 2010, 6:37 pm

      Randy, I’m marking you as spam until you learn how to spell Uma Thurman.

      • Randy January 23, 2010, 8:45 pm

        whatever. get an edit fuction.

      • Liz January 23, 2010, 9:09 pm

        Josh, you’d better gather your gang around you. Randy is one guy I wouldn’t mess with. He’s tougher than most men half his age! This is one fight where I urge you – STEER CLEAR!

    • Liz January 23, 2010, 9:07 pm

      Hah, Randy, love the “World’s Male Chauvinist-est Librarian.” Good one! And I absolutely loved all of the women who played Nikita in movies and on television. Excellent addition. Of course, in your line of work, you know plenty of bad-ass women outside the celebrity world, right?

      • Randy January 23, 2010, 9:12 pm

        You are one of the bad ass women I know (although you may be a celebrity these days too)!

        • Liz January 23, 2010, 9:32 pm

          Hardly, Randy! Maybe someday. Now that I’ve been a guest on WSL, I’m certainly on my way!

          And thanks for the vote of confidence. 😉

  • Eric January 23, 2010, 10:11 pm

    Great list. I’m not sure about Jessica Biel though, I’d replace her with Milla Jovovich from either Resident Evil or The 5th Element. And maybe throw in Charlize Theron from Aeon Flux.

    • Liz January 24, 2010, 10:26 pm

      Eric, it’s true that I could be biased. I have a bit of a girl-crush on Biel because of her awesome delts. Nice additions to the list!

  • Mike January 24, 2010, 7:51 am

    Can’t argue much about this list but let’s give an honorable mention to:

    Killer fembot from Terminator 3
    Chick from Species

    • Josh Hanagarne January 24, 2010, 12:23 pm

      Who’s Melena?

    • Liz January 24, 2010, 10:28 pm

      Another nod to Jen Garner with Elektra! Like Josh, I’m not familiar with Melena, but I agree all of the others are worthy of honorable mentions, for sure.

  • Boris Bachmann January 24, 2010, 8:57 am

    I am old-school I guess… Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica is NOT a woman.

    • Liz January 24, 2010, 10:29 pm

      Oh, you mean the old series, with “Face” from the A-Team? (Dirk something or other, right?) Yes, he’s not exactly a girl, is he? Those crazy people and their gender-twisting remakes…I think the female Starbuck is better known than the male one we grew up with!

  • Kathy January 25, 2010, 12:20 am

    this is such a great idea! i love it. i would probably want xena, yancy butler and buffy in my gang. i don’t even have to feel like a geek since the reader’s have already mentioned them! i would then probably add Detective Benson from SVU and the Mord’Sith Cara from the Sword of Truth Series… though the series’ Kahlan character is also pretty bad-ass in her own right leather is one of my gang colors.

    now i just have to be worthy to have these people in my gang. no problem. 🙂