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Top Ten Fictional Female Role Models That Are Better Than Twilight’s Bella Swan


It’s almost that time of year again.  No, I’m not talking about Halloween, although this particular upcoming event strikes more fear into my heart than Freddy Kreuger ever could.  No, dear friends, I’m talking about the release of the newest Twilight movie. The Sparkly-Vampire-Sexy-Werewolf-Brooding-Girl love story that captured the world and made girls everywhere start looking for their “Edward.”

The Zeros Before the One’s Claudia Maittlen-Harris wrote an article about her (positive) experience with Twilight. I’ve got a slightly different take.  Twilight terrifies me.  Not because I’m a horror story wimp (I challenge anyone to a scary movie watch-off.  I will win.  Trust.) but because I weep for the younger generation of women.

Twilight’s heroine, Bella Swan, is a terrible role model for young girls to look up to.  She gives up her entire life for a man.  And one she meets when she’s seventeen.  While I do know several people that are happily married to their high school sweethearts, let’s be honest: we don’t always make the best decisions when we’re seventeen.  I’m as romantic as the next girl, but I’m also an adult and I believe that our young women should have someone better to look up to than a girl who broods over a boy and, ultimately, is willing to die for him.  C’mon, ladies!  Look to the strong!  The fearless!  The Kick Butt Girls!  Here are some suggestions, in case you’re in the market for a new (fictional) role model:

10. Princess Giselle (Enchanted)
Disney has never been known for its “Girl Power” stance, but Princess Giselle changed all that.  She captured the hearts and changed the minds of everyone that met her—AND saved the knight in shining armor.

9. Nancy Thompson (A Nightmare on Elm Street [1, 3])
Horror movies are rife with strong females.  Think about it: who always winds up surviving?  The plucky heroine!  And Nancy Thompson, the heroine of the original Nightmare on Elm Street, ranks up there with the best.  She figured out the killers motives, set booby traps and, ultimately, saved the day.

8. Detective Olivia Benson (Law and Order: SVU)
As the only female cop on Law and Order: SVU, Detective Benson has to walk the fine line between female sensitivity and tough-as-nails attitude.  Sure, she’s got her fair share of demons but she’s always working for the victim and the greater good.

7.  Peggy Olson (Mad Men)
We all know how enthusiastically I wax about Mad Men, but Peggy really is a Girl Power kind of girl.  She’s ambitious, resourceful and doesn’t take no for an answer.  We should all aspire to have her guts.

6. Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)

Katniss is, in many ways, the anti-Bella.  She tries not to let any man interfere with her goals.  She’s deadly with a bow and arrow and she’s fiercely loyal.  What’s not to admire?

5. Samantha Jones (Sex and the City)
Okay, so Sex and the City isn’t exactly a hot bed of feminism.  However, the female Lothario incarnate that is Samantha Jones definitely has some qualities worth admiring. She sees something she wants and she goes for it.  She has, if you’ll pardon the expression, quite a set of balls.

4. Hermoine Granger (Harry Potter Series)
Harry Potter’s go-to girl is always there to get her friends out of sticky situation.  Hermoine plays with the boys and runs circles around them in terms of strength, bravery and, yes, spell casting.  You go, Muggle Girl.

3. Jo March (Little Women)
Little Women author Louisa May Alcott based the character of Jo March on herself. Jo has the characteristics that every girl should aspire to have: she was protective of her sisters, resourceful, creative and intelligent.  Louisa May Alcott must have been an awesome person to know.

2. Ellen Ripley (Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, Alien Resurrection)
Running like a total bad ass with a gun? Check.  Fighting off aliens throughout the centuries? Check.  Maternal instincts? Check.  Looks awesome bald? Check.  ‘Nuff said.

1.  Buffy Summers (Buffy, the Vampire Slayer)
It all comes back to vampires, doesn’t it?  Buffy Summers (aka Buffy the Vampire Slayer) could not be more different than Bella.  Sure, they both fell in love with the undead – but Buffy was willing to kill her love in order to save the world.  In fact, most of what Buffy did revolved around saving the world and not keeping her man.  You want romance, vampires, sassy dialogue and a female heroine for the ages?  Look no further.


Elisabeth Fitzgerald

About the author: Elisabeth Fitzgerald

Elisabeth Fitzgerald is a Chicago born, Los Angeles based writer. In addition to writing fiction and non-fiction, she also works in the entertainment industry. When not holed up with a pen in her hand or a script at her side, she enjoys Tejano music, vintage clothing and tricking herself into exercising with yoga. Her dislikes catalog a number of prominent ZEROS.

Elisabeth has written 63 articles for us.

2 Responses to “Top Ten Fictional Female Role Models That Are Better Than Twilight’s Bella Swan”

  1. Claudia Maittlen-Harris October 12, 2011 at 11:57 am

    In my defense, I don’t LOVE Twilight – I just got sucked in. I’m not totally lame (well, maybe a little – but I already feel massive guilt for outing my hidden Twilight addiction!!) And trust me, no woman is reading or watching the films for Bella.

  2. February 5, 2013 at 1:30 am

    Come one guys…. Eowyn from Lord of the Rings definitly deserved to be there.

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