My love for all things entertainment started at a young age. I mean it was pretty unavoidable growing up on the cusp of the millennium with parents who read (and bought) me books, and took me to movies and watched lots and lots of TV. It was a wonderful, simpler time.
And, inevitably, I gravitated toward characters who were like me or who were like who I wanted to be. Mainly women who were pretty and smart and who, frankly, kick ass in all things pertaining to life in general.
I thought, for Friday, I’d just have some fun reveling in the amazingness of some badass women who inspire me every day to be better and do better in all things.
1. Leslie Knope — Parks and Recreation
I think we all need an amazing, loving, incredibly driven kick-ass Leslie Knope in our lives. This woman can seriously do anything. Not only does she overcome adversity, sexism and people consistently telling her “she can’t do it,” but she also takes problems and reworks them into something positive. There are so many episodes where things look rather bleak for Leslie, but she always figures out a compromise and comes out on top.
Not only this, but she is dedicated to her work in making her town a better place for everyone. She is an incredible, loyal friend who will stand up and fight for the people she loves until the end. And she invented Galentine’s Day!
Leslie embodies everything I aspire to be in my life: independent, driven, hardworking, caring, loyal and an all around badass.
2. Phoebe Buffay — Friends
Phoebe Buffay is pretty much the dominating reason why I keep coming back to Friends (because ALL of the episodes are on Netflix.) She is the funny, quirky, sarcastic voice of reason that really helps hold the group together.
The most important thing Phoebe teaches us is to be ourselves and not worry about what other people think of that. She loves what she loves, she’s open to everything in all aspects of her life, she knows how to do so many things and she’s perfect with advice. Phoebe always gave me the courage to pursue my passions and learn more about everything because I wanted to. If I wanted to learn guitar, I gave it a try. If I wanted to learn more about Wicca, I did. Now more than ever, she has an impact on me. I’m wearing what I want, doing what I want, getting tattoos, voicing opinions and just generally showing myself and accepting myself.
If you need some inspiration, just watch the video of Phoebe running in the park. 😉
3. Phryne Fisher — Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
If you haven’t heard of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, go look it up right now. Phryne Fisher is an Australian socialite-flapper who helps the police solve murders. Phryne, who has suffered almost insurmountable tragedy in her youth, is well-traveled, sophisticated and chic. She’s been all around the world during a time when women were so focused on finding a husband and settling down.
She’s also a rebel in that she is sexually free and is open about her relations and her birth control. She also knows how to defend herself with both her pistol and her fists. She’s extremely clever, usually she’s the one cracking the case with the assistance of Detective Inspector Jack Robinson. But while running around being a badass detective, she’s also taking care of Jane, an orphan girl, and helping with her schooling to give her a better life.
Through all of the episodes, we see Phryne living her life unapologetically and we can see her influence rub off on Dot, her housekeeper and companion who began as an extremely sheltered conservative-Catholic. Slowly, we see her become more and more independent as she stands up for herself and what she wants.
4. Claudia Donovan — Warehouse 13
First of all, if you haven’t seen Warehouse 13 yet, you need to find a way and watch it now. This show originally aired on the Syfy Channel and was on Netflix for a time. It is one of my absolute favorite TV shows. And much of that is due to my favorite character, Claudia Donovan (although I do love all of the characters.)
Claudia is a punk-rocking, smart-mouthed, tech-genius badass. Donovan joins the Warehouse team after somewhat forcefully asking for help rescuing her brother from the clutches of an artifact. She eventually becomes a Warehouse apprentice, helping to solve artifact cases through her unique tech ways that seem to be completely foreign to the archaic nature of the Warehouse.
I love Claudia, not only because she has the best sense of humor, but also because she has a unique way of doing things and solving problems. She inspires me to think out of the box constantly. She’s strong and loyal and fights the odds to the end for the ones she loves. Throughout the show, we see Claudia grow and come into her own as she continually learns more about the Warehouse and it’s role in the world. I think I connected with her more especially because the first time I watched the series I was doing the same in college — learning and trying to figure out who I was and what I’m good at and where I might belong.
5. Jessica Day — New Girl
I really loved the first few seasons of New Girl, mostly because Jess was amazingly quirky the entire time. I love Jess’s sense of humor and how she pokes fun at herself while still staying true to her personality and interests. Like, she’s proud that her checks have baby farm animals on them, bitch.
She does not let herself get pushed around and stepped on, although I’m sure it could be assumed that she does. She holds her own among the guys and will not stand for sexism based on anything from her looks to her period. And, like Phoebe, she’s proud of herself. She has so much confidence and I wish I could be that confident. And, like Leslie, she is always there for her friends in whatever way they may need them.
I think I relate to her so much because we have so much in common. In fact, my boyfriend and I have joked that we are basically the same as Jess and Nick.
I always keep Jess in the back of my mind to remind me to pursue any and all of my interests, to be proud and confident in myself, and to not be ashamed by my quirky awkwardness.
*I’ve decided to make the Badass Women articles a weekly column. So expect these every Saturday, and feel free to submit names of women who are badasses and deserve to be featured!
Who are your female TV icons? How do they inspire you? Why is it important we have these strong female representations in popular media? Let’s talk.