I went to see Iron Man 3 over the weekend and although I enjoyed it, a thought struck me. Where are all the female superheroes? I mean yes, there has been some improvement in this regard. Last year’s Avengers film featured a bad-ass Black Widow played by Scarlett Johansson, but they are still in a significant minority. This then got me thinking, as a self proclaimed feminist and TV addict, about who are and have been my most inspiring female role models on Television? So here is a list of my own personal and most inspiring role models who happen to be women. Please bear in mind, this is a not a definitive and exhaustive list and I would love hear from readers about their own individual role models.
1. Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
As a child, this was my favourite programme and one of the main reasons for this was that I got see a girl beating up bad guys and saving the world. Buffy is full of great female role models and pretty much anything created by Joss Whedon has a strong female character. Buffy is funny, witty but also has real human flaws that make her relatable. For example, she always falls in love with the wrong guys, mainly vampires. This programme inspired me because it showed me that girls can be the heroes in the stories, not just the victims or damsels in distress needing to be rescued.
2. Dr. Temperance Brennan (Bones)
Temperance Brennan is intelligent, successful and solves crimes for a living. She’s kind of amazing. She also breaks the standard female stereotype of women being considered the more emotional gender. She is highly rational and logical and this helps her to solve murders. Brennan is particularly inspiring to me as she is an example of a woman at the highest level of expertise in her field and I don’t think we see enough of this on Television.
3. Captain Kathryn Janeway (Star Trek: Voyager)
I’ll admit it; I am a bit of Trekkie. So I chose Captain Janeway because she is the only female Captain lead in the different incarnations of Star Trek. She is a great example of a woman with authority and power and I think she is inspiring because she is a commander who leads effectively and her gender is irrelevant to her leadership.
4. Daenerys Targaryen (Game of Thrones)
Daenerys is another example of a female leader, in the case a Queen. I feel that she is especially noteworthy because she is a Queen in what is essentially a man’s world. She is used and controlled by a variety of men including her brother and her husband but takes control of her life and eventually acquires an army to take back her birthright from the men who stole it from her.
5. Peggy Olson (Mad Men)
Peggy Olson is another character fighting to thrive in a man’s world, in the case the American workplace of the 1960’s. She starts off as secretary but moves up the career ladder using her talent and significant amount of determination. She is also interesting because she subverts the gender expectations of the time; for example, when she finds out she’s having a baby she puts her career before a family. Peggy inspires me because she holds her own in an industry filled with men and refuses to take a back seat just because she’s a woman.
So, there’s my list. Is there any character that anyone would like to add and make a case for?