So I was asked the other day by the author of this post to come up with my Top 10 list of women on TV. This has been a really hard list to come up with. Partially because I don’t watch a lot of TV, but also partially because there’s a lot of good candidates for this list. It was hard to pick 10 women for the list, and they’re really not in any particular order. It seems unfair to rank them because for one, there’s really no criteria on which to compare them, but also because this is not a popularity list. It’s merely 10 women who I had to pick to feature. (Plus some “honorable mentions” at the end.)
Cindy “Mac” Mackenzie
To use an analogy to another show… Mac is Veronica Mars’ Willow. She’s the geeky friend who is always willing to help out with the geeky things that Veronica needs, but doesn’t know how to do. She seems to always be willing to give, and never really ask for much in return. (It’s been a bit since I watched the show, so I’m trying to remember if there was much other than to dig up dirt on her parents.)
In a time when men ruled television, she broke through the glass CRT tube to prove that an independent woman, with spunk, was able to make it in a male dominated field.
It might seem odd that I’d include an 8-year-old cartoon character on the list, but she’s a much more complex character than any 8-year-old should be. She’s routinely the moral voice for what appears to be a very immoral family, and town in general. (I could probably cite a dozen examples in that regard.) She has to be given credit to while still being a kid (except for the few episodes where we look into the future, where in at least one episode we see that she’s become President of the USA) she still manages to tackle real world issues. (Human rights, political causes, body issues, etc.)
Inara herself is an interesting character. We see a woman, who is constantly the subject of comments from the captain of the ship that she is renting space on, who is comfortable with herself. She works as a companion, which by definition sounds a lot like what in common day would be called an escort, but by the standards of the day, is actually a highly respected person. She’s tough and takes no crap, and at the same time is all dark and mysterious.
Yet another animated character on my list. Daria is one of those girls who personally, I look at and see a lot of me in her. She’s the “outcast” in the high school. She’s complex yet presents a front like she has no problems and is fine with things how they are. Higly intellegent, but yet can’t figure out how to deal with social situations very well. She’s never really worried about how she looks, or how people think of her. She’s her own woman.
While probably not the first LGBT person to ever be on television, she shocked the nation when she came out on her television show. I remember the episode vaugely, and I know that there was a huge controversy surrounding it, but it was a big moment to break down some of barriers that LGBT actors and actresses have in Hollywood. Plus, Ellen just rocks!
Rachel is probably one of, if not the, best television commentator on-air right now. While she herself is a self-proclaimed liberal, and her show airs on the more left-leaning MSNBC, she does seem to take a middle-of-the-road approach to the subjects she’s commenting on. She’s also proof that a highly educated woman can make it in the male-dominated world of television news…in real life. As opposed, of course, to Mary Richards, mentioned above, who was a character in a fictional television show. (And I’ll fully admit that I’ve been a total fan of Rachel’s since the first time I heard her way back on her Air America show.)
Shane is a troubled character, who can’t hold a relationship, has messed up countless times, but is fiercely loyal to her true friends. She’s one of those women who you want on your side, and really wouldn’t want to be the enemy of. I think her character provides an important, “reality” based viewpoint to the rest of the characters on the L-Word.
Ok… Someone is going to ask me why I’m including the “villain” of Glee on my list. While she comes across as being the “bad guy” on the show, she plays an important couterpart to the relaxed, good-meaning nature of Will. However, we’ve seen that she does, infact, have a softer side to herself, in the way that she interacts with her sister. She’s a mysterious character and plays a critical role in balancing out the show.
A geek, a scientist, a woman. She’s the anti-Penny in the world of the Big Bang Theory.
Those are my 10. I do have to give some honorable mentions out, however, because, as I stated before, it’s hard to pick 10 women for a list like this. My “honorable mention” list is as follows:
Willow Rosenburg — I intentionally was trying to not repeat anyone that was on the origial list. However, I feel that her character was instrumentally important to the Buffy series. She went from the quiet, geeky one in the room, to being revealed as a complex, and outspoken character.
Oprah Winfrey — How could there be a list of women on television that did not include Oprah? As big as she’s become now, you have to remember that she worked hard to get where she is now. She went from the host of a local talkshow, in Chicago, to an internationally known television personallity.
Clarissa Darling — Again, I wasn’t trying to repeat the original list, but I have to give a shout out to Clarissa. She’s one of the first characters on television that I remember having a “connection” with.
Kari Byron — The Mythbuster that proves that it’s ok for women to like science, technology and big explosions.
Appoligies to anyone I have forgotten to include on my list. And for the horribleness of my writing. Sadly, not my best writing, but it’s been a long week.