Ladies are stealing the spotlight with major feature roles in all genres lately and we’re not talking damsels in distress. We’ve moved past solely running a household and are instead running the nation’s politics, crime-stopping super hero style and just simply running amok. Broad City’s success (which ranked our #1 show of 2015) proved that women characters are popular with men too, dispelling the myth that females aren’t funny. To celebrate Women’s History Month we’re paying homage to our top 10 leading ladies on the screen now.
Jessica Jones, Marvel’s Jessica Jones [Netflix]
Fighting crime half-naked is so last year. Welcome Jessica Jones, Hell’s Kitchen’s private investigator/protector extraordinaire. When a car accident that killed her parents left her with super-human strength, she started using her powers to help others. Now she holds her own against the city’s scummiest crooks of all shapes and sizes, even coming to the aid of her boo Luke Cage in bar fights. She’s traded in a cape for jeans and a leather jacket making her my fave super-hero costume to date.
Claire Underwood, House of Cards [Netflix]
Claire Underwood is shifting what women’s roles look like in both marriage and politics. She is not only stylish, beautiful, and childless – she is equally conniving, manipulative, and unapologetic. Her relationship with Frank alone defies societal norms. Not only do they have an open relationship romantically when necessary, they support each other’s careers by plotting murders, wars, and strategic political shakedowns. Talk about #relationshipgoals. As first lady she is not just sitting around picking China for the state dinners, that’s for sure. It becomes quickly apparent Frank is nothing without her help. I think I’d want to be her if she didn’t scare me so much. For now, I’ll settle on finding the white pantsuit she wore in season four and being her Facebook friend.
While Claire is running Washington from within the White House, Olivia Pope runs it from outside. As the fixer extraordinaire for hire she has the most powerful men and women at her mercy. She does it as a complicated, Black, single women to boot. The only male that might have SOME influence on her is her father, who basically has the CIA in his back pocket. Not even the President can pin her down. When he offered her marriage she chose her freedom instead proving she is not looking to be rescued by anyone.
When the President himself requests you to work for him, you know you are killing it. After leaving her high-level post at the CIA for ethical reasons, Elizabeth accepts the position Secretary of State where she uses her keen knowledge of the Middle East, her outside-the-box thinking and morals to navigate foreign policy at work, and her family at home. I love when good people win.
Dana Scully is the scientist/special-agent yin to Mulder’s yang. She brings common sense, forensics and science-backed data to Mulder’s incredulous theories while investigating X-Files. She reminds us women have way more to offer than their looks or fashion sense by being not only the voice of reason, but most times the smartest person in the room. Plus, I am pretty sure there wouldn’t be a Veronica Mars without her.
Ilana and Abbi, Broad City [Comedy Central]
While unlike many of the others on this list this duo is not navigating politics, navigating life in NYC \can be just as complex. Ilana and Abbi are BFFs — the mistresses of their domain, they have each other’s back against the struggles of NYC, whether it’s coming up with creative ideas to make quick money for tickets to a Lil Wayne show or getting Tinder dates to pay a cover for a house party to raise funds for an exterminator. The struggle is real, yo. This hilarious ensemble reminds us never to take life or ourselves too seriously.
Kimmy Schmidt, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt [Netflix]
Kimmy’s life began when she discovered the world was not indeed coming to an end and was rescued from her cult. Finding yourself alone in New York City can be super scary, but Kimmy has the chutzpah to stand on her and make a life for herself there and not return back to her hometown. That’s hash brown brave.
Mickey, Love [Netflix]
Mickey is a twenty-something radio producer living it up in Los Angeles, jumping from one toxic relationship to another when she meets nerdy Gus. She wears bathing suits as shirts, curses out convenience store cashiers, and battles addiction in her own unique, if half-hearted, way. Basically, she is a hot mess. But how wonderfully powerful it is to have a woman own her mess the way Mickey does. She is not putting on any airs; Gus knows exactly what he is dealing with and for that she gets an A for authenticity. She debunks the idea that women have to be totally together to be deserving of love.
Alicia Florrick, The Good Wife [CBS]
When Alicia’s husband Peter is arrested in a scandal and no longer serving as State Attorney, she is forced to step out of her domestic role and back into corporate America. She begins her career over as a litigator and balances not only work but the family and repercussions from Peter’s fall from grace, proving she is much more than just a good wife.
Who knew one of the most iconic, fearless feminist icons of my lifetime would come in the form of an eight-year-old cartoon? Lisa is like any other child who loves science, reading, and education. She is seen taking on books like Sax and the Single Girl and The Bell Jar in her leisure. And despite constant ridicule and challenges, she not only stays true to herself and her beliefs but has the gall to question beliefs of others. You see this in the “Lisa vs. Malibu” ep where she debunks women’s stereotypical roles via her talking Malibu Stacy doll who suggests they “go bake for the boys.” Lisa instead creates her own doll – Lisa Lionheart. I mean not that there is anything wrong with being a stay-at-home mom, but Lisa thinks women should have the choice and space to explore different ideas. Like the space she made in Malibu Stacy’s handmade apt where she can “print her weekly feminist newsletter” – if she should choose.