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In this day in age, it’s crucial the media portrays strong women in their TV shows and movies, and NOT just in supporting roles to men. Having fierce female leads influences how young women growing up perceive both themselves and other women and influences their process in developing a strong sense of self. 

Thankfully, the media has become much better at representing strong women who are just as multifaceted as their male counterparts. When you think of “strong” in this context and your mind might jump to Wonder Woman or Daenerys from Game of Thrones. But ultimately, the strongest female character isn’t one who can yield a sword, it’s someone who shows courage in both quiet decisions and loud proclamations, who is intelligent and shows vulnerability. 

So which shows have really blown it out of the water? Here’s a list of 8 series that focus on fierce female leads from all walks of life. 

1.Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation 

Leslie Knope (played by Amy Poehler) is the perfect example of a woman who can be a political BOSS yet still the kindest and the bestest friend you could ever ask for. Knope’s willingness and drive to make the world a better place is truly inspiring – no task is impossible and she takes on every challenge with a smile. In a perfect world – every politician is just like Knope.

2. Annalise Keating, How To Get Away With Murder

Viola Davis plays the fierce hot-shot lawyer Annalise Keating who, while suffering from her own demons, still manages to regularly save her students lives and win impossible court cases. But that’s not even the best part – Keating shows her true bravery with her willingness to unveil her mask and show her vulnerability.

3. Jessica Jones, Marvel’s Jessica Jones

Jessica Jones isn’t your bog-standard classic Marvel superhero, she’s an alcoholic with a heavy past who continues to live in fear of her abuser. But that doesn’t stop her, Jones still believes in justice and fights to take down her ex Kilgrave not only for revenge but to stop him abusing and mind controlling other women with her powers. This real and vulnerable story shows Jones fighting to regain control over her life and redefine herself after her abusive relationship – a process that takes an unthinkable amount of strength and resilience.

4. Kimmy Schmidt, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

The message behind the whole Netflix original “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and overly sung in the theme song is “females are strong as hell!” An awesome message about female empowerment we love. Although the show starts with a dark premise, the comedy show turns into an uplifting story about the power of optimism and never giving up. Kimmy still sees the best in humanity even after her awful backstory of being held captive in an underground bunker. 

5. Eve Polastri, Killing Eve

Killing Eve follows Sandra Oh’s deeply flawed and complicated character – M15 agent, Eve. Killing Eve does really well in showcasing the complexity of female characters – the story follows Polastri in a constant cat-and-mouse hunt for assassin Villanelle. The two fierce and fascinating women have a complicated relationship that leads to an unhealthy obsession with explicit sexual tension. Eve is in constant questioning of what true independence means for her and determining what she really wants in life. These rich female characters are so multidimensional and complicated, you just can’t look away! 

6. C.J. Walker, Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker

Not only does the story of C.J. Walker showcase awesome female empowerment but it also demonstrates the importance of black women’s natural beauty. The series dives into Walker’s personal struggles into becoming the world’s first female self-made millionaire and explores the bigger issues black women face like colorism, racism, sexism, classism and more. The show demonstrates how kickass Walker was – she made black women feel beautiful and gave them a vocation that granted them status and independence. Against all the odds, Walker still succeeded and how can that not give you goosebumps! 

7. Jane Villanueva, Jane the Virgin

Jane Villanueva is the perfect example of a strong female lead – although she’s definitely not perfect she most definitely always tries to do the right thing, and tries to make it right when she messes up. Even though Jane isn’t short of choice with love interests she still focuses on her writing career and finishing her first book in addition to keeping her family at the top of her priorities. Jane the Virgin features three generations of strong beautiful latina women who support each other through everything and absolutely kick butt! 

8. Peggy Olson, Mad Men

What makes the story of Peggy Olson so incredible? She wasn’t meant to achieve any of her goals, No No. She was just meant to make it as the secretary to Don Draper and that would be the limit of her career. But Peggy proved everyone wrong with her secretary role being only the first step of her career. Olson would climb the ranks in the male-dominated industry with her pure skill and determination, even quitting Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce because her talents were not being recognised. If that doesn’t take strength I don’t know what does.