As women, we experience many of the same struggles and hardships that others who do not identify as women cannot fully understand. I strongly believe in encouraging other women to work on themselves, their mental strength and their confidence. If I could recommend a strong female character for other women to look up to, I would choose some of the following.
If I had to rank my connection and love for these characters, Brooke Davis from One Tree Hill would be my favorite. Her character development throughout the series makes me proud of the character and all she has gone through to become her most true self in the final season of the show. In the beginning of the series, Brooke is a junior in high school who is seen by others as confident, sexy and intimidating. She is the early 2000s stereotypical cheerleader portrayed in film who wants to be known as sexy to others. Making jokes and regular comments related to sex, she portrays herself to others as being rather experienced and a bit wild to maintain her status and popularity.
Although she is rich and popular, she doesn’t have the life that she wants. Her father wanted a son, which constantly shows Brooke how unwanted she is by her own family, and during the time we see her in high school, her parents move away together for some time, leaving Brooke to live all on her own for two years. With this, we start to understand why being popular and acting in ways that please others is so important for Brooke.
Through the support system made for her by her friends, Brooke starts to shed her outlook on the people around her. She befriends the unpopular and nerdy Mouth McFadden, and she becomes best friends with the quiet, smart girl Haley James. It is with friends like these that she feels empowered to start her own clothing company, which she has dreamed of since she was a little girl. As the series goes on, we see how Brooke stops caring what others think of her. She is selfless, brave and so much smarter than she would allow anyone to believe in the early seasons of the show. She stopped letting the attention she got from boys define her, and she allowed herself to grow on her own and find her true worth.
Joey Potter is another character who is portrayed as being an underdog. She has experienced and been impacted by family trauma that she has carried with her through adolescence, but she is not afraid to admit where she comes from. When Joey was in middle school, her mother became severely ill with breast cancer and passed away. While her mother was actively dying and becoming weaker, her father had an affair, essentially leaving her mother and betraying her trust at the worst possible time. This caused Joey to develop feelings of disgust towards her father. Because he was struggling with his own mental health and did not know how he could support his two daughters alone, Joey’s father resorted to selling hard drugs for fast cash.
When we meet Joey, she is a new freshman in high school and her father is in prison. She is taken care of by her older sister Bessy, who is ten years older than she is. Practically raised by her sister, Joey learns what it means to get by on what you have. She wears old hand-me-downs to school and doesn’t live a fancy life. Without a mother, Joey feels more comfortable in a less girly environment, and even the idea of having girlfriends seems unattractive to her.
As the series goes on, we see Joey fight for everything she wants, and in some cases achieve her goals, which inspires me to always try the best I can. Nothing is handed to you in life, and if you want something you have to work for it as hard as you can. Joey gives us the message that we are stronger than we think.
10 Things I Hate About You has to be one of my favorite movies. The lead character Kat Stratford is, simply put, funny. She has this negative outlook on everything and all her classmates at the high school she goes to. She only has one girl friend, Mandella, who has a deep love for Shakespeare and is seen as being a bit odd in comparison to the other characters at the school.
Kat is a strong feminist icon as she breaks down the meanings behind the readings she is assigned in English class and does not care to do a single thing for the pleasure of men. In Kat’s eyes, men are disgusting and aren’t worth an ounce of her time, an opinion that is very different from that of her younger sister Bianca. As the movie plays out, we understand that when Kat was a freshman, she was pressured into having sex with Joey, a boy who now has eyes for Bianca. Joey dumped Kat right after, making her feel used and insignificant. It is because of this experience that she is incredibly strong and independent when it comes to confronting men, and is why she would do nothing for a man and only for herself.
Kat eventually finds a way to break down her emotionally hard walls to let in a boy who has been the only one to truly understand her at her core, Patrick Verona. She fully embraces the older sister role and eventually opens up about her past to Bianca, allowing her to understand why Kat has adopted a completely new personality than the popular fun girl she used to be.
This movie is all about accepting people for who they are and not judging someone before you get to know them. I aspire to be like Kat Stratford and only do and say things for myself and not be persuaded by the opinions and desires of others.