We all have our favorite characters that we can rely on whenever we feel particularly downtrodden or when we are in need of motivation to go out and accomplish our goals. These characters can come in different genre forms, ages, genders and races, but the common denominator is that they leave us feeling more empowered than before. Here are 12 female characters that we should admire for their strength, courage and overall epic personalities.
1. Vivian Banks (Janet Hubert) – “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”
Starting off the list, Banks redefines what it means to be a mother and role model in the hit 90’s series. Before the character was recast, she displayed the characteristics of a great role model – she held her children and husband to a standard that she believed they could and should achieve, she was well informed about her socio-political climate and took action, and she stressed the importance of education not for the sake of memorization, but for a better understanding of where one comes from. Unfortunately, once the character was recast, the character’s role on the show was diminished until she no longer went toe-to-toe on important issues, but simply settled as a side, maternal figure.
2. Debbie Novotny – “Queer As Folk”
“Article 14 of the Supermom handbook says, ‘No kicking assholes when they’re down.’ They’d take away my halo.” Novotny may not be your stereotypical heroine, but through Sharon Gless’ portrayal, she brings to life the devoted Italian mother or grandmother that many of us grew up around. Whether she’s taking her son Michael’s friends in like they’re her own children, caring for her ill brother, Vic or showcasing her array of LGBTQ T-shirts, Novotny knows how to cut people down to size with her words or the occasional slap upside the head, and do it while serving them lunch.