Today is International Women’s Day. We here at Geek Girl Authority incessantly celebrate the fierce female warriors who inspire us, but today we kick our celebrations into overdrive. I grew up devouring science fiction and fantasy TV series – more specifically, idolizing the groundbreaking women shattering glass ceilings in said series. These women provided a template for me to adhere to in my own life. They taught me to break the rules, to march to the beat of my own drum, and to embrace my identity wholeheartedly. Oh, and sometimes you gotta kick a little demon arse along the way.
Below, I’ve compiled a list of 10 inspiring female characters. In reality, my list is endless, but for the sake of time I’ve narrowed it down to 10 ferociously formidable females. Peruse away, folks!
Behold – one of the godmothers of strong women in genre TV! Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar) of Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a tough cross to bear as the Chosen One. A Slayer tasked with slaughtering baddies that traipsed around the Hellmouth. Buffy is complex and multifaceted. She’s an imperfect heroine, which, at the time, was seldom showcased on TV. Not to mention, she’s selfless. Remember the Season Five finale when she sacrificed herself to save the world? In addition, we witnessed her waver in her resolve from time to time, but her strength lay in rising above her insecurities. Courage isn’t the absence of fear – it’s forging ahead despite the fear. Buffy is a true testament to possessing courage in the face of fear.
Doctor Who‘s Clara Oswald (Jenna Coleman) is a companion who receives equal parts praise and condemnation. She happens to be my favorite companion. On the flip side, some people think she’s bossy and arrogant. That’s a common misconception in regard to women who are confident and know exactly what they want. Women who are born leaders. Clara is a born leader, and an unfiltered one at that. She isn’t afraid to tell the Doctor what he needs to hear. To knock him down a few pegs when it’s required. Being a Time Lord doesn’t make you infallible, after all. Not to mention, in “Face the Raven,” Clara boldly embraced her inevitable death head on. She reminded herself to be brave in spite of her fear. Clara Oswald is downright inspiring.
Of course, no one wants to face a “crazy chick with a gun.” Wynonna Earp (Melanie Scrofano), of Wynonna Earp, was saddled with the Earp curse when she turned 27 years old. She patrolled the Ghost River Triangle sending Revenant demons back to Hell, like Buffy, but with a magical gun. All while sporting the most fabulous head of hair ever sported by a genre TV heroine. Wynonna may utilize her dry wit as a defense mechanism, but I like to think of it as viewing life with a “glass half full” mentality. Not to mention, her loyalty to her loved ones is unmatched. Wynonna is well aware of her fallacies, and that makes her all the more relatable.
Captain Kara “Starbuck” Thrace (Katee Sackhoff) of Battlestar Galactica came across as insubordinate and unruly to her superiors, but I thought she was simply brave enough to call out the status quo. Kara is the very definition of courage under fire. Not to mention, she was a female ranking officer surrounded by men. Men that she bested, by the by. I can’t imagine having to incessantly prove yourself amid a surge of testosterone, but Kara did it and then some. In addition, she aided the fleet’s search for Earth, and ultimately saved them from impending destruction. Kara is unafraid to do the right thing, even if it’s unpopular. That’s someone I can rally behind.
Margo Hanson (Summer Bishil) of The Magicians is, hands down, one of my favorite heroines in recent years. Initially, her tenure on the fantasy series was that of a stereotypical “mean girl,” but Bishil took Margo to new heights. Margo is armed with ample sass and a quick wit. She puts people in their place, especially when they’re out of order. In addition, Margo was High King of a magical realm. She saved a race from extinction and ensured they had a seat at her Council table. Margo also embarked on a mentally and physically demanding quest and emerged victorious. She’s a powerful woman in every sense of the word, but she recognizes her imperfections. Margo is constantly evolving, and we as humans should never stop growing. She’s proof positive of that.
Roberta “Bobbie” Draper (Frankie Adams) of The Expanse is a fierce Martian soldier armed with loyalty and unsurpassed bravery. If I’m ever locked in an intergalactic battle, I’d want Bobbie on my side. Of course, her loyalty was tested quite a bit on The Expanse, and she often spoke out against wrongdoings even when Mars was the culprit. Thus proving that our favorite Martian warrior has a sharp mind of her own. Despite that, she would still lay down her life for her people, which is beyond admirable. Her physical prowess is also not to be trifled with. If I ever encountered her in a dark alley, I’d run the other way.
Anne Bonny (Clara Paget) of Black Sails is more than just a period piece character – she existed in real life. However, I’m going to discuss her in the context of the aforementioned TV show. Anne sailed the seven seas as a woman, which in the 18th century was unheard of. Not to mention, she didn’t conceal her identity. Anne was tough as nails and rarely spoke except to speak her mind. She swore like the men, drank like the men and wasn’t afraid to fight like one. Her skills in combat were unparalleled. In addition, Anne explored her sexuality, albeit reticently at first. She lived that bisexual life when sexuality beyond the hetero variety was frowned upon. Anne was unapologetic, brash and undoubtedly herself. I applaud that.
Holy motherforking shirtballs! Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) of The Good Place may have started out as a human with questionable morals. However, over time, our favorite Arizonan trash can strengthened her moral core. She evolved as a person. The Good Place‘s mantra can be summed up in one sentence – people are capable of positive change. Eleanor is a shining example of that. Eleanor isn’t afraid to admit her faults and learn from them, which is something we could all stand to do. Not to mention, her self-deprecating humor and sharp-as-a-whip mind make her all the more inspirational.
Alright, so I have two ladies from The Expanse on this list. I really should just group them together, since every single female on the show is inspiration personified. However, time is of the essence. Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo) started out as Undersecretary at the United Nations and was promoted to Secretary General of Earth. Yes, she governed an entire planet.
Now, ruling Earth was no cake walk. Avasarala had to make unpopular choices and do what she thought was best for the planet. Her time in politics helped hone her bullsh*t detecting skills. She’s unabashedly bold and never shies away from telling it like it is. Not to mention, she’s willing to bend the rules a bit if lives are on the line. Avasarala may come across as detached and cold, but she’s chock full of love and loyalty for her fellow Earthers. In addition, she knows how to accept full accountability for her actions when in the wrong. That’s a crucial skill to have.
Now, if you’re a kid who grew up in the mid ’90s like me, Sailor Moon was your jam. My sister and I used to pretend we were sailor scouts. We had the dolls and we had the straight-to-home-video tapes. Essentially, we wanted to live in that world – saving the planet from supernatural baddies with our sick outfits and powerful abilities.
Later, as an adult in her 30s, I still view Usagi Tsukino as an inspiration. You try being a 13-year-old girl burdened with the destiny of being an alien princess who channels the moon to vanquish her enemies! When I was 13, I just wanted my school crush to ask me out to the dance and to pass my exams. Usagi’s “crybaby” behavior is perfectly rational as far as I’m concerned. She’s overwhelmed, which is natural for anyone under that much pressure at such a young age. Eventually, over the course of the show, she evolves and learns to have courage in the face of fear.
Well, that’s all I wrote! Which female characters inspire you? Sound off in the comments below!
This was originally posted International Women’s Day 3/8/20