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    51 Seriously Badass Ladies Who Will Make You Proud To Be A Woman

    “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” ― Nora Ephron

    I spend a disproportionate amount of my day thinking about all the awesome women in the world, and how I can be more like them. I've always felt like there was something special about being a woman: an innate, magical strength that could overcome any obstacle. Women are deep, feeling creatures. We spend our days in between the layers of the things that are said, mulling over each moment for a sense of purpose.

    It was strange, then, when I got older and realized that the world didn't always get that girls — women — were magical beings. The older I got, the more I felt the need to defend my specialness, and that of the women around me.

    There are those who aren't interested in what women have to say — they would rather place us as props in a man's story. It's hard not to get dejected when you realize you may not be the protagonist of your own life, but I found solace in the lives of of the strong, interesting, complicated women around me. Women who didn't wait for the world to come to them but rather went after the world. Women who refused to be furniture in someone else's house. These were the women who saved me from myself, who made me want to grow up, and into, the fullest expression of who I could be.

    For as long as I can remember, I've kept a running list of exceptional women in my mind. This is my list; it's not perfect or complete. There are still those whose stories and voices have yet to be heard. I hope one day I can add them to my list. But mostly, I hope you have your own list, and that it never stops growing.

    1. Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, singer/mogul

    2. Gloria Steinem, feminist icon

    Known for: essentially starting the modern feminist movement, co-founding Ms. magazine

    Best quote: “Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke... She will need her sisterhood.”

    3. Mindy Kaling, screenwriter/showrunner/actress/author

    4. Emma Watson, actress/activist

    5. Aung San Suu Kyi, politician/Nobel Peace Prize winner

    6. Christiane Amanpour, broadcast journalist

    7. Tina Fey, screenwriter/showrunner/actress/author

    8. Laverne Cox, actress/activist

    9. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice

    10. Tavi Gevinson, Rookie Mag editor-in-chief/actress

    11. Melissa McCarthy, actress/producer

    12. Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

    13. Veronica Roth, author

    14. Emma Thompson, actress/ screenwriter/author

    15. Oprah Winfrey, former talk show host/ OWN CEO/philanthropist/actress/mogul

    16. J.K. Rowling, author

    17. Emma Stone, actress

    18. Nicki Minaj, rapper

    19. Lena Dunham, actress/director/showrunner/author

    20. Angelina Jolie, actress/activist/director/producer

    21. Shonda Rhimes, showrunner

    22. Marissa Mayer, Yahoo CEO

    23. Jennifer Lawrence, actress

    Known for: portraying Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, tripping and falling at practically every award show (and not caring if she does), and most importantly, always speaking her mind

    Best quote: "I'm never going to starve myself for a part.I don't want little girls to be like, 'Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I'm going to skip dinner.' That's something I was really conscious of during training, when you're trying to get your body to look exactly right. I was trying to get my body to look fit and strong — not thin and underfed."

    24. Janelle Monáe, singer

    25. Barbara Walters, broadcast journalist/TV personality

    26. Jenji Kohan, showrunner

    27. Margaret Cho, comedian/actress

    28. Nora Ephron, writer/director/screenwriter/author

    29. Lorde, singer

    30. Amy Poehler, actress/producer/screenwriter/author

    31. Venus Williams 32. Serena Williams, professional tennis players

    33. Diane Von Furstenberg, designer

    34. Maya Angelou, author/poet/actress

    35. Ellen DeGeneres, host/actress

    36. Meryl Streep, actress

    37. Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States

    38. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO/author

    39. Ellen Page, actress/producer/activist

    40. Barbra Streisand, singer/director/actress

    41. Janet Mock, author/activist

    42. Adele, singer

    43. Kristen Wiig, screenwriter/actress/producer

    44. Sophia Amoruso, Nasty Gal CEO

    45. Taylor Swift, singer

    46. Diane Sawyer, broadcast journalist

    47. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, actress/producer

    48. Zooey Deschanel, actress/producer/HelloGiggles co-founder

    49. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author

    50. Kerry Washington, actress

    51. Hillary Clinton, politician/former First Lady/former U.S. Senator/ former Secretary of State

    So, who's on your list?