The arm is hurt; it’s not broken! Feminist TV characters

collage o strong female rolemodels

So today I have a day off work and naturally I woke up early, with radio one style songs stuck in my head and the urge to write…I may as well be at work! I’m going to make the most of this opportunity by writing a pretty casual blog about a topic that should be blogged about more – women, and in particular strong female role models!

FYI this isn’t a blog about health or fitness, so if you don’t want to read my ramblings about how amazing these ladies are, then please feel free to bounce.

I’ve seen a few people write variations of this post, and I’m going to talk about strong women on TV and possibly films (depending on how carried away I get.) Hopefully my post will be a different and interesting take on it.

Being from the TV generation, I learned a lot about myself from the characters (or as I felt, friends) that I grew up with on screen. My parents both worked full time jobs, so my sister and I plonked in front of the gogglebox after school and on weekends, unless we wandering around the woods, putting plastic animal toys in pans of water and freezing them (for animal ice rescue), or hanging out with our other friend – the dog.

Buffy Summers

Buffy summers holding wooden steak in red top

I could really write a whole blog about Buffy, but I think it would be so awesome I’d have to follow it with more and more Buffy posts, they would be equally as great and Joss Whedon might want to hire me as the official Buffy fan trivia writer, which may encourage the Scooby gang to get back together, which Sarah Michelle Gellar probably doesn’t want to do because she has a successful family cooking business – I just couldn’t do that to SMG!

Anyway Buffy has had a huge impact on my life and I seriously don’t understand people who aren’t obsessed with it. The series was quite pioneering for its time, not only did it feature multiple strong female characters, the episodes tackled contemporary issues such as rape, addiction, depression, and it was one of the first series to feature lesbian relationships.

As a person, Buffy was amazing for so many reasons. First of all she has slayer strength, which means she is stronger than pretty much any big bad, plus she still trained like a boss and her punching was on point. She is also incredibly brave and put the good of Sunnydale (her town) before anything else, even when she falls in love, awww. She is fiercely loyal to her friends and family, but she also knows her own mind and takes control of every situation. I love the fact that even when her Watcher, Giles, warns her not to do certain things she does them anyway, even if she fails because she isn’t afraid of taking chances. I also love her clothes and style, and the fact that her character isn’t made overtly sexy to compensate for being a strong female lead.

(This is the longest paragraph in the blog I swear)

Lois from Malcolm in the Middle

Lois from malcolm in the middle blue shirt

I was so happy when Comedy Central started showing Malcolm in the Middle again, because it’s such a hilarious show. As I’ve been rewatching it, I’ve noticed how great Lois is. She is a mother of four badly behaved boys, which she still manages to put in their place every time. Her husband is a little bit terrified of her, and comes off as a bit pathetic really (before he turns into the baddest meth dealer EVER in Breaking Bad) but it’s obvious that he respects her and loves her. The eldest son, Francis, who is in Military School for most of the show, believes that his mother is the evil archetype and the reason he is so messed up – but the respect is still clearly there and he would do anything for her.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch

Sabrina the teenage witch and hilda and zelda

After Buffy, Sabrina was my favourite tv series growing up. Although the idea that women are witches is sometimes interpreted as negative, as witches have connotations of being evil outcasts who were burned at the steak, I believe female witches are a positive feminist symbol. They have magical powers which they use for good, they are connected to the natural and spiritual world in a way that nobody else is, and people respect them.

The first thing to note is that Sabrina has a hilarious sense of humour, she is un-apologetically sarcastic and witty, plus she isn’t afraid to let her weird side show. She never wants to fit in with the cheerleaders or become one of the popular kids, although there only seems to be about 20 people in her school all together so she doesn’t have the best pick of friends. Salem is her talking cat, which she regularly puts in his place, and Hilda and Zelda (the witch aunties that she lives with) are also great female role models – Zelda is a super intelligent scientist and Hilda is a talented violin player. Overall, Sabrina did a perfect job of representing strong women in a 90s teenage comedy!

Xena Warrior Princess

Xena warrior princess behind fire

Ok so I used to watch this when I was really young, so my memory isn’t the best about Xena but I remember even from a young age I thought she was amazing. To begin with, her outfit is basically a coat of armour which is pretty cool, and she knows her to use a sword like nobody else. She was fierce when she was fighting, if you heard that turkey-shriek battle cry you knew you were in serious trouble! The only critique I have with the series was her sappy sidekick Gabrielle, I don’t understand why Xena hung around with her at all because all she did was get in the way and cry. Although I do remember her doing lots of washing, making food and warning Xena about things, so maybe she was the old-day equivalent of a PA. Was she also a witch in the later series? Maybe that was why, if anyone knows please comment!

Jessa from Girls

Jesse from Girls with hair up black tshirt

I love GIRLS full stop, although some of the characters do annoy me from time to time (cough Marnie cough) it is full of brilliant role models for women. The strongest one for me is Jessa, she is a free spirit who knows her own mind. I like her attitude to body image, sex and how honest she is with her friends. She is probably the most selfish and reckless character on this list but she owns it. 

Amanda Bynes – The Amanda Show

Amanda Bynes in blue top and coloured skirt

I’m not ashamed to admit it, I would still happily watch and laugh my head off to the Amanda show. It was a mainly female comedy sketch show which was actually hilarious. This is inspiring because for some reason people don’t think that women can be funny, but Amanda was hilarious. She was often making fun of people, being loud and outspoken and adopting wacky characters. I was disappointed to learn that Amanda wasn’t involved in the writing at all for the show, in fact there were no women writers, but overall I still think it’s a good series.

Amy Schumer – Inside Amy Schumer


On the same note, I obviously couldn’t write this without mentioning Amy Schumer. She is so freaking funny! I love her sketch show, which generally satires modern day attitudes towards women, like ‘being TV hot’, and men hitting on women in general. Please go and watch the series now, you won’t regret it.

I feel like this post is getting way too long now, if anyone is still reading then kudos to you, you win my admiration. I’m just going to make a list of other super amazing female role models that I like from film and TV.

Beatrix from Kill Bill
The girls from Broad City
Hermione from Harry Potter (duh)
Denise from Master of None
Mickey from Love
Polly Gray from Peaky Blinders
Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Gamers