Features

International Women’s Day: Our Favourite Influential Female Characters

Happy International Women’s Day to everyone!

Today we celebrate everything glorious about womanhood. From your mother and your best friend to the influencers and the ground-breakers. The kind, the generous, the loving, the ambitious, the fearless, the determined, the grand, the just, and the absolute glorious goddess we deal with day to day!

We urge everyone to celebrate a woman today and strive to make equality a GLOBAL thing in countries everywhere.

To bring to light how important women are, our writers have picked their most influential female characters in film and TV!

Clarice Starling
(Sarah Cook)

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Back when thrillers were often led by men and women were the damsels in distress, Silence of the Lambs made momentous waves. Based on a sterling character in Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter Trilogy, Jonathan Demme brought to the screen a fleshed out FBI trainee Clarice Starling who has to tackle the mind of everyone’s sinister cannibal. In an Academy Award winning performance, Jodie Foster encapsulates Starling’s world: A brilliant upcoming agent, she has to battle against everyday sexism whilst trying to catch a serial killer who brutally murders women across the country. Intelligent, strong-willed, and devoted to her work, Clarice was an inspiration in a man’s world and continues to be one of the greatest characters of all time.

 Leslie Knope
(Sarah Cook)

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If there ever was a character who captured the spirit of womanhood, then it was Leslie Knope. Played by the immutable Amy Poehler, this government employee who helps run the Parks and Recreation department in the titular show is a completely wonderful and earnest character that lead one of the best sitcoms of all time. Though her efforts are often intimidating, Knope is such a supporter of everyone and all of her female friends, going as far to invent a holiday in celebration (13th February – Galentine’s Day.) She blazes forward in crafting equality for all and showing that women can rule. Not only this but she is kind and loving, helping her friends in every aspect of their lives. You’d be lucky to have a Leslie Knope in your life.

General Leia Organa
(Robbie Jones)

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The end of 2016 was cripplingly heartbreaking as the world had to say goodbye to Carrie Fisher. There’s not a better day to remember her than International Women’s Day, and to remember the legacy she created on screen, the most iconic of course being the Princess turned General who fought for the galaxy. Her story started as a damsel in distress, and she quickly took charge and lead the Rebellion with the heart, strength, determination needed to win. She was strong, head smart, and beautiful; a leader in every sense of the word, even after losing her son to the Dark Side. The thought of a Star Wars film without her is stomach turning because to us, she’s royalty.

Buffy Summers
(Jennifer Drewett)

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“In every generation there is a chosen one. She alone will stand against the vampires the demons and the forces of darkness. She is the slayer.” Buffy Summers not only slayed the vampires and demons that threatened her town and her world, she slayed the hearts of millions around the world. Her ever increasing strength made us feel safe and her vulnerabilities reminded us she was as human as us. We could relate to her struggles growing up and feel inspired by her determination. She is the heroine we all need: a woman who reminds us that strength isn’t just a physical aspect.

Jackie Brown
(Jo Johnstone)

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Reservoir Dogs, the stylized and male heavy debut may have given the world director Quentin Tarantino, yet it was his third feature film that gave us one of the most empowered, feisty, and fearless female roles put to screen with Jackie Brown. To play such a woman Tarantino enlisted the great Pam Grier, known to audiences for her roles in Blaxploitation films and particularly Foxy Brown. Yet with this role Grier was able to use her full acting range, as well as her presence and charm. In her character, we get sass, empowerment, and a woman who refuses to be taken down by anyone. The film gave audience a new kind of female lead. As Grier’s director has once stated, you do not need to write woman as masculine characters, you write them as badasses. Because that’s a female quality.

Storm (Ororo Monroe)
(Jo Johnstone)

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Storm, or Ororo Munroe, is known to audiences for her role in the X-Men film franchise as well as the early 90’s cartoon. The character, a mutant who can control the weather as well as fly, uses her abilities to protect those in need. Despite audience’s familiarity of the character Storm is so much more than she has ever been portrayed on the big screen. Born in Africa and raised in America, she came about at a time when non-white characters were rarely ever given consideration. Yet Marvel created an all-powerful, beautiful, and fearless Black Goddess. Worshipped in her own land and easily the most powerful member of the X-Men team. Despite being portrayed by talented actresses (Halle Berry) she has not been given the scope and arc she truly deserves. Despite this, she remains a truly powerful and inspirational female superhero for women and men of all ages.

Annie Hall
(Larry Oliver)

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Until Annie Hall, actresses used to be dressed in movies. Diane Keaton changed all that, sporting her own trousers, hat, and waistcoat. The Annie Hall style briefly affected women’s fashion but Annie herself is more than that. Alvy Singer (Woody Allen) might have all the one liners, but Keaton’s Annie, loosely modelled on her own personality is the beating heart of the film. She is vivid and alive, insecure, tentative but ultimately transcendent. When she sings ‘Seems Like Old Times’, the film stops and, we, like the director, are magnetised. Keaton’s Annie sets the stage for actresses to introduce their own voices into roles, to stop being objects of desire and start being persons of wonder. Keaton inspired Allen to do his best work and her performance – and Annie Hall itself – stand the test of time.

Ellen Ripley
(Ren Zelen)

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As a girl raised by a father with a fondness for old sci-fi B-movies, I found Alien a revelation. As a kid, it came as a shock to see a female character, thanks to her mixture of ingenuity, practicality and luck – allowed to finish a movie as the sole survivor. I’d never seen that happen before – just as I’d never seen a face-hugger, a chest-burster or that outstanding Giger visualisation, the Xenomorphic alien (for which he won an Oscar).

It’s impossible now to approach Alien as a first-time viewer and feel anything resembling its original impact. Everyone knows too much about each of the iconic scenes of the movie, whether they like sci-fi or not. What was originally written as a role for a man was given to a woman, and it made an international star of Sigourney Weaver and of the Xenomorph she managed (against all cultural odds) to escape. She became a template for every kick-ass heroine we’ve seen since, and she was the first woman to lead a franchise, how many women still do that today?

Mrs Weasley
(Georgia Sanders)

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Where to start with Molly Weasley? She is the example we sometimes need that stay at home mothers are just as hardcore and bad ass as those in capes. Think about where we’d be without mums like her; strict when she needs to be but utterly devoted to those who rely on her most – and not to mention willing to take on the foundlings with nowhere else to go – and that includes readers/watchers. We have Molly Weasley.

And if that wasn’t enough (and in my opinion it is), she also joins the damn revolution – TWICE – because she knows that good must triumph. Molly Weasley is a mother, lover, fighter, and force for all things good. She’s our protector, and deserves a damn crown.

Miranda Bailey
(Georgia Sanders)

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Dr Miranda Bailey has overcome so much adversity without even batting an eye. Now you’ll have to excuse if I miss anything, I stopped watching Grey’s when the thing happened. Well actually I never watched the episode so in my mind it never did happen and he’s still alive. I digress.

Miranda Bailey. The Nazi. The teacher, confidant, advisor, friend, wife, mother, and life saver. I mean the woman digs around inside people and stops them dying, she’s a genuine bona-fide hero. But on top of that? She’s everything, to everyone. She’s the glue that keeps the other idiots together; she’s strong and incredible and honestly one of the best damn role models around.

Kaywinnet Lee Frye
(Graham Osborne)

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Kaylee may not be the strongest or the bravest of the women in the crew of Serenity, but she is most definitely the heart and soul of the ship. She is the one who keeps Serenity flying and does it all with a great big smile.

Throughout the show’s short run, Kaylee was often working in the grease and grime of the engine room, keeping Serenity aloft. Though she was often caked in dirt, there were still times where she was able to display her feminine side, such as the episode Shindig where she went to a fancy ball and got to wear a dress. Despite the more traditional feminine dress sense she displayed, she still enamoured fans with her shoptalk of various spaceship engines and their shortcomings.

Kaylee is by far one of the best characters in Firefly, she may not kick arse like Zoe or have a lot of contacts in high places like Inara, but she can fix a ship with spit and prayer and keep the rest of the crew’s spirits raised.

After all, like Cap’n Ryenolds said: I don’t believe there’s a power in the ‘verse can stop Kaylee from bein’ cheerful.”

What more could you want?


Happy International Women’s Day! 

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