The Most Well-Written Female Characters In Film And TV
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

As a girl who tended to watch shows geared towards boys (and therefore had very few female characters), I always paid special attention to the female characters.

The male characters always did amazing things. Ash from Pokemon did some stupid but brave things in order to protect others. Superman saved Metropolis on a daily basis. The Doctors from Doctor Who saved entire universes!

I wanted to see a female character have her moment in the sun, too. She didn’t even need to save the world. Just do something amazing in the name of protecting someone or be the most capable person in the room.

Luckily, there are some extremely well-written female characters in TV shows and movies. They are intelligent, tough, and general badasses. Kate Beckett from Castle comes to mind. The most recent Doctor was a woman too!

Reddit was ready to identify more of these female characters.


It all started when Redditor Connie_Lingus6969 asked:

“Who is a well written strong female character in a movie or TV show?”

Ohana Means Family

"Nani from Lilo & Stitch. A (semi) realistic portrayal of an orphaned 19 year older sister, trying make ends meet and provide the best life she can for her younger sister and herself. Trying to balance her social/romantic, work and personal life and being forced to grow up and take responsibility fighting CPS to keep her only family left, together…all the while facing alien shenanigans that occurs."

"“broken but still good. Yeah still good” 🥹 -Stitch"

– Daedalus_Blade

"Awesome that a Disney movie finally showed a woman succeeding without becoming a princess."

– Key-Mulberry2456

I Believe In Her!

"Dana Scully in the X files"

– martybarty

"And increased real-world uptake in STEM among women - The Scully Effect"

– slippyfeet

"Surprised that this isn’t higher. Scully was THE strong female character of the 90s. Intelligent, educated, confident, and well-spoken. Held her own in male-dominated fields (law enforcement and medicine). Able to get herself and Mulder out of scrapes time and again. And all while wearing heels and sharp suits."

– SurpriseBackpack

Distinctly Female, Completely Awesome

"Clarise Starling from Silence of the Lambs."

– Samsassatron

"What makes her such a good character is that despite being highly intelligent and competent she's desperately scared and vulnerable and mostly alone. The scene where she encounters Buffalo Bill and he's trying to bluff her, and the camera pans back and you see his revolver on top of the cooker behind him you just think "Oh no, how's she going to survive this?" Great character and a great performance from Jodie Foster."

– Johhnymaddog316

"Second this. She isn't "female version of male character", she is distinctly feminine and has to deal with the real world problems of being a woman in a male-dominated field, and all of it is handled in a realistic, grounded way."

– Notmiefault

"No Big!"

"Kim Possible, because she has so many different layers! Yes she saves the world with her best friend on the regular but she doesn’t use that as an excuse to complain about girly things or flat out say that they’re stupid like most “strong female characters” you see. She’s really into cheerleading and incorporates it into what she does, she dates Ron despite every other girl telling her that she’s stupid for liking him and doesn’t care what they think for the most part. She also has believable flaws and has to admit that she’s wrong a number of times, maybe I just really like Kim Possible."

– French-toast-bird

"I came here to say this! What I loved about Kim is that she was the popular, successful girl, but she was extremely down to earth and normal. She didn’t follow the typical trope of the “strong woman who hates other women”, and she actually loved her parents and siblings."

– ANervousFreck

Look No Further

"Olivia from Fringe."

– HatTruck

"Such truthful words has rarely been spoken."

– when_will_you_learn_

"Aa a guy, I was absolutely mesmerized by Olivia growing up. Such a strong woman who went through so much but never gave up, and always came out stronger on the other side."

– aspirationalsoul

They Can Always Be Both

"Suki in ATLA"

– WARMASTER5000

""I AM a warrior. I'm a girl, too." Love Suki!"

– lettersfromowls

""You're my prisoner now""

"What a badass""

– Envy_The_King

No Need To Be A Man

"Mulan"

– Adventurous_Yak_9234

"The fighter in her"

– Training-Ferret

"Hell yes"

– calm--cool

"I'm The Slayer"

"Buffy"

– Grizzled222

"The scooby gang faces a large collection of vampires"

"Angel: We need you to distract the vampires."

"Buffy: Right."

"Xander: What are you gonna do?"

"Buffy: I'm gonna kill them all. That oughta distract them."

– _bones__

"Was my first thought. Slayer at 16. Had to kill the love of her life. Always saved the world. Put everyone's needs above her own always."

– kmc0123

Guilty Of Being Amazing

"Elle Woods from Legally blonde. Being a strong woman does not mean giving up femininity"

– kittykatsnacks101

"Absolutely."

"Yes her priorities were misled at the start, but Realising she needed to prioritise herself over any relationship is the main reason she’s a strong woman. Strong women aren’t faultless, and a character that grows is way more inspirational to women and girls in my opinion"

– barrenvagoina

"Yes! This was my favorite movie growing up and it shaped me into who I am today - an engineer that still embraces her femininity"

– laurenalivia

"Seat Belts, Everyone!"

"Ms. Frizzle"

– sphawkhs

"Especially when you take a look at what she gets away with."

  1. "Taking students on field trips without permission slips countless times"
  2. "Taking students into deep space in an unfit craft, 3 counts."
  3. "Shrinking students countess times."
  4. "Feeding students to another student."
  5. "Exposing students to dangerous environments, including"
    1. "the inside of a running engine"
    2. "the late cretaceous period"
    3. "the magma chamber of a volcano"

"I want her lawyer."

– TomoyoHoshijiro

100% agree! I always wanted to be in Ms. Frizzle’s class!