An Ode To Dana Scully, An Inspiration To Hard-Nosed Women Everywhere


Sci-fi buffs and Roswell truthers have much to celebrate with this week’s return of “The X-Files”: a long-awaited update on the status of star-crossed lovers Mulder and Scully’s relationship; mantra-worthy observations narrated in the now-raspy and wise-sounding voice of David Duchovny; aliens.

But for women who grew up watching and reading science-fiction, struggling to find accurate versions of themselves represented in the fantastical books and shows they loved, the most exciting part about the reboot is the return of Dana Scully, one of the most badass fictional characters in television history.

Traditionally, fictional detectives are dudes, beginning with the popular, brawny gumshoe dreamt up by the equally athletic Sir Arthur Conan Doyle: Sherlock Holmes. Unlike the socially awkward yet logically brilliant version played by Benedict Cumberbatch, the original Sherlock was a jock, with brains that matched his bare-knuckle boxing skills. It’s no wonder there’re entire societies made up of male lawyers and book critics devoted to Holmes and Holmes ephemera; he’s an aspirational figure, equally adept at solving puzzles and wooing women.

In depictions of Holmes and other PI characters popularized since — Dick Tracy, Max Payne — women rarely play more than distressed damsels, or at least illogical decriers, standing in the way of the unemotional reason being deployed by the central, male problem solver.

More modern takes on the Holmes canon try to correct this; the Sherlock movies starring Robert Downey Jr. feature the character Irene Adler, slated as his rowdy female counterpart rather than a mere love interest, as she’s written in Doyle’s story. And there are plenty of other skilled women detectives these days, including Lisbeth Salander, Sarah Linden, and, more recently, Jessica Jones.

But when “The X-Files” aired in 1993, there were few serious or memorable crime-fighting women. Sure, “Law —> Read More