Today's female leads call for gender equality and recognition, evident in the way their characters carry themselves through their television worlds.
Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation)
Leslie Knope of Parks and Recreation (2009-2015) is one of the most hard working characters on television. Time and time again Leslie has put her heart into the good of Pawnee, Indiana. Played by Amy Poehler, Leslie's biggest passions in life are simply her friends and public service.
If you're ever feeling down, recite to yourself this Knope classic,
"I am a goddess. A glorious female warrior. Queen of all that I survey."
Mindy Lahiri (The Mindy Project)
The Mindy Project's (2012-2017) Mindy Lahiri is an outstanding OBGYN, owner of her own fertility clinic, and a mother all while juggling with the absurdities of life as a woman who yearns to be loved. Mindy, played by Mindy Kaling, sticks to her gut even if that means going against the masses.
As a woman, one of the most predominant moments of Mindy's that has stuck with me is when she chose to leave her husband Danny (Chris Messina) due to his view of working mothers being unable to care for their children.
In an interview with Lena Dunham in 2013, Kaling stated,
"I love women who don't ask, 'Is that OK?' after everything they say. I love when women are courageous in the face of unthinkable circumstances..."
Meredith Grey (Grey's Anatomy)
A true superhero takes the form of Meredith Grey, played by Ellen Pompeo. The brilliant surgeon of Grey's Anatomy (2005-) has dealt with more loss than any other character on television. Meredith stays true to her beliefs, regardless of the consequences, and will fight for her family, friends, and patients in the face of adversaries.
"Don't let fear keep you quiet. You have a voice. So use it. Speak up. Raise your hands. Shout your answers. Make yourself heard. Whatever it takes. Just find your voice and when you do, fill the damn silence."
Annalise Keating (How to Get Away With Murder)
Annalise Keating is a brilliant and powerful defense lawyer and criminal law professor. Annalise, played by Viola Davis, always has the upper hand, as she puts in the time and dedication to advance herself in all scenarios. Her passion is helping others, especially her students, despite the difficult life she may have.
When you're in the slumps and might text that one boy remember what Annalise said,
"My life is already messed up, I don't need a man to make it worse."
Miriam "Midge" Maisel (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) is beginning her comedy career in the 50's, a time when women were expected to "know their place" in the nuclear family. In The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017-), Midge is hilarious, charming, and sharp-witted proving to herself and spectators that a woman is as great as any man.
"Why do women have to pretend to be something that they're not? Why do we have to pretend to be stupid when we're not stupid? Why do we have to pretend to be helpless when we're not helpless? Why do we have to pretend to be sorry when we have nothing to be sorry about? Why do we have to pretend we're not hungry when we're hungry?"
Eve Polastri (Killing Eve)
Alright, if you're upset I didn't include Cristina Yang with Grey's Anatomy, it's only because I had to recognize the brilliant Sandra Oh for her role as Eve Polastri in Killing Eve (2018-). Eve is your typical UK intelligence agent who yearns for more in life before meeting the assassin Villanelle (Jodie Comer) who begin to play a little game with one another.
As an Asian-American female actress, Oh overcame a tremendous amount of obstacles to obtain critic recognition.
"I grew up never seeing myself on-screen, and it's really important to me to give people who look like me a chance to see themselves. I want to see myself as the hero of any story. I want to see myself save the world from the bomb."
Olivia Pope (Scandal)
Kerry Washington in her role as Olivia Pope became historic as the first Black female lead on a network television series since Get Christie Love! (1974-1975). Scandal (2012-2018) follows Pope as one of the most powerful women in in America, a political elite who finds her way around assassination plots, fraud elections, and so on.
Pope inspiringly exclaims,
"I am not the girl the guy gets at the end of the movie. I am not a fantasy. If you want me, earn me!"
June "Offred" Ousbourne (The Handmaid's Tale)
Played by Elisabeth Moss, June is a suppressed woman in a dystopian society where men rule entirely. Stripped of her freedom and identity, June must tactically plan her future actions, making waves of change for the women around her who are only thought of as procreators.
With countless barriers blocking her sight of a brighter future, June still manages to promise herself,
"I will not be that girl in the box."
Regina King (Watchmen)
While talking to Topher (Dylan Schombing), Angela expresses her beliefs on the equality of not only the imaginary world of these characters, but today's society as well.
"we don't do lollipops and rainbows, because we know those are pretty colors that just hide what the world really is. Black and white."
Thank you to these women and their actresses who prove over and over that women are beautiful, powerful, and strong in any situation they are put into and inspiring audiences everywhere to stick up for themselves in the face of inequality and discrimination.
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