“How are you supposed to know? Fucking men like you built the hydrogen bomb. Men like you thought it up. You think you’re so creative. You don’t know what it’s like to really create something; to create a life; to feel it growing inside you. All you know how to create is death…”
Sarah Connor, her name just brings to mind one of the strongest women in all of Pop Culture not just Sci-Fi. She is a warrior, a survivalist and most importantly–a mother. Her story may start off with her in danger when a solider from the future named Kyle Reese is sent to protect her from ‘the Terminator’ and to ensure the future survival of the child she is meant to have. You know, in more ways than one. 😉
In the first incarnation of the Terminator franchise, Sarah Connor was portrayed by the kick-ass Linda Hamilton who later went on to make Sarah the Sci-Fi icon she is today. Recent incarnations include both Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles’ and Emilia Clarke in the upcoming reboot Terminator: Genesis.
See, the thing about Sarah Connor that sets her apart from most female characters in film and Science Fiction is her transformation. She does start off as a damsel of sorts, however she is not dependent on a hero because she becomes the hero of the story. Kyle Reese serves to inform her that the cyborg that is tracking her down was sent to kill her by the self-aware A.I. Skynet that has gained control of the world’s military systems in the future.
But why does it want her dead?
Because John Connor, the son she is going to have, leads the resistance against it and they decide to send a cyborg to prevent him from existing.
While she and Reese do face Arnold together what’s important to note is that he isn’t just a knight in shinning armor. He teaches her a thing or two but ultimately Sarah takes her fate into her own hands and learns the skills to protect herself and her offspring. Throughout the Terminator films she goes from waitress to military vicious. She doesn’t glam it up but is strong and sexy in her fierce skill set. The scene where she is locked up in the mental institution, doing those pull ups on her bed does not show a woman defeated. It shows a woman preparing for war, gaining the knowledge and abilities to impart on her son so he can survive.Even in the second picture when she becomes so hardened that she almost loses her humanity, her arc of responsibility for the future is such a universal theme. Her child is meant to be a savior, Skynet is meant to become an evil corporation. Sarah ultimately discovers that she can effect change before those things happen and stops herself from killing the man who is poised to create what would later become Skynet. She practices empathy before punishing someone for something that hasn’t even happened yet. And, together they both take responsibility to ensure the future does not pan out in a way that will doom them all.
She’s a classic outlaw, heroic rebel, amazing mother, and great teacher for anyone of any gender.