Last Friday was International Women’s Day! And, in less serious and significant news, Fandom March Madness is underway, where people bicker, and post gifs, and get really intense in support of their favorite characters. And miracle of miracles, 59 of the 64 nominated characters are women.
So, in celebration of both, here is a list of some of the most fabulous and feminist female characters currently on TV. It’s far from exhaustive (God knows I don’t watch everything worth watching, and if I listed every character I loved, we’d be here forever!), but I hope it gives at least a taste of some of the wonderful characters around right now.
Sansa Stark (from Game of Thrones)
She’s not exactly one of the most popular characters in the series, and I’ve written extensively about the problems with “Sansa hate.” Yet she is, I think, a really important, refreshing take on a young-teen fantasy character, because she’s all the things that a likeable female character is not supposed to be. She’s feminine and naive, buying into all the stories she’s been told. She’s a bit of a romantic and a dreamer, and can sometimes be a bit selfish. And then people begin to try and destroy everything she loves and everything good about her. Except that she’s not destroyed. She becomes a total badass, in a very calm, collected, subtle sort of way. She learns how to survive, how to say the expected lines and give the needed smiles while plotting her own escape underneath. She learns how to use her courtesies to protect herself and to save others, when no-one else is willing to do a thing to help. And despite all the horrible things that happen to her, she remains who she always was underneath — a sweet, kind, if somewhat naively optimistic young woman who is still willing to care for others and determined to make it through this alive.