Strong female characters are dominating the entertainment industry and we love it! Not only are these characters rich and complicated but we love following their stories as they grow-up, take risks and kick butt.
To celebrate Women’s Month, we’ve rounded up five of our favourite strong female characters on TV, in movies and in literature.
1. Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation
Played by: Amy Phoeler
Why we love her: Leslie Knope is probably one of the most memorable characters of all time. Leslie is an extremely well-written, positive and inspiring character. She strives to be in control of what she does, and no matter how many times she gets knocked down, she never lets anything hold her back. Her energetic and optimistic personality is refreshing and her sense of self is admirable. She’s also hilarious and extremely cringeworthy which makes her even more lovable.
Best line: “We have to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, and work. Or waffles, friends, work. But work has to come third.”
2. Offred, The Handmaid’s Tale
Played by: Elisabeth Moss
Why we love her: Offred is the main character of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. Her refusal to give up even in the face of adversity is inspirational. While she is forced to endure the new regime that strips her of her identity and turns her into an object, she holds on to her individuality through subtle deviances. She is an intelligent and perceptive women who tries to reclaim her own destiny and her small acts should not be underestimated. Her weaknesses make her real and relatable. Her cowardice, which she admits to herself, holds her back and feeds into her self-loathing. This internal war makes her a very realistic character and although she isn’t brave, she reflects a different type of strong woman; showing us that small victories can be big, depending on one’s circumstances.
Best line: “To want is to have a weakness. It’s this weakness, whatever it is, that entices me. It’s a like a small crack in a wall, before now impenetrable.”
3. Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice
Played by: Keira Knightley
Why we love her: Elizabeth Bennet is a timeless character who was very modern for her time. She is clever, witty, well-read and intelligent which makes her appealing. She has a strong and independent spirit and her determination to marry for love and not for a comfortable life, gives her a sense of agency. What makes her relatable is that, despite her sensibility, she is a romantic at heart. She is a strong female character because despite her fierce loyalty to her family, she holds firm to her principles and eventually marries the man she has come to love.
Best line: “There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at the attempt to intimidate me.”
4. Morticia Addams, The Addams Family
Played by: Anjelica Huston
Why we love her: The Addams Family is a cult classic and a staple in popular culture. Morticia is a strong female character and a protective mother. Her character can be quite stereotypical, in that she only takes action when her family is threatened in some way. But putting the welfare of her family before anything else, is what makes her strong. Her cool and collected, and sometimes a little bit creepy personality makes her very intriguing and her confidence is what we all strive for.
Best line: “I’m just like any modern woman trying to have it all. Loving husband, a family. It’s just… I wish I had more time to seek out the dark forces and join their hellish crusade.”
5. Annalise Keating, How to Get Away With Murder
Played By: Viola Davis
Why we love her: Annalise Keating is the boss-woman we love to see on television. She is successful and manipulative, and unmistakably flawed. She is complicated, sexually empowered and flawed but also extremely successful, intelligent and confident. She is a sexy, legal powerhouse who will do anything to win. She stands up for herself and those close to her. She is the kind of commanding woman you want to emulate. She is successful, self-respecting and self-assured. Her vulnerability is what makes her strong, and although she is an ambitious woman, she is flawed and this makes her so relatable.
Best line: “I am who I am. If you don’t like it, I don’t care.”
What I think this article shows is that women don’t have to be kicking a** to be considered “strong”. A strong female character has depth and recognisable characteristics that help us relate to them in a realistic way.