This is a list of 10 various female characters on TV that I consider to be whole, complex, valued and feminist characters. Do keep in mind that this isn’t a top 10, but a list of 10 characters that I think particularly highly of.
1. KALA DANDEKAR: SENSE8
Let’s start of by admitting that everyone in Sense8 is absolutely splendid and everyone should have watched that show by now (if not, you are missing out!). Kala is a university-educated pharmacist and devout Hindu who has a large family, community, and flourishes in her country’s beauty and culture. Kala is an outspoken, intelligent and gentle woman who, although doubting some aspect of her life and her possible future, always seems to keep in mind the feelings of others. She demonstrates her ability to empathize with others on multiple occasions and offers a much less “western” view of India and it’s culture.
2. CHARLIE BRADBURY: SUPERNATURAL
I will admit that my undying crush on Felicia Day and red haired women most definitely gives me a bias here, but hear me out. Charlie is an orphan, a runaway, a MASSIVE geek and a lesbian woman who, although most certainly terrified for her life, always puts herself at risk for the sake of others, and the ones that she loves. Her loyalty to the Winchester brothers, her love and undeniable bond with Dean, her quirkiness, smartness and geek culture references are only parts of the many reasons why she is an amazing character and a great representation of geekdom and the geek culture.
3. VERONICA MARS: VERONICA MARS (focus on season 1 for lots of reasons)
Ahhh Veronica Mars, how I wish I’d known you earlier and kept you around longer.
Veronica Mars, daughter of a personal investigator, personal investigator herself, is your regular…anti-crime fighter, secret PE, rape survivor, nerdy and incredibly smart young woman who breaks not only all gender stereotypes and made me so incredibly proud to be a woman back when I first had the chance to watch this amazing show, but also fights for her friends when they experience things such as assault, sexual assault, bullying, racism and discrimination. With all of this, Veronica Mars had one (and most likely still is) of the absolute best on TV daughter father relationship that I’ve seen, it was based on respect, it was beautiful, it was inspiring, and I will never forget it.
4. ANNALISE KEATING: HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER
I came very late into the How to get away with murder boat, but when it came, it came with no regrets. I always experience a little bit of fear when I see strong black female characters on television, because often, the idea of what a strong black woman is falls into very narrow, stereotypical and insulting tropes such as; the angry black woman or the wise black woman whose sole purpose is to help out white people, but Annalise Keating was none of that. None. Annalise is the biggest shark in the ocean, she is a woman of color aware of her surroundings but who doesn’t let anybody bring her down, she is good and she knows she is good, and that is that. But the complexity and fragility of the character right along it’s incredible strength wasn’t only incredibly refreshing, it gives me hope for proper roles for women of color in the future to come.
5. NOMI MARKS: SENSE8
Once more with Sense8, I’m sorry, but it was inevitable. Nomi was a very special part of sense8 to me, a character I knew, from prior to even watching the show, I wanted to get to know. An online activist and expert hacker, Nomi is a very bright and passionate woman whose relationship with her girlfriend Amanita will make us all wish we could have a Nomi or an Amanita in our lives. Living out and proud as a trans woman, Nomi offers us a look into what it is like being a trans woman, from perspectives many of us will never have and situations we will never experience. It is touching, it is profound, it is honest and her vulnerability doesn’t take away one bit from the load of strength and courage we see her demonstrate.
6. MARTHA JONES: DOCTOR WHO
Most likely one of the most underrated Doctor Who Companion, Martha was a character that popped into the series at what seemed to be the worst of timings. Constantly assumed to be nothing more than a rebound for the 10th doctor, or a woman clinging at the doctor, hoping for a love that was unrequired, Martha was judged very rapidly by the public, but was none of these things. A medical student, Martha is a bright and caring young woman who deeply cares for her family, and longed for adventure and the uncovering of mysteries. Taken for granted by the doctor and often ignored, Martha constantly proved herself to be much more than who people assumed her to be, proving partly to the doctor, but largely to herself that, she indeed wasn’t only good enough, she was good. Incredibly courageous, she proved to be one of the companion to have gone to the deepest and farthest of lengths for the doctor, and the whole universe, with absolutely no gratitude expected. Martha, was the greatest.
7. JESSICA JONES: JESSICA JONES
Jessica Jones is the revolution I have been waiting for. There is so much to this character that I could go into, so much that I could praise, but we’ll focus on the basics. Jessica Jones is a woman trying to make it as a Private Investigator, an alcoholic and a rape survivor suffering from severe PTSD, Jessica Jones is a character with loads of problems, and that’s what makes her so very human. Although gifted with a type of superhuman strength and can (very badly) fly, Jessica Jones is a woman haunted by the bad that was done to her, constantly battling her past and her inner demons. Her relationship with Pasty, a type of female friendship I have rarely seen on TV, is something I wish everyone had in their lives, as they care and protect one another like any sisters would. She fights evil, not simply because it is the right thing to do, not as simply as because she wants to, but because sometimes, choices are more complex than that.
8. MICHONNE: THE WALKING DEAD
When Michonne first appeared in The Walking Dead, I was afraid that she would be either a stereotype, or some sort of black token character for the show to kill off like it does with all. of. it’s. black. characters. But no. Michonne is still kicking, and she is strong both physically and mentally. Her past is much darker than originally assumed on my part, we learned about her life prior to the zombie apocalypse, the people that she lost, the person she’s had to become, and the person she is afraid of becoming in order to survive in a world now so cruel because of both the dead and the living. She speaks her mind, she cares about others, and her opinions are always valued, often above all everyone else’s. She is one of the most beloved, and one of the smartest and most capable character of the show, and I hope that she remains both that way, and on the show for a long time.
9. XENA: XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS
Duh. I’m not sure what there is to say beside that any list listing amazing female characters on television would be shamelessly incomplete without Xena. Xena was a character that shaped an amazing number of young girls back when it first aired. She was a strong and skilled warrior, and grown woman with a dark past, opinionated and never intimidated, particularly by men, and always ready to help the weaker and the abused. Her relationship with Gabrielle shaped the show in a way that I’m sure not many had expected, giving us a kind of female friendship, and often, woman to woman romance I’d personally never seen on TV (and then came Buffy, and the O.C.). The bond was deep, intense, strong, and I’d say, often reserved for a much older audience as Xena often went deep into dark storylines and subjects. Xena is the greatest female warrior that ever was on television, and looked oh so good doing it.
10. BEVERLY KATZ: HANNIBAL
Beverly is a character I often think back upon, when I think of the lack of representation of Asian women in the media and entertainment. When I first saw Beverly, I wasn’t sure how I felt about her, I wasn’t sure if I liked her, and at times, I didn’t, but not for the reasons you might think. Beverly is a woman who speaks her mind, cautious and logical, she doubts people when she has reasons to and will express it, regardless of it being a main character, a male character, or a character you know is worth trusting, trust is gained, and hers is no different. In Hannibal, she was originally cold and distant towards Will Graham. When he gains her trust, Beverly proved herself to be a loyal and valuable friend, always caring for Will’s well being, and often putting herself at risk to help. Considering how rare it is for Asian women to receive roles such as this one (as expressed by Hettienne Park over here), what Berverly represents it huge, it incredibly mattered and still matters, and I can only hope that she leads as an exemple of the capability of Asian actresses in entertainment.
I hope you enjoyed this list, if you have any extra suggestions for my next list, please do let me know, especially characters of color. I deeply value the importance of recognizing the awesomeness of characters of colors, and not only white characters as many (MANY) lists seem to do, and I hope that this list makes this clear.
– Aurelie Nix #AurelieNix #Awomanontheinternet