Being a girl can be undeniably lonely sometimes. Sure, we’re strong, invincible and pretty much warriors. But I guarantee even Wonder Woman has had her bad days. If it weren’t for books and Netflix, those moments would feel far more isolating.
In honor of International Women’s Day, on March 8, 2019, here are 10 relatable female characters from books, TV shows and movies who bring out our inner strength. And let us unite over paper and popcorn.
1. Star Carter – “The Hate You Give”
For many teenage girls, their ultimate goal is to fit in. Star Carter isn’t any different. Fitting in is not easy when you don’t know exactly where you belong. She doesn’t exactly fit with the underprivileged mostly black community of Garden Heights, but she also feels different from her friends at her private school, Williamson Prep. When tragedy strikes, Star learns how to use her voice and, most importantly, stay true to herself.
2. Hermione Granger – “Harry Potter”
Hermione Granger does not feel the need to meet the standards and expectations that others set for her. She is not only top in her class and the youngest Minister of Magic, but she also does not let the unreciprocated attention from guys influence her actions or interfere with her ambitions.
Perhaps most extraordinarily, Hermione embraces her natural curls.
3. Lorelai and Rory Gilmore – “Gilmore Girls”
Rory and Lorelai are arguably the most influential mother-and-daughter on television. Quick-witted, mother Lorelai is spontaneous and ambitious and knows how to succeed despite adversity. At 16 years old, Lorelai left the care of her wealthy parents to raise baby Rory all on her own. Avid reader and writer Rory also knows what it means to have goals and dreams. Her bedroom walls are decorated with Harvard paraphernalia. Perhaps what makes Lorelai and Rory strongest is their rejection of the Cinderella story, proving they don’t need a man in their lives to have their own happily ever after.
4. Kate Pearson – “This is Us”
I could be biased, sharing a name with this female lead, but Kate Pearson’s strength stands out in nearly every episode of This is Us. While she too dealt with growing pains, Kate also dealt with a great amount of grief and suffered from societal limitations. The loss of her father caused Kate to combat binge eating and to lose faith in her singing talent. The moment when Kate got up on stage again, only to be rejected, was painfully realistic, and all the more inspiring when she is told that the reason she didn’t get the job had nothing to do with her weight, but simply her lack of experience. Watching Kate’s courage grow to change her lifestyle is a great reminder of how to never give up.
5. Renee Bennett – “I Feel Pretty”
Renee Bennett is not only strong because she attended a Soulcycle class, or because she survived the unfortunate humiliating incident of falling off of her bike. Rather it is how she comes to accept herself for whom she is that shows her greatest strength. We, as women, are constantly trying to change or “better” ourselves. Think about the advertisements directed towards females in society with the promise of tweaking or fixing our physical appearance. It is far easier to just buy the lotion than to look in the mirror and love what you see. And Renee Bennett does just that.
6. Eleanor Shellstrop – “The Good Place”
From the moment I started watching “The Good Place” I was enamored by Eleanor Shellstrop’s unapologetic nature. Once a “trash bag from Arizona,” and perhaps still somewhat self-centered at times, Eleanor’s confidence is a reminder of the good within all women, despite our flaws. Society can make it seem simple to make bad choices, especially with influences prevalent in media, but mistakes don’t define who we are. It is the right decisions we make today that matter most.
7. Willowdean Dickson – “Dumplin”
When you picture a pageant queen, a flowy pink dress and a tiara atop tightly coiled blonde hair might instantly come to mind. However, Willowdean ‘Dumplin’ Dickson proves that there isn’t one type of beauty. When “Dumplin” enters her mother’s pageant as a plus-sized contestant, along with two other alternative high school girls, she thinks she is rebelling against the system. However, what she comes to see is that strength truly is most beautiful. This book and recent Netflix-film is a good reminder of how society views women and how women can overcome stereotypes.
8. Aza Holmes – “Turtles All the Way Down”
Mental Health is a serious problem affecting many women. Aza Holme’s struggles with anxiety and OCD. When she could give up, she doesn’t. And she is able to not let her illness define who she is or what she can accomplish. Whether it be overcoming the fear of bacteria, in the school cafeteria or experiencing her first kiss, Aza’s story reminds girls that they are not alone and that they can stand up to, and overpower, the loud voice of anxiety in their minds.
9. Sophia Marlowe – “Girl Boss”
If you try to tell Sophia Marlowe what to do, she will not listen. The lead character of this Netflix show is based on the real life founder of Nasty Gal, Sophia Amoruso, who reminds us that sometimes in life you just cannot take no for an answer.
8. Brooke Davis-“One Tree Hill”
Brooke Davis is the girl that we’d all like to have as a best friend. Despite her classically pretty looks, Brooke Davis did not rely on attention from men to define whom she was as a woman. She worked hard to build her own fashion company promoting a healthy body image by using clothing models of a normal weight. Brooke Davis is a role model to young women, reminding them that they are enough, despite societal labels that say otherwise.
Kate Luongo is a contributor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.