When we as women get bogged down in the realities of this world (which, let’s face it, isn’t skewed in our favor) it can be helpful to look to fictional versions of ourselves for guidance, inspiration, or just flat-out sympathy. When we come into contact with complex, three-dimensional female characters who actually ring true with our own lived experiences, it’s pretty much a damn miracle. Here, we celebrate those relatable women who seem almost eerily like our alternate universe twins.
1. Jessica Day, “New Girl”
Jess is the girl-next-door that everyone loves. She is funny, smart, cute, and kind. She also goes after what she wants, stands up for herself, and isn’t afraid to own who she is. She constantly gets into very real, very awkward situations that are viscerally relatable; everything that happens to her has either happened to you or probably will happen to you at some point in your adult life. She struggles through the strangeness of dating today, faces challenges in her workplace, and remains fiercely loyal to her equally likable friends.
2. Bridget Jones, “Bridget Jones’s Diary”
The opening credits of Bridget Jones’s Diary could not be more perfect. Bridget, drunk on wine, singing “All by Myself” by Celine Dion is priceless. We’ve definitely all been there! At the beginning of the story, Bridget starts a diary and makes of list of New Year’s resolutions. Her goals to lose weight and find a sensible boyfriend sound very familiar. The hilarious and awkward events that follow only make us feel immense empathy. Her word vomit and fashion faux pas make her one of the most relatable fictional characters. Like most people, Bridget is incapable of keeping her resolutions. Despite not losing weight, Bridget is able to end the year on a happy note. It wouldn’t be a great rom-com without a happy ending.
3. Brooke Davis, “One Tree Hill”
I might not have to worry about a clothing company or being literally the most beautiful girl, but Brooke Davis (Sophia Bush) is still one of my favorite characters. Despite all her advantages she struggles to feel like she’s worthy. She has a hard time accepting love not just from boys, but from family and friends. It’s a good reminder that both good and bad things will happen—how you respond to them will make you who you are.
4. Bianca Piper, “The DUFF”
She’s snarky and sarcastic and doesn’t give one crap about what other people think about her. Her clothes are meant to be comfortable not the contraption you have to wire yourself into. Her best friends are her life, and by the end she’s learned to love herself. What more could you want?
5. Veronica Mars, “Veronica Mars”
The sassiest of the sassy, Veronica Mars has the witty comebacks we all wish would come immediately instead of 10 minutes later. Her banter with her father—awful dad jokes included—is heartwarming and genuine. And since she’s a detective, she’s smart, logical, and evidence-based, so you’ll never find yourself saying, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING,” as may be the case with certain other female stars *cough*CarrieBradshaw*cough*.
6. Lizzie Bennet, “Pride and Prejudice”
Embarrassing family? Check. Confusing love life? Check. Short on cash and fielding questions about when you’re getting married? Check, check. Lizzie’s story may have taken place in the 19th century, but she is relatable as hell.
7. Molly Weasley, “Harry Potter”
Perhaps we’re not mothers of brood of children yet, but ask your mother and she’ll tell you Mrs. Weasley is the quintessential relatable mother. She’s frustrated, ferocious, fretful, and full of piss and vinegar and she single-handedly held together not only her family, but the Boy Who Lived, and the Order of the Phoenix. Her entire family was at risk, she lost a son, and still she persevered, not perfectly, not as a paragon of unattainable motherhood, but as best she could. That’s why if you ask any mother who her Harry Potter hero is, it will always be Molly “Not my daughter, bitch” Weasley.
8. Rory Gilmore, “Gilmore Girls”
While we could all hope to be as brilliant as Rory, every book nerd can relate to her one true love: a thick book. Never without a purse big enough to stash a book, Rory is the first to relish the smell of an old musty tome, get annoyed when someone interrupts her, and see everything as an opportunity for a book break—whether it’s public transportation, a bench, or family dinner.
9. Cassandra Mortmain, “I Capture the Castle”
Through her ever-present journal, Cassandra writes every moment of the day she feels so keenly, the awkward should-have-beens, the incandescent moments when time stands still because the light glints off the fields casting a golden glow that makes the world feel surreal, and all the in between moments we so casually let slide forth from our memories that we wish so desperately we had captured. As a young woman living in genteel but abject poverty, straddled with an impossible and useless family, with seemingly no opportunities ahead of her but more of the same, she dedicates herself to her writing craft and staying true to herself. We writers at LD are inspired by her dedication.
10. Torina, “The Seer And The Sword”
Victoria Hanley’s “The Seer And The Sword” is perhaps one of the most well-loved books to reside on our shelves. Perhaps because, not only did we relate to Torina, but also because we sorely wanted to be as brave and clever as her. She could wield a sword with more art and cleverness than any man, and she fought almost to the death to rescue the love of her life. Despite this book being intended for teenagers, we read it every year and are reminded to fight for what we believe in, and love fiercely and without reservations.
Arguably one of the best shows of the 2000s, “Lizzie McGuire” accurately portrayed the struggles of being a girl in junior high. From the bra buying episode, to the imaginary animated conscience, to the bullies and boys, we were all Lizzie McGuire. She went through experiences we all went through and got to be mistaken as a pop star in Rome.
12. Willow Rosenberg, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”
While Willow came into her own HBIC powers as she grew older, she spent most of the series as the quintessential geeky sidekick who didn’t know how to dress to fit in, found dating to be a source of massive anxiety, and had to be the glue that held her friend group together. She’s the one that had to keep things going in the background when Buffy was being a martyr and Xander an idiot and yet she was always going a bit quietly mad in her own life. Willow wasn’t allowed to be a complete falling apart mess but she also never had all her ducks in a row. She just kept juggling, sometimes failing, sometimes fixing everything and trying to figure it out on the fly.
13. Carrie Bradshaw, “Sex and the City”
She is relatable through her irrationality. If we could, we would buy Vogue over dinner. We would pay for pairs of Manolo Blahniks over paying our apartment rent if we knew we could still survive. And hey, at the end of the day, don’t we all just want to fall in love while wearing the perfect pair of shoes? She may be a bit much, but when it comes down to it, she just wants to find love and happiness in the city that never sleeps, and share that love and happiness with her girlfriends. Who wouldn’t want that?
What female characters do you most relate to? Tweet us @litdarling and let us know!