(contains spoilers for each show)
Allison Argent- Teen Wolf
Allison began as the male protagonist’s love interest and yet, from there, grew, blossomed and took over the series. When her life was thrown, overnight, into the chaos of that of a werewolf’s, instead of running away or jumping headlong into the new world she took a step back, learned and observed. By season 3 she was the strongest, most intelligent, and most capable character in the show.
One of her best moments is when confronted with the ultimatum of choosing between her werewolf boyfriend and her werewolf-hunting family, she chose herself. She left her boyfriend and learnt how to fight and defend herself. She studied and observed the supernatural and she became the most knowledgeable character on the show. She didn’t fight on one side against the other- she just continued to do what she felt was right, leading her family and saving her friends- never looking for thanks or recognition.
Props must definitely be given to Crystal Reed for the way her vulnerabilities show through in small gestures inculding one memorable scene when she momentarily breaks down in the elevator with Stiles’s dad. But she takes a deep breath and pulls herself together (something I feel like we’ve all done before in bathroom stalls and shadowed corners). Alison’s genius lies in her ability to be mature but vulnerable and knowing when to be serious and when to be playful.
Rae Earl– My Mad Fat Diary
In 2012 our screens were graced with one of the most realistic teenage characters I’d ever seen and week after week I watched my teenage years be played back to me in the form of Rae Earl. Fresh out of a psychiatric clinic for self-harm, it showed the realistic struggle of returning to society after weeks of focusing on nothing but your own thoughts, emotions and health. She had trouble making friends-she had fights with her mother- she hates the way she looks- she is filled with self loathing- she has an eating disorder- and the brilliance of this show is that none of it is sugar coated. Its real, its raw and its relatable. One of my favourite parts about this character is when she finally gets the hot boyfriend (in a completely believable way) due to her self esteem issues, she can’t get naked in front of him. I can never believe how easily most characters with low self esteem can get undressed in front of people they have a crush on. But Rae feels what a lot of us with low self esteem feel when we finally have a chance to sleep with a mega hot babe- which is something not too short from terror. And it takes her the whole second season and a lot of inner growth to get to the point of undressing.
Throughout the show we watch as she constantly makes bad decisions- we shout at the screen even though we know we’d probably do the same thing if we were in that situation. There’s no stigma behind her character- she is written with love and adoration and respect and she is played by Sharon Rooney with all of her heart, and it makes us think that no matter how much we screw up, maybe we are worth loving too.
Lois– Malcolm In The Middle
Lois is by far one of the strongest mothers that have appeared on tv. She has an eccentric irrational husband and four bratty boys which would unhinge even the most level headed woman. But she learns how to deal with them and comes up with her own personal ways for punishment and rewarding. All of her actions go towards doing what’s best for her family even when her family don’t realise it at the time. Although she yells a lot, she sticks up for every single one of her kids no matter what they have done. When her husband leaves his job on a whim instead of getting mad she lets him take his time finding a new one by taking on a second job and she learns to scrape by on what little money they do have. After four kids and about 20 years her marriage is still solid as is her sex life and her affections for her husband. Lois is believable as an every day woman and in reality, considering what she has to put up with, she is only half as unhinged as she should be
Joan Watson- Elementary
Joan Watson doesn’t take shit from anybody- if someone’s disrespects her, she calls them out on it. She is very much in control of her own life. She learns quickly from Sherlock and lets him guide her without giving him control of her life or her actions (unlike a lot of versions of Watson), and anytime he tries she is clear and direct about why it’s inappropriate. Her character is not a secondary character to Sherlock’s, but is a character who exists for herself. The show exists as much for her as it does for Sherlock and she is played by Lucy Lui with immense grace and intelligence.
Buffy Summers- Buffy The Vampire Slayer
There is no denying that Joss Whedon is one of the best male writers at writing female characters. He never forces stereotypes on them, he never dumbs them down, and he doesn’t write their lives revolving around men. They live for themselves. There is a plethora of stunning Whedon ladies I could talk about but the first and the best will always be Buffy Summers. Buffy The Vampire Slayer was written as a metaphor for high school struggles and as the seasons went on it developed into a very real dark look on adult life. This allowed Buffy’s character infinite possibilities and everything that people go through- Buffy went through. Early on in the show there was divorce, love, heartbreak, popularity and lack thereof, misunderstanding by her elders, and her life being forced on her. She got the boyfriend that turned mean, the loneliness of new surroundings in college, and being completely stuck in where she wants her life to go. Then came the death of her mother, her best friend struggling with addiction, and an abusive relationship. But above all Buffy always tended to feel alone. Throughout all these true-to-life hardships she never let the world beat her down or change her. She begins as a blonde, sarcastic, strong, feminine, clothes-loving, leader who can fight like a boss and she remains that way right up to the end. Buffy taught us that we didn’t have to be ‘one of the boys’ in order to be strong and that it’s perfectly doable to kick unspeakable evils ass in high heels and a prom dress.
Words by Lissa