Today is International Women’s Day. Which feels particularly important this year, in light of things currently happening in the country.
I’ve spent the morning thinking about what I can do to honor this day, or make some kind of statement. I also haven’t blogged in awhile, due to vacation/life/laziness. As a woman who considers herself pretty independent, strong-willed, and persistent, it felt like I should do something. But what?
Well, in light of the pop-culture-loving side of me (is there actually another side to me? Something to investigate at a later date…), I thought maybe I could celebrate by honoring some of the bad ass females I’ve admired in the pop culture sphere. I know, I know — there are lots of bad ass women that are not fictional, and I admire and respect them immensely too. But I think the female characters we read about and watch on TV also hold distinct power and influence. So, I’m going to focus on them today.
Hermione Granger – Harry Potter
Yeah, yeah, Harry’s great and all, but Hermione — she’s an intelligent, brave, and bad ass female if there ever was one. It is no secret that I’m solidly in the middle of a Harry Potter re-read right now, and having been away from the books so long it is blowing me away anew how amazing Hermione really is. She stands up to Ron and Harry, puts them in their places, and also pushes them to be better. Yes, she’s incredibly smart, but she’s also very, very brave, and willing to take the necessary risks to do things that make a difference.
Sydney Bristow – Alias
Sydney Bristow had a HUGE impact on me when Alias came out.She was so strong, could kick some serious ass, and was also super sexy. It seemed like she could do it all, and even though she had this super-secret spy life, she also really tried to put her friends (who were also like her family) first. I really just wanted to be her (and still kind of do).
As a girl, I freaking LOVED Pippi. I loved her red hair, her sass, and her free spirit. It didn’t matter that other people thought she was weird or crazy — she had those awesome pig tails that defied gravity! She mopped floors with sponges strapped to her feet! She was more adventurous than I could ever imagine being, and I admired that so, so much.
Helen Graham – The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
I think Anne Bronte is my favorite Bronte. As much as I loved Jane Eyre, it was Heather Graham from Tenant of Wildfell hall that I really admired. I will fully acknowledge that adding Graham to this list may be viewed as pretentious, but I don’t care. I loved her, whether you know her or not.
Viewed as an eccentric recluse when she shows up at Wildfell hall with her young son, Graham is a woman well before her time. She’s a single mother in the Victorian era with a secretive past that slowly unfolds itself. Rather than accepting her fate married to an alcoholic husband, she seeks a better, safer life for herself and her son, whatever public mockery or speculation that brings. She is the epitome of a strong woman who gets shit done, and I love her for that.
Mess with Veronica Mars, and beware her caustic sarcasm and wit. Another perfect example of a woman I would like to be, Veronica is another woman who knows how to get shit done. She’s worked both sides of the popularity line, and by the time we meet her, she doesn’t care if she’s popular – she cares about truth, justice, and putting people in their place when they deserve it. She’s hilarious, she’s sly, and she judges people by what she knows of them, not what the world thinks of them. She turns bad situations into more reasons to empower herself, and is able to maintain a level of vulnerability while still getting the job done.
Daenerys Targaryen – Game of Thrones
She’s the mother of f****ing dragons for crying out loud! Daenerys’s transformation throughout the course of this series, and even just in the first season alone, is really remarkable. She starts out seeming weak, her life driven by the whims and desires of the men around her, most notably her brother who marries her off to a brute. And yet, she finds love in that brute before losing him. She takes these experiences and truly uses them to kick ass. She wants justice for those who are treated poorly, and is the leader Westeros needs, if not the one it deserves. And she is the mother of DRAGONS!!! You don’t mess with a bad ass bitch like that….
- Leslie Knope, Parks and Rec
- Juno Temple, Juno
- Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre
- Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter
- Ginny Weasley, Harry Potter (okay, so the Harry Potter re-read is having a significant effect on my life right now. I acknowledge it).
- Lorelai Gilmore, Gilmore Girls
- Blue Sargent, Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater
In closing, I want to give a shout out to the many amazing women I know in real life who are kicking ass daily — running shit at work, raising families, following their dreams, and hundreds of other things.
We are strong, we are brave, we are persistent. We are here. And we aren’t going anywhere.