The Kick-Ass Woman: Not just any nanny, Ms Poppins knows right from wrong, and fully enforces that through her work. She’s also a little bit magical, and sticks to her guns better than John Wayne. Misbehaviour will not be tolerated. From anybody. Ever.
Sensitive Side? Well, she is a nanny, which means she likes kids. We assume.
If She’d Been A Man: She’d run her nursery with military precision. A bit like the captain in The Sound Of Music , now we think of it.
The Kick-Ass Woman: A bit craggy, naggy and saggy, but still with a tongue that could leave whiplash marks and a spirit as strong as industrial iron. It’ll take a lot to break thissun – not even a similarly encrusted Christopher Plummer manages it.
Sensitive Side? Everything Dolores does is for her daughter. Her attempts to create a better life for her, away from her abusive father, is as soft as Dolores gets.
If She’d Been A Man: She’d have done everything exactly the same. Dolores ain’t no retiring wallflower no matter what her pants are packin'.
The Kick-Ass Woman: A whole lotta woman, to put it simply. Coffy takes the law into her own hands when her sister gets mixed up in the drug scene, and decides to scrub LA clean of that sort of scum. With one-liners, a big gun, and a whole lotta attitude.
Sensitive Side? It’s her sister’s terrible situation that prompts Coffy into action.
If She’d Been A Man: She’d be Shaft.
The Kick-Ass Woman: Waitress Margaret will do anything it takes to fulfil her dream of becoming a boxer, and manages to enlist the brilliant but brazen Frankie Dunn as her trainer. She goes on to become a Welterweight champion.
Sensitive Side? Margaret’s humble beginnings are revealed when she visits her home, and gifts her mother a new house – which the spiteful bitch throws back in her face. We all weep.
If She’d Been A Man: She’d just be another male boxer. It’s her gender that made her special.
The Kick-Ass Woman: No-nonsense Aughra isn’t the prettiest canary in the cage, but she’s got sass in stacks and a head full of knowledge. She also won’t go down with a fight – when captured by the shuffling Skeksis, she hurls a hailstorm of abuse at them while planning her escape.
Sensitive Side? Aughra’s heart’s in the right place (even if her eyes generally aren’t), and helps gelfling Jen to escape so that he can continue his quest to save the land.
If She’d Been A Man: She’d be Hoggle from Labyrinth .
The Kick-Ass Woman: A Freudian nightmare, this lady has real balls. No, really. She’s a hip old granny who can hip-hop, bebop and make a wicked cup of cocoa.
Sensitive Side? Pretty much all of Mrs Doubtfire is soft – she’s made mostly out of foam padding, after all.
If She’d Been A Man: She’d be a man dressed as a woman dressed as a man? Or, uh, a woman who’s dressed as a man dressed as a woman dressed as a man? Wait, we need to go lie down for a bit…
Sister Mary Clarence
The Kick-Ass Woman: An undercover lounge singer, Sister Mary Clarence (aka Dolores) channels her spitfire nature into the convent where she’s hiding out and helps to raise St Catherine’s Church out of the ashes by sheer force of will – and a hip church choir.
Sensitive Side? She’ll deny it ‘til she’s blue in the face, but Dolores just loves those penguins.
If She’d Been A Man: She’d have gone undercover as a monk. And probably had far more fun snaffling the presbytery wine.
The Kick-Ass Woman: Lisbeth doesn’t take crap from no-one. A bisexual cyber-hacker with a trust fund that keeps her going when she can’t be bothered with work, she likes to solve old cases – and help journalist Mikael Blomqvist with his own problems.
Sensitive Side? That’d be Mikael, who somehow brings out Salander’s softer inclinations.
If She’d Been A Man: She’d end up drafted in by some chap called Morpheus in order to stop mass mind control by malicious robots.
The Kick-Ass Woman: Carrie only becomes kick-ass when she’s forced into a corner. That’s when she snaps, exerting her psychic powers to spank those who have caused her harm – which is bad news for those caught in the crossfire.
Sensitive Side? Carrie’s all sensitive all the time – until she’s pushed too far.
If She’d Been A Man: Are Carrie’s psychic powers linked to her PMT? She’d be better off as a man, there, surely.
The Kick-Ass Woman: In Blue Angel , Lola Lola works at a cabaret, where her performances light up the stage. She’s a woman completely in control of her own sexuality, using it without abusing it to make a living. Immensely progressive for its day and a blue print for many a feisty, strong-willed woman to come.
Sensitive Side? Lola Lola does fall in love, even if it ends up unhappy.
If She’d Been A Man: We’d be in American Gigolo territory…
The Kick-Ass Woman: High-powered business woman Miranda has a reputation as an ice queen, but she doesn’t care – she’s got a magazine to run. Which she does well, no matter who she crushes on the way to success.
Sensitive Side? When her husband tells her he wants a divorce, Miranda breaks down (or as close to breaking down as she allows herself). She has a heart, then.
If She’d Been A Man: She’d blend in with just about every other strong-willed businessman out there. And probably end up making something like The Apprentice.
The Kick-Ass Woman: After accidentally killing a man (alright, he sort of deserved it), Thelma goes on the run with her friend Louise. On the way, she gives Michael Madsen what for, and blows up a giant fuel tank.
Sensitive Side? Thelma’s a maternal figure to Louise, and helps her to grow into a strong woman. You know, before they drive off a cliff.
If She’d Been A Man: She’d be known as The Avenger and celebrated as a vigilante superhero.
The Kick-Ass Woman: FBI trainee Starling holds her own against sinister serial killer Hannibal Lecter, which is the first sign of her kick-ass capabilities. Then she confronts other killer Buffalo Bill – this time in the dark, with no glass separating them. And wins. Go girl!
Sensitive Side? It’s all about those bloody lambs.
If She’d Been A Man: She’d never have managed to get Lecter on side (“You know what you look like to me, with your good tie and your cheap shirt? You look like a rube”).
The Kick-Ass Woman: From whimpering ‘80s chick to tough-as-nails battle warrior, Connor may be banged up in a mental asylum, but she’s not going to let that stop her. Just check out those guns.
Sensitive Side? Sarah will do anything to save her son. God bless that maternal instinct.
If She’d Been A Man: She’d probably resemble Kyle Reese, the man who trained her in the first place.
The Kick-Ass Woman: The grand dame of kick-ass women, this one really does actually kick a fair few rumps. Luckily, most of them belong to killer aliens who want to melt, pulverise and shred her. She’s not adverse to putting a bloke in his place if he needs it, too.
Sensitive Side? Oh yes, Ripley takes orphan girl Newt under her wing when she discovers her on a barren planet.
If She’d Been A Man: She originally was. No, she’s not had a sex change, but was written in the original Alien script as a bloke. Something tells us the tiny pant scene at the ’79 film’s climax might not be so popular today if she'd stayed a guy...
The Kick-Ass Woman: In Jezebel , Marsden loses the man she loves due to her tempestuous behaviour, but resolves to win him back – until he’s struck down with yellow fever. Her true colours really shine through, though, as her strong backbone and wilful nature bring her close to him once more.
Sensitive Side? Julie’s just a woman in love. Ah, bless.
If She’d Been A Man: She’d be congratulated for her inability to compromise and promoted.
Cruella De Vil
The Kick-Ass Woman: Cruella has only one love in her life – fur. She just can’t get enough of it. And she’ll do anything to get her claws on her latest favourite; Dalmatian pelts. Even if it means puppnapping them from her supposed nearest and dearest.
Sensitive Side? The only soft side of Cruella is the side currently garbed in fur.
If She’d Been A Man: She'd be a less scary version of Alexander McQueen.
The Kick-Ass Woman: Normally it’s the other way around – a bloke needs to save his woman in a ridiculously short amount of time (see Mission: Impossible II et al). Here, Lola has to track down DEM100,000 in just 20 minutes, or her beau bites it.
Sensitive Side? Like most of the women on this list, she’s doing it for that great motivator: love.
If She’d Been A Man: See Mission: Impossible II.
The Kick-Ass Woman: She may be pregnant, but that won’t stop police chief Marge Gunderson, who’s fit to burst when she gets involved in a kidnap case. In the end, it’s her smarts and determination that see her single-handedly taking down the kidnappers.
Sensitive Side? She’s having a baby, isn’t that sweet?
If She’d Been A Man: Well, she wouldn’t be pregnant, for a start…
The Kick-Ass Woman: We may all still think of her as a little witch girl, but Hermione has indeed blossomed into a rather well put together young woman. Quick-thinking, a little bit sensitive and the best spellcaster this side of Merlin, she’s definitely a witch you want on side.
Sensitive Side? Very. Just look at her meltdown when Ron fails to notice her.
If She’d Been A Man: She’d probably have resembled Harry Potter, to be honest.
The Kick-Ass Woman: In Rooster Cogburn , Eula is a spinster who is backed up John Wayne’s Rooster in the hunt for her father’s killer – and a stolen shipment of nitroglycerin. “It's true that you are larger than me... but only physically,” Eula tells Rooster. What a dame.
Sensitive Side? Eula’s tough as they come. “I do not fear a skunk. I simply do not care for its odour.”
If She’d Been A Man: We’d not need Wayne anymore, and where’s the fun in that?
The Kick-Ass Woman: Raised by wolf gods, Mononoke has earned herself the nickname ‘Wolf Girl’, and works alongside her adopted family to bring down villagers who are destroying the forests that surround their domain. She’s quick with a blade, fleet-footed and, yes, a tiny bit wild.
Sensitive Side? Does loving Mother Earth make you sensitive?
If She’d Been A Man: She’d be Prince Mononoke, which is nowhere near as interesting.
The Kick-Ass Woman: The story comes first, then the emotion, then – if you’re lucky – the guilt. That’s the way Gale Weathers, newswoman extraordinaire, works. She’s got a nose for a story, and will go for it with all the exuberance of a bloodhound. She’s also good in a fight – even if she doesn’t know what the safety catch on a gun is.
Sensitive Side? Amidst the slashing and screaming, Weathers manages to fall in love with Deputy Dewey.
If She’d Been A Man: She’d probably end up as Ron Burgundy. But worse.