Galentine’s Day: A Celebration of Female Characters

It’s Galentine’s Day! Sort of. It’s technically the 14th but I haven’t slept yet so I figure I can pretend it’s still the 13th for a while longer. In keeping with the spirit of this holiday, I wanted to celebrate a few awesome ladies on television.

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Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation)

As the creator of Galentine’s Day, I figure she probably deserves to be mentioned first. Leslie is my fictional hero. She is passionate, determined, and caring. She believes in working to make your community a better place, celebrating the women in your life, having big dreams, and that friends (and waffles) should always be higher priorities than work.

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Joan Watson (Elementary)

Besides Leslie, she is one of the few characters I know who could remain perfectly in character while calling out another character on the inherent misogyny in tracking a woman’s menstrual cycle as a way to deduce her likely mood. I really love Elementary’s take on Sherlock and Watson’s dynamic. She is his friend and cares about his well-being and sobriety but she won’t hesitate to tell him when he is out of line. She is a strong, smart, and compassionate woman and I am thrilled with her development so far.

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Diane Lockhart (The Good Wife)

The Good Wife has a lot of really well-written female characters in both its main cast and guest stars but Diane Lockhart has been one of my favorites since season one. Like Leslie, she believes in mentoring other women to help them achieve their full potential in a male-dominated profession. She’s good at her job but her loyalty to Will and the firm they built together makes her even stronger in my eyes.

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Allison Argent (Teen Wolf)

Allison is proof that you can be strong and still go to prom. She went a little astray but I have no doubt that she’ll find her way back in season 3.

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Red Riding Hood (Once Upon A Time)

There are so many amazing women to choose from on this show but Red has become my favorite. She has overcome so much in her past and its made her stronger. She’s a good leader and an even better friend to anyone who needs one.

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Skylar White (Breaking Bad)

Skylar is easily the most hated character on this list, which frustrates me. I will freely admit that she’s not the most likeable character, especially compared to some of the others on this list, but in my opinion, she’s doing the best she can. She’s the one protecting her family from the consequences of Walt’s actions while allowing her children to maintain their image of their father. She’s incredibly flawed but especially given some of Walt’s recent actions, I feel badly for her and want her to be able to move on and have a happy life.

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Gwen Pendragon (Merlin)

I will never understand any of the hate that Gwen got over the course of the show. When Merlin’s old village needed help, she didn’t hesitate to go with Merlin to help. She was a loyal friend and servant to Morgana before Morgana turned evil and believed in Arthur’s goodness and ability to lead his people and shared his love for Camelot as his queen. Admittedly, her character suffered a bit from some poor writing choices, but I’ve always seen her as strong and loyal friend.

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Kate Beckett (Castle)

Kate’s growth over the past five seasons is what makes me love her. I liked her as the confident cop who kicked ass at her job with a past that she kept hidden from most. I love the strength she’s shown as she has worked through some of her feelings about mother’s murder and allowed herself to be truly happy. I admire her for being willing to open up and share her emotions when it was previously so hard for her.

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Temperance Brennan (Bones)

I love the very matter-of-fact and rational way that Brennan approaches life. I love the socially inept side of her that we saw the most of in earlier seasons and I love how she’s been able to learn and grow from the people around her. She’s a scientist and researcher at heart and she always will approach the world in that way but she’s also opened herself up to friendship and love with people who see the world in very different ways than she does and I think she would agree that it’s made her a stronger person.

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Jane Espenson (television writer)

I don’t think I can talk about women in television without mentioning Jane Espenson. She has an extremely impressive resume (including much of the Whedonverse, Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, Gilmore Girls, and Once Upon a Time) but what strikes me the most is how well-loved she seems to be with everyone she has worked with in the past. She’s someone that people want to work with, which I can only imagine has as much do with her personality as her skills as a writer. So many of the actors who she’s worked with on the past have appeared on Husbands (the web series she created with Brad Bell) and seem so genuinely supportive of her and her success.

Besides these amazing ladies that are on currently airing television shows (or working on television shows), there are so many on shows that have now ended that deserve recognition. Characters like Kara Thrace, Laura Roslin, Six, and Athena (Battlestar Galactica), Gillian Foster (Lie to Me), Tami Taylor, Tyra Collette, and Jess Merriweather (Friday Night Lights), Adelle DeWitt (Dollhouse), Lorelai Gilmore (Gilmore Girls), Fred Burkle and Cordelia Chase (Angel), and so many more have given us examples of very different women who can inspire and teach us.

I really could talk about the awesome women on television forever, so let’s continue in the comments! Who are some of your favorites, both past and present?

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6 thoughts on “Galentine’s Day: A Celebration of Female Characters

  1. Caps lock time: I LOVE THIS POST SO MUCH.

    I love that your choices say so much about who you are as a person and what you value. And I agree with every single person on this list, and your thoughts about the women from the shows I don’t watch just make me want to watch those shows more.

    I don’t have many people to add…My favorite Once Upon a Time woman is Snow because she proves that you can be both a fighter and a lover, a warrior and a mother. I think I’d also add Jess from New Girl to my list because I think she’s so strong in her own way. She’s a little strange and silly and stereotypically “girly,” but she’s not going to change those things for anyone. I love that kind of courage of conviction and sense of self. She’s her own kind of strong, and I love that she knows it.

    As for women from shows that have ended, Sydney Bristow will always hold a huge spot in my heart. The women of Firefly, especially Zoe, are also women I admire.

      1. I just rewatched “Jess and Julia” last weekend and fell back in love with her speech about how wearing polka dots and working with kids doesn’t mean she’s not smart and strong. We talk about this all the time, but my favorite kind of “strong” female characters are ones who aren’t necessarily physically strong but instead are strong in their sense of self, and Jess definitely is that.

  2. I’d also add Elaine Barrish from Political Animals. She was the epitome of a strong, powerful, human woman grappling with the weight of male-dominated politics.

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