By Lisa Gold

I’ve never burned a bra, but I’m definitely a feminist.   Stereotypical “traditional” gender roles aren’t my thing!  I would’ve failed miserably as a submissive 1950’s housewife.

And honestly, it’s sort of ridiculous that women’s rights are something we’re still fighting for in 2014.  But we won’t get into that today.  This post is to celebrate some of my favorite strong female characters on several of the TV shows I watch religiously.

These ladies are of all walks of life; their characters unique and remarkable in many different ways.  They may be fictitious, but their on-screen personas are inspiring. They give young girls, or really women of any age, a sense of aspiration.  And the actresses who portray them are brilliant as well as beautiful.   (WARNING:  May contain minor spoilers.)


Character: Olivia Benson
Show: Law & Order: SVU
Actress: Mariska Hargitay

I am obsessed with Law & Order: SVU!  Based on what happens on this show, I can’t even imagine what horrific occurrences real-life special victims detectives have to deal with on a daily basis.  They are truly heroes.  And Olivia Benson is my favorite fictitious crime-stopper!  Recently promoted to Sergeant, Olivia shows leadership, diligence, and compassion.  Olivia has had her own share of ups and downs in her life and was even a victim herself.  But she always perseveres–no matter how hard her own struggle–for the sake of helping rape victims get justice.  In real life, Mariska runs The Joyful Heart Foundation; an organization to empower victims of sexual abuse and domestic violence.

(Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Point Foundation)

(Photo by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Point Foundation)


Character:  Olivia Pope
Show:  Scandal
Actress:  Kerry Washington 

Let’s just put aside the fact that lots of shady activities happen on this show — LOL.  (I mean… it IS about politics after all!)  Olivia Pope is everything I wish I could be!  She’s very assertive and headstrong.  Unless you watch the show, you don’t know the HALF of the crazy life she’s had!  She pretty much got duped as far as parents go and it’s hard for her to know who she can truly trust.  But she’s ridiculously smart and gets her job done, usually without fail.  This show is just SO addictive!!  It’s best if you watch from the beginning of the series, though.  There’s a lot going on and too many back-stories to jump right in.  And you have all summer to Netflix it before Season 4 starts this fall!   In real life, congratulations to Kerry Washington who just had a baby girl!

(Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Variety)

(Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for Variety)


Character: Daphne Vasquez 
Show:  Switched At Birth
Actress:  Katie Leclerc

You don’t have to be a SnapChatting teen to enjoy many of the shows on ABC Family!  Switched At Birth began exactly as what it sounds like — two families who discover their teen children were accidentally switched in the hospital as newborns.  The story is now focused on the goings-on of these two families and how this tumultuous event brought them together.  Daphne Vasquez is one of the teens who was switched.  She is sweet, spry, well-rounded, and ambitious!  I often wonder if there is anything this girl can’t do!  She also wears her heart on her sleeve and takes responsibility for her mistakes.  Daphne is truly a joy.  Oh and she’s also deaf, which is only of importance simply because it’s a part of who she is, but it certainly doesn’t define her.  I’ve learned so much about the deaf community from watching this show… and may have even picked up a word or two in American Sign Language.


(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)



Character:  Rachel Berry 
Show:  Glee
Actress:  Lea Michele 

I had a hard time choosing a leading lady from Glee!  So many strong, wonderful women!  From sassy Santana to snarky Sue Sylvester to brassy Becky, really I could simply say, “ALL OF THEM!”  My decision to select Rachel Berry might not be everyone’s choice, as some Gleeks see her character as selfish and seemingly annoying.  However, Rachel is very driven!  Nothing will stop her from pursuing her dreams and there is certainly something to be said for that.  She’s also super-talented.  But as confident as she is, Rachel still has moments of weakness which is refreshing once in awhile from a go-getter like Ms. Berry.  Just a couple weeks ago, Kurt and all of her friends spent the episode doing damage control on her opening day meltdown.  But of course, girl nailed it!  Whether you love her or hate her, you gotta admit Rachel is a strong leading lady.  In real life, Lea Michele is just as talented and you can join us for a Q&A with her when she’s in Connecticut!


(Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

(Jason Merritt/Getty Images)


Characters:  Stef Foster and Lena Adams
Show:  The Fosters
Actresses:  Teri Polo and Sherri Saum

Another wonderful ABC Family drama, this show can be summed up in one simple word — family.  Stef and Lena are wonderful parents who open their hearts and their home to several foster children, but there is oh so much more to this groundbreaking show!  I couldn’t choose between Lena and Stef because quite honestly they are a team.  The Fosters will make you think about how hard life can be for kids in the foster care system and how some kids in juvenile detention centers are misunderstood.  And if you haven’t figured it out, marriage equality is also a major theme in this show.  It’s all about love, and really, that’s all these foster kids need.  Fun fact:  J-Lo is the executive producer!

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

(Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)


Character:  Erin Lindsay
Show:  Chicago P.D.
Actress:  Sophia Bush

Yup, she was the girl who played Brooke on One Tree Hill and now Sophia Bush is Erin Lindsay, a detective on the NBC cop drama, Chicago P.D.  The show, a spin-off of Gina J.’s favorite, Chicago Fire, focuses on the Intelligence department of the Chicago police.  Erin had a dark past.  Her mom was a junkie and her father was incarcerated.  Erin herself even got mixed up with drugs.  The sergeant took her in as a teenager and she’s since turned her life around.  Erin Lindsay is courageous and loyal.  I find the irony of her character intriguing; a former addict who now busts drug dealers.  I really love how this exemplifies the ability for an addict to recover and, in turn, help those who need it.


(Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for ELLE)

(Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for ELLE)


Characters:  Aria Montgomery, Alison DeLaurentis, Hanna Marin, Emily Fields, and Spencer Hastings
Show:  Pretty Little Liars 
Actresses:  Lucy Hale, Sasha Pieterse, Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell, and Troian Bellisario

I swear sometimes these girls are actually cats because it sure seems like they each have nine lives!   Terrorized by “A,” the girls of Rosewood always have some crazy drama going on.  I won’t get into plot specifics or details (because if you watch, you know what’s up and if you don’t watch, you won’t know what the eff I’m talking about!)  But suffice to say these ladies put up with a heck of a lot more than most high school kids.  They somehow always end up in awkward situations and whether they’re traipsing through the woods or hiding in a creepy old barn, they’re always wearing amazing outfits (hello, Hollywood).  But what I really admire about these ladies?  They are fiercely loyal to each other (er, maybe with the exception of Ali) and their families.  They’ve had struggles and made their fair share of mistakes, too.  But cut them some slack — it can’t be easy when “A” is a constant threat and who better to have your back than your besties?

(Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images)

(Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images)


If you’re looking for a new show to marathon, these are great ones to get into!  They are all very different, but equally amazing!  Yes, there is a fair amount of man candy to ogle on most of these shows as well.  But of course, no shortage of girl power!  And we ladies need to share that power as much as possible.


–Lisa Gold, 96.5 TIC





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