I haven’t written anything super positive or happy in a few days, so I wanted to remedy that. Since I railed on Bella and co. for a few hundred words on Sunday, I figured I’d make up for that today. I’m dedicating today to my top 10 favorite awesome, bad ass, butt-kicking, all-around awesome and inspirational girls from television, books, and movies. I deliberately chose to use fictional characters as a sort of foil for Bella Swan, mostly because my last post about her was sort of catty and mean. I don’t like cutting down other women, real or fictional. I just wanted to put it out there that there are other REALLY amazing female characters (some old, some newer) that, for me, personify what women should be about: not being afraid to speak your mind (even if your voice shakes), not rely on anyone to “rescue” you, not being afraid to be smart or funny or brave or “too masculine.” I am by NO means a prototypical feminist (I own too many pairs of shoes and bottles of nail polish that would probably bar my entry), but that doesn’t mean that I don’t admire and love my own gender. I think there are smart, beautiful and AMAZING women out there (in the real and fictional worlds) that are better role models for the next generation than a whiny teenager that sits around waiting to be saved.
This is by NO means an exhaustive list, but my personal opinions. I’m sure there are tons of other great female characters out there (leave them in the comments if you so choose!), but these are the S-Dizzle approved “fierce fabulous females”
10. Sammy Joyce, Sammy’s Hill by Kristin Gore (there’s no movie or tv show, so the book cover will have to do)
I love Sammy Joyce. She’s an Ohio girl, working in DC for a US Senator. Aside from the fact that she’s a Democrat and I’m a Republican, she could be my fictional twin (sort of). Sammy’s smart, loads of fun, doesn’t take herself too seriously (especially considering she at one point gets peed on by a baby in her “only stylish item of clothing”—a suede skirt) and is really good at her job. And she TRIES to be good at her job and doesn’t let anyone try to tear her down (office bitches) or a stupid boyfriend who demeans her boss (spoiler: she lets him have it). And when said stupid boyfriend cheats on her? Instead of crying into a bowl of ice cream, she comes up with a hilarious “gotcha” plot. If you haven’t read Sammy’s Hill yet, you really should.
9. Stephanie Plum, One for the Money (and the rest of the Janet Evanovich series)
Bounty Hunter Stephanie Plum. LITERALLY an ass-kicking chick (sometimes without meaning to be so). After accidentally falling into the family bailbonds business, Stephanie became a bounty hunter for people skipping out on their bond (called “skips”). Along with her weird crew of associates (a former ‘ho named Lula, an almost-alway high stoner named Mooner, a cross dresser rocker named Sally Sweet, her fellow kick-ass grandma Mazur, and her two ‘almost loves’—cop Joe Morelli and former army ranger, Ranger) Stephanie manages to solve mysteries in her New Jersey suburb without getting herself in too much trouble. She’s fiercely independent and has no problem being alone, doing things for herself and takes it so far as to actively tell people that she’s NOT a damsel in distress and that she can fend for herself. Add to that a predilection for blowing up cars (accidentally!), she’s an awesome girl that I would totally be friends with (but probably wouldn’t let her drive my car).
8. Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
I just had to do it. Sorry folks. Buffy is absolutely 100% Bella Swan’s opposite. Instead of hanging out with vampires and letting them throw her birthday parties, Buffy was more concerned with stabbing them with wooden stakes. She sort of brought in a new wave of butt-kicking chicks (with really great hair!). What I like most about her (other than her witty retorts) is that, like the other girls on the list, she never waited for someone to save her. In fact, SHE did most of the saving. And she never let a guy get in the way of what she was born to do (even if the love of her life happened to be, in fact, a vampire). Also? She’s a REALLY good friend (another BIG +1 on my scale. Being a good girlfriend to your friends is key)
7. Olivia Benson, Law & Order: SVU
Another +1 for the ass-kicking chicks. Olivia was the first female detective in the Law&Order franchise (and for sure its best). Besides being drop dead gorgeous, Olivia isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty by going undercover, chasing down a perp in a sketchy alley, or stare down a creep in interrogation. She can be the tough bad-cop when she needs to be, but also has true compassion for victims (especially children) and has no problem embracing her maternal side. She’s the best example of using femininity in the right way (not overtly sexual or ‘poor me, come rescue me’). And she gets to carry a gun and a badge. I’d rather have her as my back up than Fin.
6. Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables (and the rest of the series by L.M. Montgomery)
I loved Anne growing up. She was plucky and fiery and had red hair that she hated (I hated my own mousy-brown hair too). Anne’s story is totally inspirational: the girl was an orphan & was accidentally sent to Green Gables. But instead of being forced to be sent back, Anne stayed with Marilla & Matthew and became a seriously awesome lady. She was really smart and instead of playing dumb to get boys to like her, she pushed herself further to be top in her class (ok, and maybe smashing a slate on Gilbert Blythe’s head too). She had a crazy awesome imagination, did things that no other girls would dare (walking along a roof because someone dared her? no problem) and (like Buffy) was a really really good friend. Her friendship with Diana Barry is the stuff that all female friendship magic is made of. She chased her dreams, didn’t settle for “good enough”…and still managed to have a job, a husband and a bunch of cute kids.
5. Veronica Mars, Veronica Mars
I came across some Veronica Mars DVDs back in 2006 (the show was already airing) and fell in love with Neptune and all of its crazy residents. Especially Veronica. She was a sort of modern day Nancy Drew, working as a PI (and later on getting her license and scoring a 95 on the exam!) and helping solve “mysteries” in and around Neptune. She had a huge pitbull named Backup (adorable) and more surveillance equipment than any 17 year old girl should have access too. In short: she was awesome. Add to it a sassy, spunky personality and you’ve got a character that everyone (guys and girls) fell in love with. What I love most about Veronica is that, like most of the other ladies on the list, she isn’t some damsel in distress. If she gets herself in a sticky situation, she finds a way to get out. She’s not about fitting in or doing what’s “cool”, but doing what she thinks is right.
4. Scarlett O’Hara, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
What list of fierce and fabulous women would be complete without Scarlett? None. In her own twisted way, Scarlett manages to be a pretty independent lady (in between all of her marriages, of course). She’s the one who manages to save Tara and saves her husband, Frank Kennedy’s, lumber business (which she ended up running). Sure, she was horribly selfish most of the time. And she tried to be a delicate little waif that needed to be saved…but she ended up doing the saving more often than not. She was a survivor…and did most of it on her own (ok, maybe with a little help from Rhett)
3. Elle Woods, Legally Blonde
A blonde sorority girl turned law student picks Elle Woods. Surprise surprise. But hear me out. Elle on the outside looks like just another dumb sorority girl—concerned more with the latest sale at Bendel’s and getting a ring from her boyfriend than with anything else. But, we find out, she’s actually much more than that. She’s smart (duh, she did get into HARVARD), but more than that, she’s a good person. She never commits the cardinal sin of turning on another girl, doesn’t get catty (even when other women are HORRIBLE to her) and does everything in her power to do what’s right. She makes no apologies for liking manicures or having a small dog. Instead, she made all us female law students (and ladies in general) see that you can still succeed in a typically male dominated profession (law, banking, medicine, etc.) without hiding that fact that you are, in fact, a lady (and maybe one that likes pink and manicures and shopping). So what if she’s a fictional character. She’s the best.
2. Liz Lemon, 30 Rock
Since I couldn’t put Tina Fey on my list (stupid self-made limitations), I had to include her fictional alter-ego, Liz Lemon. When 30 Rock premiered back in 2006, I instantly felt a comradery with its main character, head writer Liz Lemon. She’s hilarious (sometimes without meaning to be), a little awkward (ok, a lot awkward) and yells things like “nerds” and “blerg” a lot (and, my personal favorite saying of all time “I want to go to there”), but, all joking aside, she’s the head writer of a television show. Not too shabby. She bought her apartment (and the one above hers) by herself, no husband to help her. She’s a pretty kick ass lady. I could go on and on about my love for Liz, but instead, I’ll just let you decide for yourselves
1. Jo March, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The first fictional character that I really identified with. I was probably 7 when I read Little Women for the first time and I love love loved Jo. She, unlike her sisters, didn’t care too much about dresses or parties. She was more interested in writing stories and going on adventures. My favorite favorite favorite line from any book is one that she utters. When someone tells her she should have been a lawyer, she responds with a smile and “I should have been a great many things,”. She slays me. I love her so much. Alcott created a character so completely ahead of her time. When she is proposed to by her BFF, instead of jumping and saying yes (knowing she’d be taken care of for the rest of her life), she turns him down because she knows she wouldn’t be happy and she wants something more. She set out on her own (and, in the late 1800s, this was SO not the norm). She was ambitious and creative and smart…she’s everything that, as both a young girl reading it at age 7 and a young(ish) woman reading it again at 27, I aspire to be.
So there you have it. My own person fierce fabulous (fictional) females. Any I missed?