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    45 Popular Female Characters From TV And Movies Guaranteed To Inspire You Forever

    From Elle Woods to Cristina Yang, these ladies have paved the way for us all.

    We asked the women of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us which female TV and movie characters have made them feel proud and seen over the years. Here are the amazing results.

    1. Cristina Yang, Grey's Anatomy

    ABC

    "Cristina was independent, strong, and the best female surgeon Seattle Grace had ever seen!"

    β€”sarah122512

    2. Rachel Green, Friends

    NBC

    "She leaves Barry, moves to New York City, and is able to go from a daddy's girl to a strong, single mother with a career by working her way up the ladder."

    β€”daniellem40f7e7031

    3. Olivia Pope, Scandal

    ABC

    "Olivia showed serious selflessness with the clients she took on at Pope & Associates. Plus, she constantly drank red wine while wearing white ensembles and never spilled."

    β€”danielles4c2a035ed

    4. Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation

    NBC

    "Leslie Knope was a woman who knew who she was. She helped me realize that it's OK to love yourself and your life loudly, from your friends to your ambitions and desires."

    β€”vidrioo

    5. Minny Jackson and Aibileen Clark, The Help

    DreamWorks Pictures

    "They were all so strong and tested the social norms while risking their lives to share their personal stories to the world."

    β€”paigecarrier

    6. Mulan, Mulan

    Walt Disney Pictures

    "She disguised herself to save her father from going to war, worked her way from being the worst soldier to the best in the Chinese army, and earned respect and honor from all of China as a woman."

    β€”icehexx

    7. Hermione Granger, Harry Potter

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    "Even though she got discriminated for being a muggle born, it never brought her down. She was very intelligent with a lot of loyalty, and she was always ready to break the rules in order to defend what she believed in."

    β€”imanawesomecther

    8. Mindy Lahiri, The Mindy Project

    Hulu

    "Mindy shows that women don't have to just be one thing -- foolish, beautiful, or funny -- you can be all those things at once, just like real women are."

    β€”jkwalsh8

    9. Jane Villanueva, Jane the Virgin

    The CW

    "Jane juggled an unplanned pregnancy, starting her writing career, and being a new parent all at once! She never made it look easy, which was refreshing, and when she kept her values regardless of judgement, I felt like I could finally relate to someone."

    β€”brafeeat

    10. Elle Woods, Legally Blonde

    MGM

    "As a child I always assumed I'd one day fit into the female gender norms that surrounded me everyday, but Elle taught me you can do anything you want in the world and be amazing at it!"

    β€”emiliaw45c46acbe

    11. Rosa Diaz, Brooklyn Nine-Nine

    NBC

    "Rosa Diaz never let anyone tell her what to do and I aspire to have that level of confidence."

    β€”ava123cool

    12. Lana Winters, American Horror Story: Asylum

    FX

    "Lana was unashamed of her ambition and never abandoned her fighting spirit, even when she was faced with unimaginable obstacles. She went through the wringer and still maintained her humanity."

    β€”clairemercie

    13. Daenerys Targaryen, Game of Thrones

    HBO

    "She was kind, empathetic, and refused to abandon anyone if they needed rescuing. All hail Daenerys Targaryen, breaker of chains, mother of dragons, and 1,000 other powerful titles she's held."

    β€”angiepereida

    14. Shuri, Black Panther

    Marvel

    "It was so empowering as a woman to see an all female army protecting a king! Not only that, but Shuri is so iconic. She's a smart, technological genius -- it's been refreshing to see independent women in films."

    β€”maddsb

    15. Annalise Keating, How to Get Away with Murder

    ABC

    "Annalise is complex, has huge flaws, and an incredible amount of strength. I love female characters who don't care about being likable. I've literally applauded her during episodes of How to Get Away with Murder."

    β€”hannamcg

    16. Miranda Priestly, The Devil Wears Prada

    20th Century Fox

    "Miranda taught us that you don't have to be a man to be strong and confront difficult situations."

    β€”advaitac

    17. Kat Stratford, 10 Things I Hate About You

    Buena Vista Pictures

    "She was never afraid to speak her mind and didn't care about what anyone thought of her."

    β€”brennag4aee6ee1b

    18. Olivia Benson, Law & Order: SVU

    NBC

    "The way she helped people, especially victims, and fought for others instead of herself made me wish Olivia Benson was a real person. She went through hell and came back stronger than ever."

    β€”iness41a35c65e

    19. Princess Leia, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope

    Lucasfilm

    "Leia might've been a princess, but she was certainly no damsel in distress! She showed me that I could be a leader and make a difference, no matter who tried to tell me differently."

    β€”katek444bf14ea

    20. Miranda Bailey, Grey's Anatomy

    ABC

    "She made her way up through the surgical program by working hard and standing her ground. She fought for what she believed she deserved, which has made her a truly inspiring character."

    β€”amberj4ffe70a6c

    21. Princess Tiana, The Princess and the Frog

    Walt Disney Pictures

    "At the time I was too young to understand the feeling, but now I know that seeing a princess that looked even remotely like me was exhilarating. I love Disney princesses, but having one that was dark skinned and saved herself and Prince was something else."

    β€”roryfae

    22. Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    "Whenever I saw Wonder Woman in her iconic getup, and I got chills. She's been everything I've ever wanted to be and I like to think that if she was a real person, she would've believed in me too."

    β€”opalmagic

    23. Maxine Shaw, Khadijah James, Regine Hunter, and Synclaire James, Living Single

    Fox

    "The ladies of Living Single were the best! When I was a kid, some boy called me Synclaire as an insult, but now I have no problem with it. She was the heart of the group."

    β€”iwantmypinkshirtback

    24. Jillian Holtzmann, Ghostbusters

    Sony Pictures

    "Her montage of killing dozens of ghosts made me feel so empowered. Boys have always had these fantastical crazy characters growing up, so it made me so happy to finally have character as a woman."

    β€”gabig414b0fcc8

    25. Peggy Olson, Mad Men

    AMC

    "Even through terrible apartments and even worse boyfriends, she kept her head up high and always stayed true to herself. Whenever she argued with Don, I LIVED."

    β€”courtneyannes

    26. Olive Penderghast, Easy A

    Screen Gems

    "Olive was funny, nerdy, sensitive, and confident because she's a real human who felt so many things at once. What a wonderfully written character!"

    β€”abbyc44a4a80a4

    27. Lisa Simpson, The Simpsons

    Fox

    "Ever since I was a little kid in primary school, she always made me feel cool because she was intelligent and always stood up for what she believed in."

    β€”hollyenjoysfood

    28. Octavia Blake, The 100

    The CW

    "Octavia from The 100 has been a strong, female lead in the show. She is a total badass."

    β€”samanthaf4d02952e6

    29. Catwoman, Batman Returns

    Warner Bros.

    "Catwoman showed me women can be unapologetically sexy, fierce, and badass at the same time. Even though she bordered on the good and bad spectrum, I always wanted to be just like her."

    β€”shaughny

    30. Blanche Devereaux, The Golden Girls

    NBC

    "I've felt inspired by so many women on TV, but this one is my Queen. Growing up, she taught me how to be the lady I am today."

    β€”e4ada6546c

    31. Donna Meagle, Parks and Recreation

    NBC

    "She taught us to 'Treat Yo Self!'"

    β€”bybdauthor

    32. Veronica Mars, Veronica Mars

    Warner Bros.

    "She was both a smart and awesome woman, and the scariest little being on the planet for criminals."

    β€”katem405562d9c

    33. Poussey Washington, Orange is the New Black

    Netflix

    "Poussey wasn't ashamed of who she was, she was open-minded, and she didn't let anyone stop her from shining."

    β€”jalissaj

    34. Aunt Viv, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

    NBC

    "She's one of the biggest examples of a married black woman who can hold down the home and pursue her own career -- and SLAYED while doing it!"

    β€”maxineblythe

    35. Dr. Ellie Sattler, Jurassic Park

    Universal Pictures

    "She was an amazing Paleobotanist who survived multiple raptor attacks, and a strong female lead without being the stereotypical love interest. I looked up to her as a young girl, especially when she said, 'Look, we can discuss sexism in survival situations when I get back.'"

    β€”deniseab

    36. Matilda Wormwood, Matilda

    TriStar Pictures

    "Matilda taught me it doesn't matter if you're little or young: as long as you're clever and you demand justice, you're as strong as can be."

    β€”squidees

    37. Pam Beesly, The Office

    NBC

    "Pam Beesly's transformation throughout The Office was INCREDIBLE. She went from being a shy receptionist in a bad relationship to standing up for herself and getting what she actually wanted."

    β€”ebknoll

    38. Shug Avery, The Color Purple

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    "Shug Avery taught me about the true value of strong female relationships and how they allow for self-empowerment."

    β€”gabriellekira

    39. Penny Proud, The Proud Family

    Disney Channel

    "When I look back, I think of how much culture was actually implemented in The Proud Family given the time period. I was to grow up watching a black girl like Penny Proud play the main character on one of the best shows Disney ever produced."

    β€”samiyahm

    40. Joan Clayton, Girlfriends

    The CW

    "Growing up I always wanted to be Toni, but the older I got, the more I realized I was Joan and it was OK because she was an absolute boss."

    β€”foreverasya

    41. Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

    The WB

    "Despite having to save the world every day from vampires and other demons, she still managed to stay true to herself and maintain the strong bond she had with her friends."

    β€”naraavakian

    42. Issa Dee, Insecure

    HBO

    "I appreciate and commend her on her relatable ability to embody what it's meant to be a smart, funny, and lovable black woman."

    β€”autumnrosew

    43. Katie Morosky, The Way We Were

    Columbia Pictures

    "Barbra Streisand's character in The Way We Were was incredible. She was a woman in a love story who refused to put up with being bossed around."

    β€”reneeg4b6965340

    44. Mary Jackson, Katherine Goble Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Hidden Figures

    20th Century Fox

    "It showed women excelling at excellent careers despite being black women in the 1960s. They literally paved the way for NASA and didn't let anybody get in their way."

    β€”monikap6

    45. And Mary Richards, The Mary Tyler Moore Show

    CBS

    "Mary Richards taught me a woman doesn't have to depend on anyone else but herself in order to live a happy, fulfilling life."

    β€”kaylayandoli

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