Television’s Most Inspiring Feminist Icons: From Daenerys Targaryen to Cookie Lyon

televisions feminist icons

You can always rely on Daenerys Targaryen or Cookie Lyon to give you that little bit of female empowerment. Feminist movie characters aren’t the only ones to inspire the masses. There are a handful of characters on television shows that have grown to become inspiring feminist icons, too. They’re not afraid to stand up for themselves, they get what they want and they’re respected by those who surround them. Here are six of television’s most inspiring feminist icons…

Daenerys Targaryen – Game of Thrones

Who needs a king when you can have a queen? Daenerys Targaryen is television’s version of Beyonce. She encourages female empowerment and leaves no room for misogyny. She’s gone from being a submissive wife and sister to a leader of her own army. The rightful queen has taught viewers that you can go from being timid and subdued to powerful and idolized. All it takes is a little bit of self-belief and knowing your worth.

Deanerys feminist

What Daenerys wants, Daenerys gets. If you use a female-oriented gendered slur against her, she will have you killed.

Olivia Pope – Scandal

Olivia Pope wears a suit better than any man out there! Female audiences can look up to this tough lead female character and truly understand what it means to be a powerful and capable woman in the workplace. Olivia fights for women both personally and professionally as she takes on the biggest crises of the country, something only men have been shown to do in politics and the media in the past.

Olivia Pope feminist

There have been several men in television series that have had the upper hand in the workplace like Don Draper in Mad Men. It’s refreshing to see a woman be her own boss and set the rules on the small screen for once.

Buffy Summers – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy the Vampire Slayer turned the dumb, blonde female stereotype into something far more admirable. She proved that girls, even cheerleaders, can be badass assassins.  Before 1996, movies and TV series alike would only show male protagonists while women would play damsels in distress. Buffy the Vampire Slayer broke boundaries and reinforced the idea that women too can be physically strong and capable.

buffy feminist

If you grew up in the 90s, Buffy was your ultimate female role model. She may have maintained a bit of her feminine side (by kicking-butt in a mini-skirt) but at the end of the day, she was the one to save the world, not her male companions.

Michonne – The Walking Dead

Who needs Rick Grimes when you’ve got Michonne to save you from those menacing Walkers? Michonne has been everyone’s favorite warrior woman ever since she stepped onto the screen in season 3 of The Walking Dead. The badass fighter can take out Walkers better than anyone else on the show and is not reliant on a man to protect her.

michonne feminist

She may be cold and withdrawn in her group but once she has that samurai sword in her hand, she’s fearless and admirable. This lady is downright ballsy – you don’t want to compete with her in a sword fight! Unless you’re Arya Stark of course! Speaking of…

Arya Stark – Game of Thrones

Arya Stark doesn’t want to wear dresses or look ‘pretty’. She doesn’t want to do needlework or impress her future suitor. Arya does ‘masculine’ things. She’d rather wear trousers and pursue her talent in sword-fighting. The young Stark doesn’t conform to female stereotypes and patriarchal standards of femininity and that’s what makes her so enjoyable to watch.

arya stark feminist

She has different ambitions as compared to her more ‘girly’ sister such as getting revenge on those she hates and becoming a Faceless Man. In fact, it is Arya’s smart, brave and fearless nature that has helped her survive and get to where she is now on Game of Thrones. 

Cookie Lyon – Empire

Who said women have to be submissive and impassive? Cookie Lyon certainly didn’t! Empire’s fierce matriarch is determined to be successful and she’s not letting any man stand in her way. She’s the force behind her ex-husband’s success and she’s the one who made Empire (a successful business) possible. Cookie has become a popular female character thanks to her bossy, catty and head-strong ways.

cookie lyon quote

She may throw in the occasional snarky comment, but she is well-respected by everyone around her, including her ex-husband, who’s even quite afraid of her. The leopard-print loving lady oozes self-confidence.  She’s not afraid to be herself –  and that’s an independent woman who works for what she wants and fights for what she deserves.

Whether it’s Olivia Pope’s strong-mindedness or Arya Stark’s fearless nature, these bold and brave ladies have inspired all with their feminist qualities! Have we left out a particular female character that inspires you? Name-drop her in the comment box below…

Tale Teller

As an avid blogger and someone who eats, sleeps and breathes entertainment, I decided to take matters into my own hands and establish a showbiz-themed website. Ever since I can remember, I've been interested in the world of celebrities, have listened to the latest music, and watched the newest movies. My guilty pleasure is watching cheesy reality shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians, but I’m also a sucker for all things Marvel and DC - two entirely different worlds, I know. Other than writing about showbiz, I’m also a part-time freelancer, crafting articles for websites like Career Addict and Pangea.

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