Am I the victim of societal bias? Maybe. I am already aware that I have a propensity toward messiah figures (Optimus Prime, Ender Wiggin, Master Chief, Aragon, Takashi "Shiro" Shirogane,) but I'm not interested in fictional female characters. I think the idea of representation is at work here.
I actually know strong women that I admire and look up to. I don't need a fictitious example. I was raised by a single mother, who was a cop. Needless to say she had many female colleagues that were officers as well and they all have memorable personalities and dispositions. My mom is a good friend and has lifelong friends, something I've managed to pick up, and each of them are like her- independent, strong willed, tough as nails, grounded, smart, compassionate, thoughtful. I have been surrounded my whole life by excellent women.
Not so much for men. My life has always lacked strong male role models. That is exactly what drew me to Transformers. I always wanted a brother and those characters felt like brothers to me and most people will agree that Optimus Prime is a father figure. When I became a Christian I inherited a bunch of brothers and some father role models as well. But, I didn't become a Christian until the middle of high school and most of your formative experiences are set before then.
As a result, all my favorite fictional people are male. Self-sacrificing, defenders of justice and the powerless, courageous in the face of danger and undaunted by obstacles. I am just now realizing that most of them are military too. Don't get me wrong. I know good men. The kind of men that are noble of heart and make sacrifices for their families and communities but unlike fiction I am not privy to those hardships. And that is the beauty and value of fiction. I know the struggles of my favorite characters and it inspires me to be a better person. They are male and I am female but the traits that I admire most are not restricted by gender or any other label for that matter.
It’s important to examine why we revere the people and characters that we do. The admiration we place on them can be a reflection of who we would like to be. I am glad that women and people of color are getting more of the spotlight but integrity, courage, compassion, loyalty, et al, these are universal qualities that make up the best of humanity.