Somewhere, I recall a bit of advice about writing fiction: that you should figure out what your obsessions are, and go deep into them, rather than trying to stick to what you think other people will find interesting. My man Joss Whedon is an example of this.
In the commentary track for Serenity, he says this over the bit of the film where we see little River, backlit, with an big nasty weapon in each hand, surrounded by countless bad guys who have fallen by her hand.
Here we have the Hero Shot, and I have never used that term more literally in my life. We designed the entire set, and the entire sequence, for this moment. It has been pointed out to me that I have a problem making fiction that doesn't have super-powered adolescent girls in it. I don't care. I think that's one of the sweetest things that I ever shot, and it makes me very happy.
Joss is unusually articulate about the dramatic logic that underlies his work, which is part of my fascination with him — I love getting to see the machinery — and why I keep quoting him here. And in some production notes in the Serenity Visual Companion which I am, yes, nerdy enough to own, he sums up the deal with River very tidily.
She is the monster. She is the damsel. She is the action hero.
I don't know about you, but that's how I like my feminism served: as the main dish on a big plate of pop culture fun.