There are a few characters however, that I can absolutely say without hesitation, that I see as role models and people I wish I emulate more. Here are some of the characteristics that I most admire:
- They are confident/comfortable with themselves.
- They embrace life with gusto.
- They have a strong moral compass and
- Are always brave enough to choose the right path even if it's the more difficult/less comfortable.
- They make mistakes and take responsibility for them while not giving in to self-loathing.
- They are independent.
- They are smart.
- They are strong.
- They are courageous and opinionated.
- They have compassion.
- They pursue love and intimacy without making it the end all be all.
- They have great senses of humor.
Not all the fictional women below embody all these characteristics but they have at least one and usually more.
The first two on the list are the career women. They are workaholics (one a tad more reluctantly than the other) who are the best at what they do and they are scientists who can also kick some ass!
1) Dana Scully
Despite what the GIF says, Dana Scully is not flawless. For one she falls in love with the most exasperating man in North America possibly the world, who is most of the time too obsessed with aliens to notice how seriously awesome his partner is. Despite his cluelessness, she is, in fact, so so great. She has integrity and loyalty in spades. She is smart and independent and makes up her own mind about things using facts and her own prodigious brain. She is also grounded and loyal and while good ole Fox may be the charismatic one, he would be nothing without her cool rational mind. I also really admire women who are able to compartmentalize and have the strength to push through emotional pain. Also she's flipping gorgeous but you could never just dismiss her as a pretty face - she won't let you.
2) Samantha Carter
I not only want to be Sam Carter but I have a lot of affection for her. She's a gigantic nerd who gets so flipping excited about physics and anything remotely science related that she annoys everyone around her. She's also super tough though. Like Scully above she is a woman working in a world dominated by men so she must push harder, endure more and be that much smarter so that she is taken seriously. I am also a scientist and work in a field dominated by men that gets pretty heavily macho from time to time so I love Scully and Sam as role models in that arena. They don't get bitter or angry, they are just better than everyone else.
3) Buffy Summers
Joss Whedon has a talent for creating strong and incredibly compelling female characters. Buffy is a woman who has been given an immense responsibility and despite the fact that she longs to be a regular teenage girl, her compassionate heart and rock solid sense of right and wrong keeps her fighting. She sacrifices an immense amount and does it with a sense of humor and a ton of ferocity. I love how she's smart but not necessarily at the the whole school thing and she has a strong sense of who she is.
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4) The Women of Firefly
They are all awesome in their own special, shiny ways. Kaylee loves life and sees everything through the lens of her cheery and generous spirit. She's also really great at what she does, takes pride in her work and is completely comfortable with who she is and where she is in the world. River is a bit mad but she's held on to what she could of herself through sheer determination and strength. Zoe is calm and cool personified. She's brave, incredibly loyal and will kick your ass if you deserve it. Unfortunately the show didn't last long enough for us to figure out what darkness was in Inara's past but whatever it was she's come through it to be fiercely independent and self-contained. Yes, she's a futuristic Geisha but everything she does is on her terms and she uses what she has to make others feel valued and good about themselves.
5) Anne Shirley
Oh how I've wished to be Anne and not just because she's captured the heart of the dreamy Gilbert Blythe. Anne is another who lives life to the fullest every moment of every day. It frequently lands her into predicaments but she takes it all in stride and never backs down from a challenge. She is independent and smart and can charm the pants off of anyone. She excels at everything she does because she works hard and is driven.
5) Lucy Pevensie
Lucy is feisty and doesn't back down from the truth even when her older siblings doubt her and are really quite crappy about it. She also serves as the moral compass for her family - she is the most compassionate and caring and is strong in her convictions. And she's pretty jolly and friendly on top of it all.
7) Veronica Mars
When I first watched Veronica Mars I was WELL out of high school but that didn't stop me from looking up to her. She goes through a horrific tragedy and has her whole life turned upside down at the awkward age of 15 or 16 no less. She comes out the other side snarky as hell and cute as a bug. One of her greatest advantages is that people frequently underestimate her because of her aforementioned youth and cuteness while she proceeds to run circles around them. Veronica has every reason to be bitter but as is a popular catch phrase of the show - she's a marshmallow. She is incredibly compassionate but don't cross her or those she loves because she will take you down.
8) Lizzie Bennet
Austen has a number of good heroines but Elizabeth Bennet is arguably her most admirable. Not because she doesn't make any mistakes - she makes some pretty dismal judgment calls - but Lizzie is who she is. She's smart and funny and affectionate towards and defensive of her family even though they are seriously loco or you know, a little uncouth. She enjoys life and doesn't take it too seriously though when crisis does strike she is the voice of reason.
9) Scarlett O'Hara
So you may be thinking "Seriously? Scarlett O'Hara?" Scarlett is a spoiled brat, vain, self-centered, and her moral compass is way out of whack but she is one seriously strong lady. She's independent and calls the shots in her life during a time when women didn't really do that. When things got rough, like "middle of a war, we might starve" rough she was never beaten and did what needed to be done to survive. She most certainly embraced her life with gusto and was comfortable with who she was in all her crazy glory.
So that's my ode to the fantastic fictional women that have inspired me through the years. What fictional women have inspired you? How about real women?