Found a great article on the movie Labyrinth (the inspiration, originally, for this whole Girls Underground concept, for those who don’t know) over at Tor.com: “Suburban Fantasy, Gender Politics, plus a Goblin Prom: Why Labyrinth is a Classic” by Bridget McGovern (thanks to the Fuck Yeah, Labyrinth Tumblr blog for directing me there).
“But the reason I love it most is that it features a headstrong young female protagonist taking on the world in jeans and sensible shoes. If that doesn’t sound like much to you, then take into account the fact that the movie revolves around Sarah’s refusal to be treated as a princess (a word never once used in the script). One of the things that this movie does brilliantly is systematically reject the usual “princess” trope — Sarah’s happy ending isn’t going to be found on the arm of some fantasy heartthrob; her adventures in the labyrinth force her to abandon any such princess-y delusions. Her identity is her own, and she isn’t about to be swayed by any bedazzled, leather-loving, tight-panted gigolo with a castle, even if he is some sort of king. It’s an incredibly subversive approach to the usual fantasy heroine that seems to go unnoticed in the midst of all the muppetry and cleverness and stunning visuals, but to a kid raised on Disney and mediocre sitcoms, it was simply revolutionary….”
Yup, that’s a Girl Underground – not the usual fantasy heroine. Though, considering the number of examples of this archetype I’ve found (I’ve profiled almost 100 here so far, and I’m far from finished), predominantly in fantasy literature, perhaps she’s a growing favorite. Still, certainly not the usual Disney-type heroine.