The women on this list aren’t just women that are kick ass and awesome– they’re women that I relate to in some way and that I try to emulate. The order they are listed in is the order I thought of them.

1. Buffy Summers – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

This first pick shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. I am a vocal Buffy the Vampire Slayer advocate and think the show has an episode for every part of life. But liking Buffy the show is not why Buffy Summer is on here. What I admire about Buffy (besides the obvious kick-ass-ness) is her resilience. She fights through and bounces back from even the worst of days. Her greatest battles aren’t the ones with flesh and blood demons, they’re the ones with emotions– depression, and fear, and a feeling of isolation. And who wouldn’t love and admire her tenacity?

2. Leslie Knope – Parks and Recreation

As crazy and neurotic as Leslie can be, she’s equally driven, inventive and passionate. As someone prone to neuroses, I need an icon like that. Leslie is also the kind of person who doesn’t give credence to people who put her down– granted, at time she doesn’t seem to realize that people are making fun of her, but still– she just does her thing, naysayers be damned. And who is more blatantly feminist than Leslie Knope? She practically has a shrine to successful/powerful/awesome women in her office. Also, I love her long-winded and often off-topic ramblings because they’re like my own, but funnier.

3. Tami Taylor – Friday Night Lights

Tami Taylor is damn near perfect. I mean, she’s a supportive wife, a loving mother, driven about her
career, and passionate educator to boot. And yet she’s still incredibly human– she has flaws, and unmet dreams and expectations, she fights with her husband and her daughter. Of all the characters on this list, Tami is probably the one I want to be like the most because she’s so well rounded (though the genre of the show from which she hails probably has something to do with it). She’s also really loving- she see’s the best in people, and tries to give everyone a chance. She’s a really charming people person, which is a great skill to have. Plus, I really love her sunglasses… Seriously though, I wish the Taylor’s were real and lived near me, because they seem like the best bunch of people ever. I’d even put up with Julie’s whining if it meant getting to hang out with her family.

4. Lirael – The Abhorsen Trilogy (by Garth Nix)

Lirael is the only character on this list not from a television show, which should say something about the special place she holds in my heart. She’s a character who has always felt different, like an outsider, and in a lot of ways she is. But what she finds is that the reason she’s an outsider is because she’s really destined for this life totally separate from the one she’s been living, the one she believed she was meant for. Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker? Fear is a very real thing for Lirael, but she learns to fight through it, and even in the face of her fear she has a kind of confidence because she knows she’s doing the right thing. At one point, pre-revelation, she considers killing herself but curiosity keeps her from doing so, and of all the reasons to live when you feel like dying I think there’s something beautiful about that one. Plus, she’s a librarian (in one of the coolest libraries, ever)- so how can I not love her?

5. Veronica Mars

Veronica Mars definitely has some trust issues. So, those kind of suck, and I don’t need any more of those, but… trust issues are perfect for being a detective, and her sleuthing skills are one of the reasons she is so awesome. Her deductive reasoning is superb. This girl is clever and witty like no other- jabs, come backs, and cultural references roll off her tongue like nothing. She’s funny, and generally comes across as light-hearted despite all the drama and turmoil in her life. With all the shit that goes on, she just takes it all in stride because she’s got a plan- a mission, if you will. Veronica Mars is going to be an FBI agent– a career which happens to be perfectly suited to this sharp as a tack, whip smart girl. I’d like to suggest a backup plan as an improv actor, because that’s the only other place she could really put her weird accents and ability to make shit up to use. Also, she has a great relationship with her dad (cause like her, he is also awesome), and that’s really nice.