Whether it be from your youth or time as an adult, everyone has at least one female protagonist who they cling to on their journey through life – it could be a character from a book, a film, or even a TV series! Some of these protagonists will remain relevant throughout our whole lives, simply because of what they taught us and continue to represent. On that note, here are 10 of the greatest female protagonists that every woman should aspire to!
1. Elizabeth Bennet – Pride and Prejudice
One of the oldest female protagonists which most girls come across at a young age is Elizabeth Bennet, the intelligent and witty principal character from Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’. Burdened by the pressure to find a husband, or if not lose all chances of fortune, Elizabeth maintains the view that marriage is not the only answer to happiness in life, proving to be very wise before her time (All The Single Ladies by Beyoncé springs to mind).
2. Charlotte – Lost In Translation
This female protagonist, played by Scarlett Johansson, is the definition of ‘the lost girl’ experiencing uncertainty in life – something which I think we all have been able to relate to at one point or another. Charlotte, in spite of finding herself in a seemingly nurturing relationship, struggles to connect with her surroundings, and finds solace in an older character, played by Bill Murray, with whom she finds a newfound lease for life, finally beginning her own self-discovery.
3. Laila – A Thousand Splendid Suns
Growing up in Afghanistan during one of its most brutal periods, Laila stands as unique in a time where women’s rights are abused and survival is of a daily concern. Laila is an educated and intelligent young girl who, contrary to the rest of society, has parents who encourage her to achieve her dreams.
4. Lady Bird – Lady Bird
This is the perfect female protagonist for anyone who is facing/has faced a difficult transition period during adolescence. The main focus of Lady Bird’s struggle is her seemingly impossible relationship with her mother, with the two having distinctively different definitions of ‘being the best version of yourself’.
5. Lisa Simpson – The Simpsons
This one is pretty self-explanatory, and I can say with ease that I relate more and more to Lisa as a female protagonist with each year gone by. The Buddhist vegetarian and voice of reason of the TV series has been setting an example for decades with her resilience and independence.
6. Liesel Meminger – The Book Thief
A young adolescent in Nazi-time Germany, this young female protagonist, Liesel, embarks on a new journey of self-discovery after being adopted, and begins her life as a book thief. Books are shown as a source of comfort for Liesel and those around her, going on to write her own story of grief during the Second World War.
7. Miranda Priestly – The Devil Wears Prada
Believed to be based on Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour, Miranda Priestly is a female protagonist who initially invokes fear but ultimately receives empathy when the reality of her personal life is revealed. Although threateningly powerful in the fashion industry, Miranda faces the same personal struggles as any other woman, involving her marriage, career and children.
8. Arya Stark– Game Of Thrones
Arya Stark is the epitome of independence and courage among inspiring female protagonists, refusing to fulfill any stereotype forced upon her as a female. She doesn’t let her gender or background stop her from fighting to avenge her family.
9. Eleven – Stranger Things
A modern-day and much darker take on Matilda, Eleven uses her psychokinetic and telepathic abilities to defeat the government experiment which robbed her of her childhood. Eleven finds friendship for the first time in her life along the way and even falls in love, using her superpowers for the good and to defeat evil.
10. Jackie Brown – Jackie Brown
Sassy? Check. Independent? Check. Bad ass? Absolutely. Jackie Brown has got to be one of the greatest female protagonists ever created by Quentin Tarantino, a character who finds herself involved in some dangerous illegal business outside of her career as a flight attendant – we most certainly wouldn’t mess with her!
Who are your favorite female protagonists? Let us know in the comments!
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A 22 year old foreign languages enthusiast from Glasgow. Lover of all things latino with a passion for travel, writing and photography.