10 Strong Female Characters We Just Can't Get Enough Of

Are you tired of seeing male characters getting all the attention while their wives and girlfriends sit back, requiring protection and being portrayed as weak? Well, same here. However, there are a number of strong female characters in books, movies, and shows that deserve more attention than they get. And I'm going to give them that attention.

a list of strong female characters in books, movies, and shows

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I have compiled a list of 10 female characters that I find strong and inspiring. This list, by no means says that these 10 characters are the only strong characters. I just selected a few of my personal favorites. 

What is the definition of a strong female character?

This, again, is subjective. Definitions may vary. In my opinion, a strong female character is not necessarily someone who is physically strong. It is someone who overcomes all obstacles she faces, refuses to give up, and stays resilient in the face of danger or hardships. It is someone who stands up for herself and others.

To quote Amir from The Kite Runner, sometimes cliches are the best way to describe something. So I'll use one (please forgive me, 11th grade English teacher). A strong female character is a force to be reckoned with. An independent being who isn't afraid to be alone. She does get scared sometimes, she does feel helpless, but never for long. She recovers, she gets back up, she conquers. 

Okay, I'm rambling. Let's get to the list. 

1. Emma Carstairs

Emma Carstairs is a character in Cassandra Clare's series, The Dark Artifices. The Dark Artifices does not have a movie adaptation, so here's a fan-art I got from online. 

fanart by someone else of emma carstairs

Emma Carstairs is one of the best fictional warriors I have ever read about. Swift with her sword, she is ready to cut anyone's throat if they threaten her or the people they love. Apart from her wonderful fighting skills, her sarcasm is divine. It doesn't matter if she's about to die; she just has to get a sarcastic remark in.

Her first chance to shine was when Sebastian Morgenstern, the villain in City of Heavenly Fire embarked on his mission to make an army of Endarkened Shadowhunters to help him bring down the Clave; the governing body of Shadowhunters. She was only twelve, and she was not supposed to fight. However, she had no choice when the Endarkened burst into the hall where she was hiding with the other children. She defended her friends bravely and expertly. 

Five years later, she set off to avenge her dead parents, defeating the killer, and later killing one of the Riders of Mannan, who were said to be on the Earth longer than anyone else and who no one had ever defeated before.

2. Isabelle Lightwood

Isabelle Lightwood is an important character in another one of Cassandra Clare's series; The Mortal Instruments

a character in mortal instruments

The first time we see Isabelle, she is at a club where she asks a demon disguised as a human to come into a private room with her. The demon, delighted, thinks she is a human who has no idea that he will kill and eat her. On going inside, she takes out her whip, capturing him, revealing her scars; her marks of battle. 

Isabelle Lightwood, through out the series, shows that she is and will be there for the people she loves no matter what. She fights bravely, schemes cleverly, and loves dearly. Apart from being an amazing warrior, she is also excellent at dressing up, putting makeup, and getting guys to love her. Glamorous, beautiful, fierce, and loving, she is a force to be reckoned with. A storm in the shape of a flower. 

3. Mariam

Mariam is a character in one of Khaled Hosseini's renowned books; A Thousand Splendid Suns. After her mother dies, and her father's wives want her gone, she is forced to marry a shoe-maker who is thirty years older than her. She suffers a great deal, as her husband becomes abusive.

Despite this, when her husband marries another woman, Laila, who stays with them, she loves her and her daughter dearly. She gives her hope as they both suffer. Later, when their husband nearly strangles Laila, Mariam kills him with a shovel. She then sends Laila to Pakistan with her children, staying back, taking the blame, and facing execution.

I do not believe that staying quiet and resilient in the face of abuse should be an admired quality. Rather, women should be encouraged to leave abusive marriages.

However, the thing I admire about Mariam is that despite her fear, she does not stop loving Laila. She sacrifices herself for her. Moreover, killing her husband to save Laila was also something that had to have taken guts.

4. Tris Prior

Tris is a popular female character who appeared in Veronica Roth's series; Divergent

main character in divergent

Divergent is set in a dystopian Chicago where people are divided into factions, each faction representing a different value. Tris is born into Abnegation; a faction valuing selflessness. However, she does not feel like she fits in there. When she is given the choice - as every sixteen-year-old is, she leaves her faction and goes to Dauntless; the faction valuing bravery. 

There, she is faced with different challenges. The current leaders are harsh and violent. She is forced to fight people until one of them can not fight anymore, throw knives at targets, and shoot guns. When her faction leaders side with Erudite, the faction valuing knowledge in taking down Tris' old faction; Abnegation, she has to act fast to protect her family. 

Tris has a dangerous secret. One that can help her protect those she loves, but can also get her killed. She struggles to protect herself and her loved ones, fights bravely, and takes risks, yearning to do the right thing. She makes discoveries about herself on the way - as well as discoveries about the true meaning of bravery.

Tris is always ready to sacrifice herself if it means protecting others. She is always ready to fight anyone and everyone if they are a threat to her friends. She is resilient, brave, and determined.

5. Starr

Starr is the main character in Angie Thomas' popular book; The Hate U Give

main character in the hate u give

Starr is in a car with her friend, Khalil, when they get pulled over by a cop, just because they are black. The cop asks Khalil to step out. When Khalil leans in to ask Starr if she is okay, the cop shoots him several times, leaving him bleeding on the road. 

Starr's life turns upside down. She always thought that if she witnessed something like this, she would say something. But at first, she finds herself silent and confused. Later, she decides to speak up, giving a statement in the police station and then doing an interview on television. She joins in protests, she leads chants, and she ends up throwing a can of tear gas back at the police officers who threw it at the crowd. 

The reason I like Starr is because she is not exactly the type of brave you usually see. She is scared, she is confused, and she is upset. She struggles in what to do, but at the end, she does the right thing. That's realistic. That's inspiring. That's brave.

6. Anne Shirley

Anne Shirley is the main character in the popular classic, Anne of Green Gables.

main character in anne of green gables

Orphaned, alone, bullied, tormented, Anne Shirley lives a difficult life from the time she is born. After working for an abusive couple for a long time, she is delighted when she gets to know that Marilla and Mathew Cuthbert want to adopt her. Her hopes are shattered when she finds out that they actually wanted a boy. Events transpire and the Cuthberts grow fond of her, finally deciding to keep her.

Once that is finalized, Anne faces newer problems. She does not fit in at school, she is made fun of for being an orphan, and speaking up - something she is great at - is looked down upon. 

Despite that, Anne does not give up. She stands up for herself and for others, she gets back up when she falls down, she works hard, and she remains positive. She looks forward to new days, she believes that things always have the ability to get better, and she smiles, despite everything she goes through. 

Later, she thrives. She succeeds, and everything gets better. It all owes credit to her resilience.

7. Katniss Everdeen

Katniss Everdeen is the protagonist in the bestseller, The Hunger Games trilogy.

main character in the hunger games

Her first act of bravery occurs when her little sister, Prim gets selected to participate in the Hunger Games. The games involve two people from each district getting selected to fight each other and survive until only one person lives. 

Before the games, she is the sole breadwinner of her family, spending hours shooting animals and working to feed her family.

During the training in the days before the games, an assessment by the people of the Capitol takes place. The group of people are so busy focusing on a pig on the table in front of them that they pay no attention to Katniss. She gets angry and shoots the pig, pinning it to the wall. 

During the games, she fights bravely and cleverly, even protecting Peeta, the other candidate from her district. She remains brave, resilient and determined through out.

8. Rosa Diaz

Rosa Diaz is a central character in the popular sitcom, Brooklyn 99. Her badass attitude makes her a Netflix favorite. 

cop in brooklyn 99
Badass, straightforward, and seemingly fearless, Rosa Diaz is a woman who no one ever messes with. Apart from being an excellent detective, she is also a great friend, an excellent archer, and a clever schemer. She is someone who would be there for you when you need her, but who would also break your arm if you get on her bad side. Occasionally, her carefully hidden emotions show, revealing the sensitive person she really is.

9. Allison Argent

Allison Argent is a character in the hit series, Teen Wolf on Netflix.

character in teen wolf

Allison Argent is born in a hunter's family. While she is occasionally mislead and brainwashed by some of her family members into thinking that all werewolves, including her boyfriend, Scott, are bad, she always sees the truth, then using her skills for good. She is an absolute badass, looking gorgeous in her gear, and has an amazing target with her arrow. She is brave, always up for a challenge, and always ready to protect those who need protecting. 

10. Petra Solano

Petra Solano is a significant character in the popular Netflix show, Jane The Virgin

character in jane the virgin

Coming from nothing, raised by a terrible woman, born in a poor country, Petra finally comes to Miami where she is married to the owner of the Hotel Marbella; Rafael Solano. Despite problems in their marriage, obstacles in her path, and a crazy ex-lover, she does everything in her power to gain control, ending up with a 2/3 share of the Marbella. The hotel booms under her control, but the problems do not end. Despite that, she raves on, doing everything she can, and later ends up owning the whole of the Marbella. 

Petra has made mistakes. However, she changes herself and the people who loved her before, including the people who hated her, grow to like her. She builds a life for herself out of nothing, not allowing anything or anyone to hold her back.

That's about it for this list. If you have any characters to add, let me know in the comments! What do you think of my list? Do you think any one of them do not deserve to be on here? Why?

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  1. These are some great female characters! My favorite is Katniss!

  2. I freaking LOVE Rosa Diaz!!! For SO many reasons! Also, good call on Petra - her character/role would definitely get more respect if she was a guy.

    1. I love rosa too!! I know, right? Business skills in women should be admired more

  3. I'm also a huge fan of Rosa. I'm gratified to see characters like Katniss, Anne, and Starr having leading roles in best-selling books and films. After watching the reboot of Perry Mason, I would like to add Della Street to your list. Somehow I think she and Rosa would get along like a house on fire.

    1. Yes, I'm gratified too! I do not know Della Street but I'm sure she's amazing!

  4. This is the best! Tris, Starr, and Katniss have been favorites of mine since I first read their books.

    1. Thank you! They're my favorites too, right after Emma Carstairs!

  5. I only know a few of these characters, but seems like they all have the good stuff in common! A strong female character, even if fictional, can be so inspiring!

  6. LOL Petra didn't seem to quite fit in with the rest of the group but you can't deny she's a female force to reckon with!!

    1. She may be different from the rest but she is still a strong female character.

  7. I loved Petra too! A Thousand Splendid Suns is one of my favorite and loved Mariam's character.

  8. I absolutely love Tris, such a great character!