Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Tuesday Topics - Favorite Characters

I stumbled upon this linkup too late to get my list published on the Tuesday for which it was originally slated.  Undeterred, for it seems like a fun linkup, I decided to go ahead, despite my tardiness.  (Thanks Jenn and Lauren for the generous linkup time frame.)

As I started to brainstorm my favorite eight characters, I was completely overwhelmed.  I mean, I have forty-something years worth of exposure to characters from film, television, books, and the theater to draw from.  How in the world could I ever narrow it down to eight?

With the images of Saturday's Women's March on Washington and the sister marches that occurred in cities throughout the world in my brain, I decided to tailor my list to female characters and, specifically, female characters whom I consider(ed) to be great role models.

Jo Polniaczek (played by Nancy McKeon) in the 80s sitcom, The Facts of Life

I knew from a very early age that I was a tomboy.  Although tomboys were more socially acceptable in the 1980s than they had been in previous decades, they were not as commonly accepted as they are today.  Jo was my very first role model.  Jo instilled in me the idea that it's okay to be a tomboy as long as you are true to yourself.

Tami Maida (played by Helen Hunt) in the 1983 made for TV docudrama, The Quarterback Princess

Tami Maida was my second earliest role model. Tami taught me that girls could play sports just as well as boys could.  She was also my example on how to embrace my femininity from time to time.

Mulan, from the Disney animation, Mulan

Before Mulan, there were Ariel, Belle, and Jasmine, whom, in their own right, were very strong, female characters.  But Mulan was different.    Mulan was one of the first Disney movies in which a girl didn't have to be rescued by a man.  In fact, Mulan not only rescued her dad, but also Shang (her army captain) as well as the emperor of China. Mulan was total badass.

Idgie Threadgoode (played by Mary Stuart Masterson) in the 1991 film, Fried Green Tomatoes (and in the 1987 novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe by Fannie Flagg)

I have always identified with Idgie - a tomboy raised in a rural area, who felt more at home in the woods, surrounded by nature, than anywhere else.  

Olivia Benson (played by Mariska Hargitay) in the long running NBC drama, Law and Order: SVU

I do not nor have I ever worked in law enforcement, but I have eyes.  It is very obvious that women are outnumbered drastically by men in this profession. The fact that Benson not only works in this profession, but has also excelled, rising to the rank of Lieutenant is very impressive.  Not only is she tough, but she is also very empathetic and caring. She executes here duties, but maintains her humanity.

Katniss Everdeen, from The Hunger Games novels and movie franchise (played by Jennifer Lawrence)

With no disrespect to Bella Swan from the Twilight series, the wildly popular YA book series that preceded The Hunger Games, one of the things I so loved about Katniss Everdeen was that she was not mopey or passive.  She did not wait for things to happen, she made things happen.  Katniss exhibited many worthy traits that girls can look up to - strength, resiliency, and self-sufficiency.

Willowdean from the novel, Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

It's not easy being a teenager, let alone an overweight teenager.  Willowdean learned to truly embrace herself while opening up herself to infinite possibilities. That is a truly admirably trait.

Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson (played by Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle MonĂ¡e, respectively) in the 2016 film, Hidden Figures

During a time when both women and African Americans were struggling for equal rights, there were three brilliant, female, African American mathematicians working at NASA.  These ladies were very instrumental in the launching of John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth.  Their story is one of empowerment, of breaking down walls that are before you, and not giving up.

So, what do you think?  Do you have any female characters that you think should have made the cut?  If  you do, feel free to comment below.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.  

Happy Tuesday to you!  As always, thanks for stopping by!


  1. better late than never! thanks for joining us. i was excited to see that you'd done so!

    this is a good list, lady. i have been wanting to see hidden figures for months. perhaps tomorrow...

    and idgie! definitely. she is a badass. i love how clever and courageous she is. and so in touch with who she is. when i'd started making my list, she was on it, but she was one of two gals on there, and i was super pressed for time (i'd forgotten to get my post ready before going on vacation and did it in haste tuesday morning), so i limited my post to men.

    so... eight chicks (and since you already know i love idgie, i'm not going to use her here, and yeah, i know that's kind of cheating...)

    from film:
    one. nawal marwan played by lubna azabal in the foreign film incendies. it's hard to watch. really, really hard to watch. it's the sort of story that will stick with you, and well. but she's the strongest character i've seen in film to date. hands down.
    two. princess leia played by carrie fisher in the star wars franchise. because she loses EVERYTHING, really--her father, her brother, her lover, her son. and still manages to rise to the rank of general and lead her people well.
    three. celia foote played by jessica chastain in the help. i know. i know. most folks would say i should be saying aibileen, and yeah, i LOVE her. but celia's got a different kind of strength that i don't think gets the due it deserves. my god that gal's tenacious and resilient and sweet despite all the bullshit she's endured, by women she'd hoped to have as friends, allies, women who saw her as insignificant as their nannies and housekeepers. and for her to hire minny jackson when she knew damned well it would add further marks to her reputation. i'm in awe of this gal.
    four. m'lynne eatenton played by sally field in steel magnolias. i've heard gals say they love ouisa and clairee, and yeah, they're pretty badass. but i gotta go with m'lynne on this one. she's too much like my mother. and i'm too much like shelby. and i know raising a headstrong daughter who has a very different outlook on life must be a pain in the ass, especially when her husband drum's the way he is. can you imagine what that house must've been like? i can. really well.

    five. abbey bartlet played by stockard channing on the west wing. who else could handle a man like jed? nobody but NOBODY.
    six. miranda bailey played by chandra wilson on grey's anatomy. meredith annoyed the HELL out of me. in fact, i couldn't stand most of the gals on this program, but bailey... i LOVED her SO much. she could be SUCH a bitch but was SO, SO soft in the center.
    seven. arya stark played by maisie williams on game of thrones. because that scrap of a gal has grown into a pretty impressive force with whom to be reckoned. i would NOT want to be on her bad side.
    eight. joan watson played by lucy liu on elementary. because being friends and colleagues with and maintaing a respect for a guy as idiosyncratic and difficult as jonny miller's sherlock can't be easy.

    1. wait. i've to make an adjustment. instead of joan watson i'm going with rebecca pearson played by mandy moore on this is us. i'm kicking myself for not thinking of her sooner. her character's awesome.

    2. Thank you! I agree, Idgie is completely courageous! There are times in my life where I find myself yelling, "TOWANDA!!!" LOL!

      Great list! Thank you for sharing it.

  2. I've never seen Mulan, but she does sound like a bad ass!
    As for tomboy characters, I loved Amanda (played by Tatum O'Neal) in the original Bad News Bears. She was a tomboy who was straddling into wanting to be recognized as a girl...not just one of the guys. She was sassy and tough. I loved her.
    Olivia Benson is indeed awesome for all the reasons you describe.
    And, yes! to Willowdean.

  3. totally agree on Katniss...she just did what she had to do and didn't whine or complain.

  4. Oh my gosh!! I love this. I wish that I would have seen this too. I would have loved to join. I love all your characters. A girl after my own heart.

  5. Mulan for sure!! She's my favorite Disney princess because she's so fierce and she can do it on her own. Love it!!! I would have included Hermione Granger over Katniss, just because I'm a life long HP fan. I love Hunger Games too, but if I had to choose.


  6. Thanks for linking up! Love all the positive female power!


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