We all need exceptional female characters to look up to and use as role models from some to time. Maybe we already have them in the face of our mothers, sisters, friends, businesswomen etc. But how many female characters that have stayed in TV and film history have we looked at and thought “Yes, she is brilliant!” Probably many as well. Some characters are quite obvious in their exceptionality and some may appear as quite surprising to some, but here is our colourful list of 10 iconic female characters that you certainly need as role models!
1. Hermoine Granger
We can’t talk about female role models and not mention our favourite Hermoine! Throughout the books and films, she’s lived in people have been touched by who she is. Hermoine is intelligent, loyal, kind, sassy, brave and she knows what she wants and knows how to get it. Her ambitious and drive to be the best is what makes her such a successful student and has shaped her into the person she is. If she were to live in our modern world she would definitely be the child know-it-all turned successful CEO and we love this about her!
She is definitely the type of female role model we are glad we grew up with and would wish our daughters would be able to look up to!
2. Donna Sheridan of Mamma Mia
As far as we know, Donna was portrayed as a very imperfect person throughout both Mamma Mia and Mamma Mia 2, which is odd considering she is on this list. But thinking about it in-depth, Donna is such an empowering character that she has definitely left her mark in the history of inspirational female characters. She never settled for anything less than what she wanted and what she deserved, she was always humble but she was also confident. She is fun, smart and brave enough to try new things and grab the mic and be in the spotlight.
Donna is the type of person to fail but still know who she is and that not giving up is key to achieving happiness.
3. Phoebe Buffay
Probably the least talked about member of the female cast of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, Phoebe is actually a very important role model in what she embodies. Again she is somebody who knows what she wants, she never settled for anything other than what she deserves and she knows when to walk away from a situation that doesn’t serve her good.
She selflessly focuses her energy into helping others and that fulfils her. Phoebe is not afraid to be colourful and be herself, and even though her tough past she never fails to be the strong shoulder for her friends to cry on. Definitely somebody we should be taking notes from!
4. Cher Horowitz
This may come as a surprise to many, but Cher Horowitz is actually iconic in many ways beyond her fashion style and the confused face she makes each time somebody explains something to her she thought she knew. Yes, she may be, literally, clueless to many things but her role actually portrays the reality of being a teenager and the certain immaturities that come with that.
Again, we have an imperfect character, but one who is genuinely kind and altruistic, as she is always ready to help out somebody in need and she is always looking after her father, she knows how to argue her way into and out of situations that require the input of somebody who knows what they are doing, such as Cher. Those sort of traits are really ones that we should be incorporating into our lifestyles as well.
5. Elizabeth Bennet
Drifting away from pop culture movies for a second, in order to mention Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet from the classic Pride and Prejudice. She has been one of the most beloved characters in British classical literature because of her complexity and her delightful nature. Elizabeth is iconic in the ways that she doesn’t submit to male authority right away even though all of the circumstances in her life point her in that direction, she eventually succumbs of course to a man but it is out of love, which is her ultimate goal all along.
She is fierce in what she believes in, has a very independent spirit and a great idea of what is right and wrong, and has an inspiring character development!
6. Elle Woods
Of course, we can’t talk about iconic female characters and not mention our favourite Elle Woods that shaped movie history forever. The girl that succeeds in her goals despite everything that life throws at her, as cliche as possible, is the one we should all be looking at. Her journey shapes her into a better version of herself and she never fails to be the kind, smart, fun, positive and friendly person she is no matter what life throws at her, which actually helps her a lot in her profession.
The change she goes through makes her this inspiring character that all of us would be proud to be and she does it in manners that are relatable to many, through the ways that she is met by awkward situations and failures, like all of us. Elle Woods also does a lot for breaking down stereotypes of the “dumb blonde” that we see so much in media, too.
7. Rosa Diaz
Rosa Diaz is one of the best female role models in media today and the reasons for that are quite a few. She is a bi Latina in a position of authority who is given characteristics outside of her sexuality/femininity etc. She is incredibly smart, funny in her own way and always unapologetically herself. It is quite rare seeing characters of the sort in TV or film, so the existence of this character is absolutely brilliant, as she does so much for representation (and is also played by a hilarious and smart bi Latina woman).
Even though a cartoon character, Mulan is probably one of the very few princesses that actually can be considered as ‘badass’ female role models of their time. She is the type of female character to do anything to protect her loved ones, she stands up for what she believes in, she is resilient and she definitely doesn’t need a man to feel fulfilled in her life. Hell, Mulan is the female warrior who technically single-handedly saved China from the Huns.
Her personality traits inspire young children, especially young women, and it is that type of personality we need to see in media more. We all need to be like Mulan!
9. Beatrix Kiddo
Another female warrior figure who successfully manages to empower women of all ages is Tarantino’s character of Beatrix Kiddo from the famous Kill Bill. Tarantino himself is confident in the ways she is able to empower women and even young girls to fight for their beliefs, keep righteous and prideful, graceful in their rage.
Beatrix isn’t the typical ‘hysterical woman’ that we always notice in film. But despite all of this, she is fierce, intelligent, deadly and unpredictable, which are usually traits associated with men, which is what makes her so incredibly iconic.
10. Princess Leia
We can’t miss talking about empowering female figures without mentioning the importance of Princess Leia as a role model. She is incredibly smart and wise, rebellious even against her own father, she is brave and self-less, and unlike most princesses, she is not the damsel-in-distress, as she knows how to use her skills and brains to fight for herself and what she believes in.
The great leader, fighter, and smart person that Leia is, we cannot think of a better person to have as a role model in our lives.