It’s true that the media and what we see on television can greatly affect our self-image and feeling of worthiness. Lucky for us, between Victoria’s Secret runway shows, we have some incredibly empowering women gracing our screens and acting as our role models.
1. Olivia Benson, Law & Order SVU
Starring in over 403 episodes of the famous franchise, Olivia is tough and takes no guff from anyone. She always cuts straight to the truth as she fights for justice of sexual assault victims and other downtrodden folks, reminding them they can overcome anything and are worthy of love.
2. Leslie Knope, Parks & Recreation
When this show came to an end, feminists all over the world wept. This gal has a love for democracy, female empowerment, equality, and Elizabeth Warren. She was the first female city council member in Pawnee, after all.
3. Lisa Simpson, The Simpsons
Lisa was the first female role model for many of us, coming to TVs around the world in 1989. She’s honest, fearless, and plays a mean sax. She calls out society for its vanity and expectations of women, and was the most futuristic feminist in the Simpsons, carving the way for us.
4. Dana Scully, The X-Files
Dana was all over this 1990s FBI show, and slew in alien hunting skills. She was also a medically trained doctor and one of the only women in a mostly male workforce. Even, so she was never intimidated by a man and called Fox or anyone else on their mansplaining when she needed to.
5. Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Buffy screams third-wave feminists in a unique way – by hunting demons and the patriarchy. This teen shows that being feminine definitely doesn’t mean being weak, being fashionable doesn’t mean she can’t kick butt, and she’s never defined by a man.
6. Tina Belcher, Bob’s Burger
Animated girls count too. Tina is unashamed of her sexuality and is body positive. This is a lady who isn’t afraid to make the first move – she teaches everyone to embrace their self-worth and uniqueness.
7. Olivia Pope, Scandal
A model for strong black women and a fulfiller of various other #goals. She breaks stereotypes and doesn’t let anyone disrespect her or boss her around. Instead, she shouts for women’s rights and handles haters with ease.
8. Topanga Lawrence, Boy Meets World
She may have married Corey young, but was a body-positive role model for teens if we ever saw one. This coming of age sitcom was about their relationship, but it was never the sole defining factor of Topanga. She was always an honest, a straightforward girl that spoke her mind, no matter what.
9. Mary Richards, The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Many may not know who Ms. Richards is, but she paved the way for feminists on the silver screen. In the 1970s it was very bold and taboo to be a single 30-year-old career woman working as a news producer. She even weighed in on the wage gap in a time when it was unthinkable.
10. Cristina Yang, Grey’s Anatomy
Cristina fought the stereotype that women need to be bubbly and sweet, instead fiercely looking out for her own interests, and of course, her “person’s”: Meredith. She speeds past her male “mentors” in her career movies, breaking boundaries as an Asian American female doctor.