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A Breakdown of My Favorite Female Characters in Television

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

I briefly recall sitting down with my friends having a discussion about our favorite TV shows, and ranking the characters we liked and disliked, and one of my friends brought up a point about how it’s really hard to have favorite female characters because more often than not they always seemed to portrayed as vain, whiny or a ditsy. But then we came up with a list of female characters in television whose character arc throughout the show or simply their portrayal from the start lands them a spot in my short but superior list of the best female characters in television.

monica geller: F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

Monica Geller, the mom of mom friends. my personal favorite, as a type-A mom friend of my friend group, I relate to Monica on a personal level. And as a clean freak, she is also the namesake of my family’s Roomba vacuum. Monica’s warm and giving personality has always stood out to me in the show. Her willingness to essentially house her former best friend, take care of her brother after his divorce, and feed and entertain the whole entourage of grown 20-somethings, definitely put her on top of my list.

Cristina yang: grey’s anatomy

Let’s start this off with none other than my favorite twisted sister of Grey’s Anatomy. Right from the get-go Cristina Yang is an incredibly driven, no-nonsense extremely skilled surgical intern. Her tenacity and her willingness to do anything to succeed in her career are what immediately drew me to her. Her friendship with Meredith is also second to none in television. At a time when female characters often were pitted against each other, Meredith and Cristina despite their rough times were an encouraging and empowering portrayal of female friendship. Throughout the show, we see her doing what she feels is right never settling for second best, whether it was deciding not to marry her former fiancé, Preston Burke, or leaving everything behind to go pursue her career in Switzerland, Cristina has never failed to entertain me with her dry humor or amaze me with her strong sense of self.

sansa stark: game of thrones

*Spoilers ahead*

Ah! The little dove of Game of Thrones. Despite Game of Thrones presenting us with an entourage of undeniably strong female characters, I felt that Sansa in particular deserved to be on this list because of how quickly she went from my least favorite character to the one that I was rooting for. Sansa has had arguably the best character arc on the show. Initially a naive lady with her head in the clouds, but it was the finale of season one, after watching her father die, I think we see Sansa starting to understand the world around her. Sansa teaming up with Petyr Baelish, using him and leveraging the Knights of the Vale to help her brother(or cousin really) get back Winterfell, and take down Littlefinger, we finally see her playing and I would even say winning the Game of Thrones. She truly is my Queen in the North.

Brooke Davis: one tree hill

Brooke Davis is my favorite woman in the whole genre of the early 2000s teen drama shows. During the era of “pick me girls” and the “chill girl trope.” Brooke Davis owned our hearts as the “it” girl of Tree Hill. With her immaculate sense of style, and fierce loyalty (only seen as the show progresses), Brooke truly had a progressive character arc in the show, she learned her worth when it came to her on-and-off relationship with Lucas and her friendship with Peyton. Even though she definitely did not have the best moral compass in the beginning of the show, she made and learned from her mistakes, despite constantly being let down by her closest circle of friends (*cough* Lucas *cough* Peyton), she grew as a person to become objectively the best character in One Tree Hill.

Annalise Keating: how to get away with Murder

Annalise Keating, the anti-hero of this list. I just want to preface this spiel by stating that Annalise was the only one in the show who did not get involved with any of the murders. Annalise truly was not the problem, she had run her clinic with the Keating Five for years before the events of the show began. Annalise fiercely protected and cared for her students and her confidants, Frank and Bonnie. She went to great lengths – AKA covering up her own husband’s murder after her students had killed him in order to protect them. While she has done many questionable things throughout the show, blackmailing some of her students, framing her boyfriend, and her alcoholism. Annalise was a strong character who truly had a muddy past, exhibiting constantly flawed behavior, yet she prevailed and clawed her way out of all the problems thrown her way.

While this does not even come close to encompassing my entire list, I always think it’s fun to look back upon and think about the characters portrayed in the kind of media you consume. So I hope this list has either caused you to re-evaluate some of your favorites or even pushed you to watch any of these shows.

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Akshatha Chelluri

U Mass Amherst '26

Akshatha is a freshman at Umass Amherst majoring in Economics. In her free time, she loves to pick up a new book to read, experiment with new bakes, listen to music, and explore different cafes and restaurants.