I got to thinking the other day about the TV shows that I watch and I realised that they feature some pretty bad-ass, strong women in leading roles. The Mentalist, Fringe, The Big Bang Theory and Chuck all feature great female characters. And those that are no longer in production, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Scrubs, are great for relatable and admirable female characters. So if you’re feeling at a loss, wondering what will become of the youth of today when their current TV programming is full of crap like TOWIE, 90210 and Hollyoaks, check out any of these shows and instantly feel all warm and fuzzy again.
Sure, The Mentalist is primarily about Patrick Jane’s quest to find Red John, but the show would be nothing without his sparring partner, Teresa Lisbon. She is in a position of power and has a great career but you rarely see her in a relationship – although she does have a sex life, so that’s something.
Fringe has always had Olivia at its centre and she is one of those few well-rounded female characters. She has a professional life and a personal life, strong relationships and is pretty damn good at kicking ass too! And although you don’t see much of Astrid’s personal life (besides a bit of stuff with her dad towards the end of the last season), she’s pretty awesome too.
I wouldn’t dare suggest that Penny is a strong role model, although I love her to bits. But Amy and Bernadette are proof that guys do make passes at girls who wear glasses and you can be intelligent and funny. Score!
Sarah and Ellie are very much strong career women but Ellie is perhaps the more well-rounded of the two, given her ability to maintain relationships and excel in her chosen career. With Sarah, it has often been a case of her having to choose between her career and being with Chuck.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer is packed full of strong women, especially as the series drew to a close with all young women having the potential to be a slayer.
And don’t go thinking there aren’t any strong women in animated shows! Powerpuff Girls, anyone? And Lisa Simpson is the ultimate smart chick. I’m also quite fond of Louise from Bob’s Burgers. Although that could just be because of the quirky hat…
Is it just me or are there very few admirable women in film these days? Sure, there are directors who consistently make awesome films (Sofia Coppola) and actresses who pick great roles (Meryl Streep) but when it comes to characters, they are still very much ‘types’. You often find a woman in an action flick who kicks bootay, but does she have any real relationships or a personal life? And what about the women in rom-coms who need a man to make them happy? Sigh… Annie Hall is a great example of a well-written female film character (something Woody Allen excels at). Juno is also a favourite – how often do you see a pregnant teenager who isn’t treated like a total ‘slut’ or is in a happy relationship? And Kat from 10 Things I Hate About You is one of my favourite female characters of all time (see The Bell Jar post).
Then of course there are the literary heroines: Jane Eyre, Emma, Elizabeth Bennett… How many modern day literary heroines are there? Bridget Jones? Beccy Bloomwood? I don’t think so! I mean, I like the books, but they’re not exactly women I admire… Jodi Picoult writes fantastic books with interesting female characters, so I suppose outside of comic books, that’s the best I can find. Feel free to comment otherwise!