7 Powerful Women in Television
Written by Reid Smith on April 13, 2017
By: Wise Ellis
As a television connoisseur and feminist, there is nothing I love to see more than strong, ambitious, and intelligent yet, flawed and real dynamic female characters. Too often female characters aren’t given the range to be strong, vulnerable, intelligent, imperfect and insecure, especially not simultaneously. It’s important to represent the complexities of women, so young girls can see they don’t have to be monolithic. Here I have compiled a list of a seven (there are so many more) of my favorite characters on TV who represent the type of women I see every day.
In no particular order…
Daenerys Targayren (Emilia Clarke) – Game of Thrones – HBO
After watching the first season of Game of Thrones and realizing how bloodthirsty and power-hungry nearly everyone was, it was easy to love Daenerys, the Mother of Dragons. Over the course of the following five seasons, my adoration for Daenerys has only grown. She, like every other character on the show, has an agenda, but unlike the other characters, Daenerys has strong morals that guide her path to the Iron Throne. Instead of working with the Masters of Slaver’s Bay to strengthen her army, Daenerys defeated them, giving the freed slaves a choice to follow her to conquer Westeros. Plus, she has the only three dragons left in existence!
Issa (Issa Rae) – Insecure – HBO
Image courtesy of HBO
I must preface this entry with the fact that I have loved Issa Rae and her work since her YouTube webseries days. So, when I heard that she would be writing and starring in her own HBO comedy series I was already all in. The character Issa, though, has won my heart in her own right, from her random rap freestyles in the mirror to her side-eyeing of her shady coworkers. What I really love about Issa is her display of imperfection. She doesn’t always handle life’s curveballs well, and it is so relatable, because who does?
Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) – Scandal – ABC
Image courtesy of bellamyyoung.com
First Lady Mellie Grant has always been one of my favorite Scandal characters. Other fans may not have this same point of view because they only saw her as an object in the way of Fitz and Olivia’s forbidden love, which I was never fond of anyway, but Mellie is more than that. She is the definition of long-suffering. For years, Mellie sat in the passenger seat while her much less deserving and ungrateful husband drove to success; success that Mellie really wanted and deserved for herself. So she played along to keep up her polished First Lady appearance so that one day she could be the woman she always envisioned for herself by becoming the leader of the free world.
Michaela Pratt (Aja Naomi King) – How to Get Away with Murder – ABC
Image courtesy of Vox.com
This past season of How to Get Away with Murder has been rough for Shondaland fans – we have suffered a great loss. (I am still recovering.) One silver lining this season, though, was more character development for Michaela. Now, she was already a favorite of mine, because she was always the one rushing into the courtroom just in time to give Annalise whatever evidence she needed to crush her opponents. However, this season Michaela was the sole reason the Keating five didn’t fall completely in shambles. Michaela was everywhere she needed to be. Who helped Laurel when she got released from the hospital? Michaela. Who put Asher’s emotions in check? Michaela. Who was the first person Connor told when he thought he killed Wes? Michaela! All while dealing with her own issues with her relationship and family. We all should aspire to be a friend like Michaela.
Alex Parrish (Priyanka Chopra) – Quantico – ABC
Image courtesy of CNN.com
After losing her father in the line of duty, Alex dedicated her life to joining the FBI. In becoming an agent she learned much more than she had ever imagined, about her father, the people around her and the FBI itself. During her training she proved herself to be a valuable asset to the FBI by exhibiting such bravery, strength and tenacity that overshadowed her female and male counterparts. This makes Alex popular, but not always in a good way. She becomes the target of a disingenuous, ill-intended man who turns the entire country against her by blaming her for a large-scale terrorist attack. Alex embarks on the fight of her life, proving her innocence, while uncovering truths about those she thought she knew so well.
Leila Al-Fayeed (Moran Atias) – Tyrant – FX
Image courtesy of IMDB.com
Married to a political tyrant of the fictional Middle-Eastern country of Abuddin, Leila has spent the majority of her life enjoying the benefits of being a tyrant’s wife. She was initially very unconcerned about the quality of life for the citizens of Abuddin, who were beginning to rebel against the government and her family. After becoming much more aware of the state of her nation, Leila decides to try her hand as a diplomat. She desires to run for president of Abuddin during its first democratic presidential campaign. Leila isn’t very well received by the public because of her past involvement in the tyranny, but she is diligent in changing public perception and in the process her personal beliefs change as well. After her husband’s death, Leila finds real love and is transformed into believing that change is not only good, but sometimes necessary.
Misty Knight (Simone Missick) – Marvel’s Luke Cage – Netflix
Image courtesy of Inverse.com
Misty Knight is a Harlem detective who loves her city and is dedicated to keeping its streets safe. Her determination is admirable, but it often causes her problems. She wants for Luke to be the cause of all the problems in Harlem, even when the evidence clearly doesn’t point to him. She senses that something shady is happening with councilwoman Mariah Dillard, and she again is intent on figuring her out. When everything else is against her Misty doesn’t give up. Her tenacity is often her Achilles heel because it is what makes her so good at what she does, but it often leaves her blind to other possibilities.