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19 Strong Female Characters Who Aren't Physically Strong

Women don’t need to be able to physically crush men in order to crush the patriarchy.

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1. Elle Woods, Legally Blonde


Elle Woods would never punch a dude in the face — she might break a nail — but she would tear apart his alibi in court, and critique his outfit to boot.


5. Hermione Granger, Harry Potter

Warner Bros.

Hermione Granger prefers reading and following the rules over sports and dueling. She is also a badass social activist and many-times savior of the trio who stands up for herself and her beliefs.

6. Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, Gilmore Girls

Lorelai Gilmore has no problem asking Luke to fix up her house, and Rory made a home-cooked dinner for Dean dressed like Donna Reed. Yet both are strong, smart, goal-driven women, starting their own businesses and going to Yale and such.


8. Annie Walker, Bridesmaids

Universal Pictures

Annie Walker is not particularly strong, physically or mentally, when she’s lost her job, her apartment, and her asshole boyfriend. But she’s a stronger female character because she goes through these tribulations and grows.

9. Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation


Leslie Knope is a tiny, delightful ball of sunshine who is basically just adorable when she gets angry. She doesn’t physically intimidate anyone, but she does tear down gender stereotypes, love her fellow woman, and work harder than any male politician in Pawnee.


10. Sophia Burset, Orange Is the New Black

As a 6-foot tall former firefighter, Sophia Burset probably is physically strong. But that's not what makes her a strong female character. She sticks to hairdressing and avoiding confrontation in prison while tirelessly fighting the patriarchy for her right to exist as a trans woman.

12. Alice Howland, Still Alice

Sony Classic Pictures

Dr. Alice Howland, played by Julianne Moore in the film version of the bestselling novel, is anything but physically strong as she goes through the stages of familial Alzheimer's disease. But her incredible emotional journey make her one hell of a strong female character.


13. Nyota Uhura, Star Trek Into Darkness

Paramount Pictures

Undoubtedly, Uhura's status as a strong female character suffers from her lack of lines and the Star Trek reboot's general sexism. Still, the potential is there: Even though she's not a trained fighter, she gets sent on the mission because she speaks Klingon better than any one of the males she's surrounded by.

14. Kimmy Schmidt, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt


Kimmy Schmidt's love of candy and bright colors and her middle school demeanor don't exactly connote physical strength. Yet she's an abuse survivor who refuses to be broken by New York City.


16. Hushpuppy, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Fox Searchlight Pictures

Being that she is a 6-year-old child, Hushpuppy doesn't exude physical strength. Yet she is an amazingly strong little girl who learns how to face her demons.

17. Jessica Day, New Girl


Jess cries all the time, loves cute accessories, and is pretty much the opposite of all things masculine. She's also a strong woman who loves herself and is making it on her own.


18. Cristina Yang, Grey's Anatomy


Cristina Yang values her brain above all else, and she doesn't need physical strength to be the ambitious, brilliant, kick-ass surgical intern-cum-chief medical officer that she is.

19. Cher Horowitz, Clueless

Paramount Pictures

Cher is a terrible driver and would never physically exert herself in any way. She's also tough, clever, supportive of other women, and doesn't take any shit from men.

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