Who says all our role models have to be real? Books, movies, and TV shows are portraying some pretty BAMF ladies these days. So we decided to expand upon our original list of badasses and look at some of the best fictional female role models that, through their unique philosophies, are helping us stay on track.
Samantha Jones: “Sex & the City”
OK, so who wouldn’t have seen this one coming? But for good reason! Samantha Jones is the epitome of a strong, successful, and independent woman. She seems to have taken over the entire city of New York, while also sleeping with the majority of its male population. And though that may seem promiscuous, what I admire about her the most is that by the end of the night, the only person she truly wants to be with is no one else but herself, regardless of what society thinks. She’s one of the few characters in the media who truly emits the importance of our own relationships with ourselves, and she will not let anyone else who walks into her life tell her otherwise!
Amy Pond: “Doctor Who”
Nothing and no one could stop Amy Pond—not the Doctor, not alien invasions, and not even time itself. Despite being prickly and difficult, (apparently her fiance didn’t even know she loved him until he died [for the first time]) when push came to shove Amy always gave up absolutely everything for her loved ones. She’s a fighter and takes no shit from anyone—not the Doctor, and not her Roman Centurion husband. Even if she showed her love by telling her boys to shut up more often than not, she was still their most ferocious and loyal ally. Plus, she’s a redhead. Enough said.
Hermione Granger: “Harry Potter”
Cliché? Maybe. But we can’t get enough of this bushy haired Muggle-born know-it-all. The thing that’s so great about Hermione is she’s your average girl next door who also happens to be the brightest witch of her age. Hermione is brilliant, level headed, and the only reason Harry and Ron ever survived “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” She taught us the importance of loyalty and bravery, to stand up for what you believe in and that it’s OK to spend entire afternoons in the library.
Tami Taylor: “Friday Night Lights”
She’s one of those characters that you watch and admire how she handles each situation with grace and wit. She stands up for what she believes in, even if it means possibly losing her job. She works her way up in her career and after being a devoted wife for years, makes the case as to why the MAN of the house should follow her so she can pursue her career dreams. You can’t help but to fall in love with this woman, and aspire to be a lot like her. She has the compassion that we should all strive to have, and definitely knows how to put a man (when he’s wrong) in his place, while perfectly poised the entire time.
Lisbeth Salander: “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” Series
Not only is she whip-smart and resourceful, Lisbeth Salander doesn’t let anyone take her for granted. Sure, she may be a little rough around the edges, but Lisbeth is a survivalist and will fight to the bitter end. Like a computer, she has a photographic memory that time and time again proves to be invaluable.
Irene Adler: “Sherlock Holmes”
Here’s the thing: The original Irene Adler didn’t start out as Sherlock Holmes’ love interest. She was just an incredibly resourceful and intelligent woman in the original story “A Scandal in Bohemia,” and it’s only derivative Holmes works that have cast her in the role as the famous detective’s paramour. Therefore, I think Irene deserves to stand on her own, and get her own attention. Sir Doyle did not intend for her to be understood only within the bounds of how Holmes viewed her. She’s witty, crafty, and intelligent, and Doyle wrote she had “the face of the most beautiful of women and the mind of the most resolute of men.” In modern reincarnations (think Robert Downey Jr. or Benedict Cumberbatch), she’s always seemingly one step ahead of the famous detective, always keeping him on his toes, and I like that.
Elizabeth Bennett – “Pride and Prejudice”
Maybe this is because I grew up with my mom telling me that I was just like Elizabeth—and NOT in a good way—but I’ve always had a certain fondness for Jane Austen’s most well-known female heroine. She’s strong, determined, knows what she wants and grows as a person throughout the book. She’s a good friend, loyal, sensible and a kind person as well, and although she has her faults, that’s what makes her human and relatable.
Leslie Knope: “Parks and Recreation”
So I may be like her for all of the wrong reasons, but I could not care less. Leslie and I share a love for waffles, friends, and work; in that order. She’s strong and determined and truly cares for the people in her life. She does her best to make everyone in her life happy and even though people may be unreasonably awful to her sometimes, she is always optimistic. Plus, she knows the power of lady friendship, knows the most appealing man in the universe is Joe Biden, and knows how amazing Hillary Clinton is. Now, I could only find myself a “Game of Thrones”-loving calzone-eater to sit with in front of the wildflower mural.
Lyra Silvertongue: “His Dark Materials Trilogy”
Set in a world so different and yet so alike to ours, Lyra faces the same issues that most young women do—albeit on a cosmic scale. Lyra finds herself caught between the all-powerful forces of a powerful religious authority on one side, and deeply atheist scientists on the other (sound familiar anyone?), but she is always true to her values, even when that means she has to forge her own way. Growing up alongside Lyra, I looked to her as an example of a young woman who had the courage to stand up for what she thought was right, no matter the consequences. Even when she had to make the ultimate betrayal (the scene where she leaves Pan by the waterside always brings tears to my eyes), she always acted in a way that would help the lives of those around her. Deeply passionate and breathtakingly courageous, she is a character who started the long and tortuous journey from childhood to womanhood at the same time as many millennial women. I know that if I ever have a daughter, Lyra is the character who embodies the traits of the kind of woman I would want her to aspire to.