When Buffy the Vampire Slayer landed on our screens, the influence and power this show would have on other female characters could not have been predicted.
Now, we have female role models, all strong and successful. Not all of these women have to face evil demons on daily basis - some have to deal with politics and press conflicts, some have to save people from dying, some are responsible for preventing attacks on civilians. Their roles might vary but what we can learn from these women is that they are always ready to fight!
1. Meredith Grey - 'Grey's Anatomy'
Doctor and current Chief of General Surgery, Meredith Grey (played by Ellen Pompeo) is an independent women that has managed to survive many, many life threatening situations, while saving a great number of people in her medical career. Grey's Anatomy has a strong female cast and in the fictional hospital, Grey-Sloan Memorial, most of the chiefs in each specialty (like Neuro, Cardio and Ortho) are actually female as well. This proves that what was once considered a male game, is now a game for everyone.
2. Olivia Pope - 'Scandal'
Olivia Pope (played by Kerry Washington) is a true gladiator and renowned fixer that navigates the complicated political world in the United States. Pope is constantly surrounded by the pressures of her role and is shadowed by her affair with the current President of the U.S. Over the course of the seasons she has to change loyalties and fight for her wellbeing when danger arises - sometimes, even from her own family.
3. Emily Thorne - 'Revenge'
Born as Amanda Clarke, the life of the girl who will eventually become Emily Thorne (played by Emily VanCamp) was marked by treason. Separated from her father at the young age of eight, Amanda had to change her name and transform into Emily Thorne. As a newcomer socialite in the Hamptons' scene, she plotted to complete her revenge against those who harmed her family.
Emily trained in martial arts, patience and strategy, and with the support of her friend Nolan Ross she brought down those who harmed her. This show also delivered another strong female character - Victoria Grayson, one of the people behind Amanda's father unjust imprisoning and the woman who would become Emily's archenemy.
4. Carrie Mathison - 'Homeland'
Very capable but slightly perturbed CIA agent Carrie Mathison (played by Claire Danes) is constantly facing the pressures of finding the true allegiances of the people that surround her. Her job places her in incredibly dangerous situations, but Carrie always manages to find the guilty perpetrators. Suffering from bipolar disorder since age 22 has forced Carrie to be strong in order to maintain the control she needs to complete her job. But sometimes that's just too hard to do.
5. Nikita - 'Nikita'
Former assassin and highly trained agent Nikita (played by Maggie Q) has to deal with being called back to Division, a secret government organization that trains teenagers to become assassins. Bringing down Division becomes Nikita's main goal, and in this effort she is aided by another strong character, Alex (played by Lindsey Fonseca). Even though it ran only three seasons, Nikita had a positive conclusion with Nikita's final mission allowing her to capture the remaining rogue agents of the organization.
6. Sydney Bristow - 'Alias'
Born into a family of spies made Sidney Bristow (played by Jennifer Gardner) a perfect candidate for recruitment into the CIA. Sidney believed she was part of a black-ops division of the intelligence agency, when in reality she was part of a highly dangerous horde of terrorists known as SD-6. Over the course of five seasons Sidney traveled the world undercover on different missions to bring down not only SD-6 but all of the terrorist agencies in the world that damaged her family and friends. With her strength, training and agile mind, Sidney is a clear example that there's nothing a man can do that a woman can't (plus a woman CAN do it in heels).
7. Peggy Carter - 'Marvel's Agent Carter'
One of Marvel's first female heroes, Margaret "Peggy" Carter (played by Hayley Atwell) is a soldier during WWII, where she ascends the ranks relatively fast, but at the end of the war she struggles to find her place in the world. During the first season of Marvel's Agent Carter, she faces sexism and misogynist behavior from her male counterparts. Even when she manages to bring down the big bad at the end of the first season, her journey to be valued for her skills and not her gender is far from over. The second season of the show has just concluded, but it is still not certain if we'll get a season three. I do hope we get to see more of Peggy as she navigates her big comeback in a more prominent role into the SSR (what will eventually become S.H.I.E.L.D).
8. Jessica Jones - 'Jessica Jones'
The titular heroine of Marvel's Jessica Jones (played by Krysten Ritter) is a powerful strong woman, placed front and center in the action. Bestowed with super human abilities, Jessica opens her detective agency when she's rendered incapable of using all her strength to face the evil roaming the streets. A second season of Jessica Jones has been ordered and Netflix will deliver it later this year. In the meantime we can go and watch her her defeating villains like Killgrave again and again, until we are ready to enjoy more of her adventures in season two.
9. Fiona Goode - 'American Horror History: Coven'
It was hard to pick just one character from Jessica Lange's AHS saga, but Fiona Borgia seems to be the best option to put on this list. In AHS Coven, Fiona is the Supreme Witch of the Salem Coven. Over the course of the season Fiona tries to maintain her status as the "supreme", sometimes having to kill to succeed. Even though we might not see her again, we know she's living in her personal hell after the choices she made had dire consequences, but we can't deny she was the strongest witch of them all.
10. Emma Swan - 'Once Upon A Time'
The savior, Emma Swan (played by Jennifer Morrison) is the key to defeating evil in the town of Storybrooke and in the Enchanted Forest. Born out of true love between Snow White and Prince Charming, Emma is tasked with bringing back the happy endings to the inhabitants of Storybrooke, Maine. Her efforts are often antagonized by Regina Mills - the Evil Queen (another wonderful strong female character), or other unfriendly foes like Peter Pan, the Ice Queen or the Witch of Oz. Season five of Once Upon A Time is currently in progress and with a season six already confirmed we know we will at least see one more year of the adventures Emma and her gang will have in the future. Emma is a wonderful character because she grows believing she's alone in this world only to discover that her great power is born out of her ability to love, which makes her stronger when facing evil.
I can certainly say that all of these characters inspire me in different situations of my life and I look forward to see what other great female roles we'll see in the future.