Along with the falling leaves and a crisp chill returning to the air, the inevitable upsurge of adorable couples is already beginning. As a single person, it is paramount to refuse any discouragement from the effects of this season. One can look to the countless female characters who incarnate the value of independence (and a healthy amount of cynicism). I collected five of my favorite female icons who perfectly encompass my attitude to surviving cuffing season.
Starting off bold and unforgiving, there is the one and only Miranda Priestly from The Devil Wears Prada. This woman unapologetically commands and receives respect from every person who enters her radius. Though her methods may be perceived as harsh, in many ways she is simply responding in a way we typically view as masculine. She is only viewed as harsh and overbearing because she’s a woman. These “harsher” methods would not be questioned if she was a man. It is important to recognize these discrepancies and use them to our advantage. Command the room, state your opinions proudly. Do not allow yourself to be interrupted, and do not let anyone stand in the way of how you want to get the job done.
Continuing with breaking societal standards and feminine expectations, we have Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. She personifies rejecting social expectations for women in a potentially perilous way for her time period. She did not prioritize marriage, nor accept menial proposals out of desperation. It was expected of her to marry rich, and yet she did not buy into this notion. She did not focus on developing feminine qualities that would make her more attractive as a housewife but rather prioritized doing what she liked: reading, walking, and laughing as much as possible. She did not place her worth in material skills or goods and should be revered for her evident intelligence and resilience.
The main icon for hard work and determination, I present Tiana from Princess and the Frog. Romantic love was never her priority because she had an abundance of familial love and dedication to drive her every day. This notion of focusing on what we do have rather than what we lack (and others might have) makes for a more fulfilled life. Though she did have to learn to balance work and self care, her work and ambition is what pushed her to develop strong moral character and can be an incredible example of hope and achievement of dreams despite difficult circumstances.
This article would be incomplete without Kat Stratford, from 10 Things I Hate About You, the embodiment of chronic feminine disinterest and disgust. Kat is a quintessential representation of what a woman’s focus should be as a young adult. She has strong opinions, is well educated in those opinions, and is not afraid to express them. My favorite aspect of her character is how diverse her interests are: electric guitar, influential female literature, and soccer. Expanding your hobbies is an incredible way to better yourself as an individual and fill up spare time that otherwise might be spent wallowing.
I saved the best for last with my personal favorite feminist icon, Megara from Hercules. This is a woman who has been hardened by past experiences and become incredibly cynical (a highly relatable trait). Her pain forced her to become independent and self-sufficient for her own protection. Despite these challenges she does not give up hope and allows herself to trust again.The courageous final step of true independence is allowing yourself to be dependent when you need it and not letting your pain define you or your future.
Imitating the strengths outlined by these icons, I am going to spend this cuffing season minding my own business and curating the woman I want to be rather than worrying about anyone else. This realization of power makes for a much more enjoyable, refreshing autumn season.