Damsel, Not Distressing: Commander Shepard


a.k.a. the biggest bad-ass in the room.

a.k.a. the biggest bad-ass in the room.

Book/Series/Movie: video game, Mass Effect Trilogy

This character analysis is based on a FemShep who makes primarily Paragon choices.

Commander Shepard was one tough cookie. After graduating from the Systems Alliance N7 special forces program, she was assigned to the SSV Normandy to serve as the Executive Officer. That made her not only the highest ranking female on board, but one of the highest in the Alliance military. After proving herself in the field, she became the first human Spectre – a high honor in a galaxy where humans are the prejudiced minority. As a Spectre, she reported directly to the Council (think like the UN, but fewer chefs in the kitchen) and was granted special abilities and accesses that no other humans had.

She then proceeded to kick butt and take names.

When it comes to women in gaming, we tend to get one of two things: an obviously male character made to look like a girl, or Commander Shepard. Get what I mean? It’s not that often (if at all) that we find a game that designs their female characters to be just as strong, powerful, and commanding as their male counterparts…and without it just being because they’ve thrown a woman sheet over a man.

Shepard owns every room she walks into. For reasons pretty much unknown to her, people listen to what she says and trust her judgement. Why? Because she’s proven herself to be a strong, independent, moral compass of a woman whose opinions matter. Because of her status, she has so many opportunities to beg, steal, and borrow. And she could get away with pretty much anything she tried and all on reputation alone. However, Shepard doesn’t abuse the power she has. It was her goal to keep both the Alliance and the galaxy in mind in every decision she made. She was truly a champion for the greater good. There’s a reason three different crews hung on to her every word, even the one that was primary filled with Cerberus bad guys and other criminals. They knew that they could put their lives in her hands, and with good reason.

Because Commander Shepard is the hero of her story, not the damsel in distress.

xo – Meli


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