Women’s History Month: Inspirational female characters revolutionizing world of entertainment


Samantha Freeman

Jo March, Katherine Johnson and Hermione Granger are some of the few strongest characters portrayed in films. The Sidekick staffer Yash Ravula discusses 10 other strong characters and what lessons they teach.

Yash Ravula, Staff writer

Since the women’s suffrage movement, a decades-long (1849 – 1920) fight for women’s rights, feminism and feminist culture has grown rapidly. Although the movement only strived to gain equal opportunities for both genders  such as the right to vote and property ownership, many misconceptions and misunderstandings falsely associated the word “feminist” with misandry and being “anti-god”.

Until not so long ago, women were only seen as sexual objects or supporting in TV and films. The depiction of Willie Scott, played by Kate Capshaw, in the Indiana Jones franchise, is only one instance of sexism in movies. Scott is nothing but a “dumb blonde who screams,” the character just existed to cause problems for Indiana Jones and scream. This raised a lot of questions as to how a female character is supposed to be portrayed on camera

So to change the narrative, here is a list of characters who have restored the faith in the way movies and TV shows portray women:  

Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter franchise

  • Played by Emma Watson, Granger’s determination to be an all achiever, despite being made fun of by her peers, is what saved her friends from all kinds of danger. She is a great example for young kids who aspire to be something out of the ordinary and show they are passionate about the things they do. Her book-smart and the way she doesn’t care about what people think about her is what makes her the best witch of Hogwarts.

Elle Woods in Legally Blonde

  • Played by Reese Witherspoon, Woods gets into Harvard Law School after her boyfriend dumps her for “not being serious.” Even though she is considered a “dumb blonde,” she does not let it discourage her from gaining respect from her professors and peers, along with finding a new found passion for law. She is the perfect example of having self-respect and is an inspiration to never conform to the stereotype.

Christina Yang in “Grey’s Anatomy”

  • Played by Sandra Oh, Yang’s professionalism is heavily seen in her work ethic. She does not take no for an answer and is a talented, brilliant surgeon. “Screw beautiful. I’m brilliant. If you want to appease me, compliment my brain.” her infamous quote that really shows her personality.  She is one of the few people represented on TV that is dedicated to her work and is not in a relationship when she broke off her engagement with her co-worker Dr. Preston Burke. Many hard-working people can relate to that.

Miranda Priestly in Devil Wears Prada

  • Played by Meryl Streep, Priestly is the most iconic and powerful woman out there. As the Editor-in-chief of “The Runway”, she has risen to the top of a cutthroat industry and is one of the best around her. Her high expectations from the people around her are a large part of her success in the fashion industry. She inspires people to be outstanding at what they do.

Jo March in Little Women

  • Played by Saoirse Ronan, March’s resilience when it came to not conforming to traditions can be seen throughout the film. She does not want to be a traditional writer whose stories end with the girl marrying someone. She’s also one of the strongest characters in literature and film. She represents the earliest feminist characters who don’t conform to traditions even when everyone.

Gloria Pritchett in “Modern Family”

  • Played by Sophia Vergara, even after she immigrated to the U.S. and dealt with a divorce when her son (Manuel Pritchett) was just a child. And constantly being talked about by the people around her when she married a rich man (calling her a “gold digger”). She is an amazing mother to both her sons and does not let anyone tell her the way she is supposed to feel. As an immigrant myself, her love for staying true to her roots is very inspiring. 

Belle in Beauty and the Beast

  • Voiced by Paige O’Hara and played by Emma Watson, Belle is refreshing as an early feminist character, considering Disney’s reputation of portraying women as victims. “Look there she goes, that girl is so peculiar, I wonder if she’s feeling well,” the townspeople sing in the song “Belle.” She is an inspiration for people who feel out of place and she teaches that there is more to life than her small town.

Katherin Johnson in Hidden Figures

  • Played by Taraji P. Henson, Johnson is one of the first African American women to work as a NASA scientist. This movie perfectly shows what an African American had to go through to be seen in a predominantly white career. Johnson teaches how to stand up for yourself and have a stance in a mostly white male-dominated society.

Elsa in Frozen and Frozen 2

  • Voiced by Idina Menzel, Elsa is one of the most strong and willful characters by Disney. She is the only Disney princess that does not rely on a man to save her, which had previously been a recurring case in most Disney movies. She is one of the few Disney princesses (or queens) to have a more diverse emotional character arc, as she overcame her fear and embraced herself.

Miranda Bailey in “Grey’s Anatomy” 

  • Played by Chandra Wilson, Miranda Bailey is the Chief of Surgery at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. Since her appearance in the first episode, she has been a strong woman who knows her priorities and does not let any man or woman tell her how to do her job. She has also been a parent figure to all her interns throughout the years. She always found a way to balance her personal life with professional despite the numerous personal problems she has to deal with. personal problems to deal with. She teaches something that is very valuable to society, that there are moments when you need to let down your guard and be vulnerable to people.


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