Changing the Narrative | Girls on TV

I’ve been watching TV since I can remember, and it has always been an escape for me. I probably even learned more about life and social constructs through watching TV than I did in school. And the characters I grew up watching, they’re my role models.

I’ve always been so attached to stories with strong female characters and, I could really say that, the portrayal of women has progressed immensely. Women are now dominating the small screen and no longer are they the damsels in distress—which I often saw when I was younger. Now, they portray strong women; women who don’t need no man to save her because she’s capable of doing it herself; women who strive and excel.

These are the characters that showed me I’m a woman and I can be my own hero.

BLAIR WALDORF

   LEIGHTON MEESTER on Gossip Girl
LEIGHTON MEESTER on Gossip Girl

IN MY HEAD, I LIVED IN NEW YORK THROUGH GOSSIP GIRL. High school wasn’t a good time for me and GG was my escape as I live vicariously through Blaire Waldorf (and that’s probably not healthy).

I admired everything about Blaire—from her headbands, designer outfits, snarky and dramatic personality, down to her scheming mind! You can’t mess with Blaire Waldorf because she’s forever the queen of Upper East Side. I didn’t like her at first though, because she can be a bit of a bully, but her redeeming factor? She rose from social downcast and escaped the damsel-in-distress mentality, proving to herself and others that she’s strong enough to reach what she wants. In the end, I loved that she got the guy and the success she wanted.

EMILY THORNE

   EMILY VANCAMP on ABC's Revenge   via wetpaint.com
EMILY VANCAMP on ABC’s Revenge via wetpaint.com

There’s nothing I love more than a good revenge story and a strong character. I guess that’s why I was so drawn to the character of Emily Thorne from ABC’s Revenge. Emily is goal-oriented and isn’t easily swayed. She’s a complicated, pained character and I guess I wanted to know that she’ll succeed in her mission to bring justice to what happened to her family. Despite her flaws, she’s intelligent, strategic, and she doesn’t let anything get in her way but she’s also compassionate and even though she doesn’t admit it, most of the time, she listens to what her heart tells her and does what is right, which I admire about her.

JACQUELIN CARLYLE

   MELORA HARDIN as the empowering mentor in Freeform's The Bold Type
MELORA HARDIN as the empowering mentor in Freeform’s The Bold Type

2017 is a good year for female characters on TV. Issues that were taboo before are now being shown and explained, and although it is slow, it’s still a step towards progress. Jacquelin Carlyle from Freeform’s The Bold Type made the list because she is a character I respect. We all need a Jacquelin Carlyle in our lives. Most shows and movies have male mentors for their main characters, and I’m glad that they’ve written a female character in this show.

If you watch the series, you’d know she’s a strong character but nothing in-depth is revealed about her but, in the finale, they showed how strong she really is. And no matter what the struggle it is you’ve encountered, you’ll get back up.

DAENERYS TARGARYEN

   EMILIA CLARKE on Game of Thrones
EMILIA CLARKE on Game of Thrones

Need I say more? I cry everytime she frees slaves, I cry everytime she wins. And I will cry when she gets to the Iron Throne (I haven’t seen season 7 yet so no spoilers!). She showed everyone that even though she’s young and a woman—which is a disadvantage in a world dominated by men—she can defeat them. I admire her and am inspired by her because she seeks what is just and admits when she needs help. She is wise, strong, and has a compassionate and just heart. I admire Arya and Cersei too, because they’re equally badass, but not as much as I do Daenerys.

LYDIA MARTIN

   HOLLAND RODEN as the fierce banshee on MTV's Teen Wolf
HOLLAND RODEN as the fierce banshee on MTV’s Teen Wolf

MTV’s Teen Wolf is a magical world of hot guys, which is just a bonus to the equally strong, badass female characters. Lydia Martin is the best of them all—and not just because I ship her with Stiles (Dylan O’Brien). I loved her character progression throughout the seasons. From a popular redhead pretending to be dumb for guys to like her, she progressed into a fearless, smart, independent heroine fans love.

Her storyline is something I think every girl should watch because her character embodies the message that you don’t have to be less of yourself to be loved, and that no matter how confusing life gets, you’re always strong enough within to get past it.

HALEY JAMES-SCOTT

   BETHANY JOY LENZ on CW's One Tree Hill
BETHANY JOY LENZ on CW’s One Tree Hill

It’s no secret that I am obsessed with One Tree Hill and Naley, so she makes the list. Her character shows that you don’t need to be an EIC of a huge women’s magazine, a socialite in New York or a Mother of Dragons to be a badass. Haley is a badass since season 1 of OTH. She uses her mind and her heart in every decision she makes, she’s compassionate, she embodies the message of reaching for your dreams, all the while being a great mom and wife. When I get a family of my own, I aspire to be like her character—someone her husband can rely on and her kids look up to.

BETTY AND VERONICA

   LILI REINHART and CAMILA MENDES as the B&V duo on CW's Riverdale
LILI REINHART and CAMILA MENDES as the B&V duo on CW’s Riverdale

If you haven’t watched Riverdale yet, where have you been living? I love this version of B&V! They’re my latest female character fave. In the comics, they always fight because of a guy who can’t make up his mind. In this series, they are friends empowering each other; no bad blood, no scheming behind backs, no cat fights. It’s 2017 and women pitting against each other is not acceptable anymore. They’re equally witty and strong, fearless and kind-hearted; they both have qualities that empower girls who watch.

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