How Female TV Heroines Taught Me To Be Okay With Myself

Everyone keeps going on and on about how cool it is to see strong female leads on television nowadays. But what I’m more excited about is that these women aren’t just strong, they’re flawed! They’re weird, idiosyncratic, three-dimensional human beings who are capable of demanding respect from others during the day and going home to sing to their night cheese at night. Maybe we can have it all. Here are some ways in which female TV heroines taught me to be okay with my oddball self.

Liz Lemon from 30 Rock

When we first met Liz, she openly admitted that her love life consisted of a once-a-year gentleman caller, and she was totally fine with that. Seeing as she then went on to date Matt Damon and James Marsden, there’s hope for all of us to come into our own in the kissy time department!

Jess Day from New Girl 


Jess indulges in all things earnest: from bell-playing to befriending strangers to Parent Trap-ing her parents in her late 20s. But Nick and Cece, the coolest of the too-cool, think she’s great, so I’ve learned that I can both harmonize to the radio and expect to have friends at the end of the car ride.

Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation

Leslie’s unshakable optimism might land her on the receiving end of a continuous string of disappointments, but she is beloved, effective, and surrounded by a hardcore support system. She’s even broken in Ron Swanson, the surliest of surlies. We are right to pursue our dreams!

Shoshanna Shapiro from Girls

Sheltered Shoshanna reminds me of myself back in the da— er, currently. She’s significantly less cool than the other girls in her chic group of friends, but she’s the only one who doesn’t make me feel unsafe. Her naiveté surrounding boys, partying, and how much a reasonable item of clothing costs allows me to embrace the part of myself that’s compelled to run through the streets with no pants on. You, too, can wear no pants and still be adorable!

 Carrie Mathison from Homeland

I don’t know how to write this paragraph without someone getting angry at me for an inadvertent spoiler. Let’s just say that Carrie Mathison likes jazz music and freaks out a lot, so we have that in common. She also sticks to her guns and isn’t afraid to break the rules in service of the higher good. I’m basically using all this to justify leaving my car for three hours in a two-hour zone.

Chloe from Don’t Trust the B– in Apartment 23

Chloe taught me that … well .. at least I’m not her. I don’t push my dad in front of moving vehicles, haven’t adopted a teenager to serve as my assistant, and I’ve never tried to trick my roommate into starring in a pervy webcam show. Whenever I’m feeling down about whether or not I did the right thing, I think of Chloe and remember that I can’t be the absolute worst person in the world.

What other female TV heroines do you see as inspirational? Let us know in the comments!

Photos: Liz Lemon and Criss Chros from 30 Rock via NBC; Jess Day and roommates from New Girl via FOX; Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation via NBC; Shoshanna Shapiro from Girls via HBO; Carrie Mathison from Homeland via Showtime; Chloe from Apt. 23 via ABC

21 thoughts on “How Female TV Heroines Taught Me To Be Okay With Myself

  1. Fiona from Burn Notice. Is it just me that thinks she is amazing? I mean, she’s a typical woman sometimes, but otherwise likes explosives, guns and other such things.

  2. Sansa Stark taught me that it’s okay to want to be liked and fear breeds bravery
    Red Fraggle taught me how to play with the boys without being intimidated
    Real quick tell me again why strong women in media is a phrase when strong men isn’t?

  3. I LOVE Max Black from 2 Broke Girl$, mainly because she’s so sarcastic about everything and always looks at the dark side of things. Plus, she’s quite funny. My other favourite heroine? Probably Amy Farrah Fowler, just because she’s awesome.

  4. Shirley from Community. That’s my favorite show. A lot of people would say Britta, but I think that Shirley’s a stronger woman.

    Also, Agent Theresa Lisbon from The Mentalist.

  5. I love Fi so much! And I love her boy-friend Michael Westen. Fi is my absolute role-model.
    I was an emotional wreck when I was thirteen. I didn’t want to grow up and nobody could get though to me and I was just generally miserable, Fi made me realize it was okay to grow up because I couldn’t be like her if I didn’t.
    I even have a crush on a boy now(Yes, it’s Michael.)
    Fi really saved me and I just wanted to say that.

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