16 TV And Movie Characters You Never Realized Are Actually Feminists

Although Hollywood still has a very long way to go when it comes to the way they depict and treat women, it’s nice to see the increase in strong female characters on TV shows and in movies. Some of these women are very clearly feminists, and have no problem expressing that: Liz Lemon from 30 Rock, Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation, many of the women in Orange Is The New Black, Olivia Pope from Scandal, and Jess from New Girl, just to name a few. But there are also some characters who, while they don’t really come out and say they’re feminists, are actually feminists.

Even in today’s world where the fight for gender equality is going strong, a lot of people still have a hard time identifying as a “feminist.” I can’t really understand this at all, but I can work to encourage our readers to embrace the term and the definition. If you’re afraid of the label, here are a bunch of fictional characters you probably really love who are actually feminists – as surprising as that might be. Doesn’t that make it seem a little more worthwhile? Check out these 16 TV and movie characters you never realized are actually feminists:


1. Claire from Jurassic World


I know everyone has been complaining about Claire’s character in this movie because she runs in heels the whole time, but I don’t agree with the criticism. Yeah, it’s ridiculous that she runs in heels (although keep in mind this is a movie about genetically engineered dinosaurs). But I also kind of like it, because it keeps Claire true to herself as a character. Claire is a strong female with a lot of power in a big company. I don’t want to post spoilers, but she’s basically the heroine of the movie. This article explains more of what I mean.


2. Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls

lorelai gilmore

Rory Gilmore talks about being a feminist many times, and maybe Lorelai does too, but I don’t know if Lorelai gets enough credit. She refused to get married just because she was pregnant, she made her own way in the world with very little help, she had big dreams and goals that were never changed because of a man, she was confident and encouraged her daughter to be herself, and she refused to sacrifice herself for any guy. This whole show was super feminist!


3. Mindy Lahiri from The Mindy Project


There is a lot of sarcasm and satire in this show, and I don’t know if everyone always catches it. Despite the fact that a lot of the show is about Mindy’s love life, she’s still SUCH a feminist. She always fights for equal rights, she has no shame in being super confident, and she refuses to change for a man. When Danny wanted her to stay behind in New York for him, she did what SHE wanted with barely a second thought. She is an awesome role model who is also super body positive.


4. Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights

tami taylor

There are a lot of reasons why Tami was a feminist. When she got the job she had been dreaming of, her husband did too – and it required moving away. She wouldn’t move because it meant giving up her dream, and so he had to sacrifice his job for once. There was also an abortion storyline where Tami really shone as a role model.


5. Daenerys Targaryen from Game Of Thrones


Arya Stark is always praised as the big feminist in Game of Thrones, and rightly so. But Khalessi is right up there with her! Daenerys knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it. Although she accepts help from men, she makes it clear she doesn’t need it. She took a bad situation with the Dorthraki in the beginning and turned it around to her favor. She’s basically really kick-ass.


6. Elle Woods from Legally Blonde 

elle woods

If you don’t recognize Elle Woods’ feminism, I’m upset. Elle starts off on a slightly wrong foot, heading to law school just to get her ex back. But she quickly proves herself as a really strong female who doesn’t need anyone by her side. I love Elle as a feminist because she shows that you can be a “girly” girl and be a super smart feminist at the same time.


7. Spencer Hastings from Pretty Little Liars


Spencer is the smartest of the Liars, but she’s also the most strong, in my opinion. She always has something smart to say and is always fiercely herself. Plus, I love how she doesn’t take anyone’s crap and always gets sh*t done.


8. Christina Yang from Grey’s Anatomy


Forget about Meredith – Yang is the star here. Cristina never lets anyone, man or woman, get in her way. She has big goals and isn’t afraid to go about achieving them. She has no time for people who don’t believe in her because she’s a woman, and she can prove anyone wrong.


9. Michonne from The Walking Dead


Michonne is a total badass. I’ve heard a lot of criticism about this show and the way it depicts women, but I’ve also heard a lot of people say that Michonne stands out as more of a feminist.


10. Olivia Benson from Law & Order

olivia benson

Why don’t more people talk about how amazing Olivia Benson is? I mean, she’s awesome. Girl doesn’t let anybody stand in her way, she always gets to the bottom of everything, and she stands up to everyone with no fear.


11. Clair Huxtable from The Cosby Show

clair1 clair2

I don’t remember that much about The Cosby Show, but I do remember Clair’s amazing sassy commentary all the time. Clair had a husband who was sometimes very insensitive and stupid, and she was never afraid to speak up and assert herself. And I mean, look at that quote! Clair was a feminist on TV before it was cool to have feminists on TV shows.


12. Katniss from The Hunger Games


One of the things I love the most about The Hunger Games is that a strong female character like Katniss is the star. Katniss is someone every girl should look up to, because she’s fierce and not afraid to do what she has to do to protect everyone around her. She may have been a little rough around the edges, but that doesn’t take away from everything else.


13. Hermione from Harry Potter


My love for Hermione knows no bounds. This girl is such a great role model. She always believes in herself. She never lets anyone get in her way. She fights for her rights and the rights of others. She doesn’t let her romantic feelings for Ron change her or stop her from what needs to get done. And she doesn’t take crap from anybody.


14. Jane from Jane The Virgin


When I first heard about the premise of this show, I was horrified and was pretty sure it would be the worst thing ever. I haven’t been able to watch it yet (it’s on my list for the summer!), but I’ve heard it was surprisingly great… and feminist. Jane is independent, doesn’t search for help or validation, and knows that she doesn’t need a dude for a great life.


15. Princess Merida from Brave


Disney is not known for feminist characters, but Merida is an exception. Not only was she the protagonist of the movie, she’s also strong, capable, and didn’t need anyone else’s help.


16. Hit Girl from Kick Ass


If you haven’t seen this movie, watch it. It’s crazy and really awesome, and I love Chloe Grace-Moretz as Hit Girl. She defies so many female stereotypes and is a really strong character who isn’t afraid of anyone. Literally.


Which of these characters did you never realize was a feminist? Which one do you disagree on? Who did I forget? Tell me in the comments.

You can follow the author, Jessica Booth, on Twitter or Instagram.

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