As the father of three daughters—all of whom love movies, books, theater, music, photography, popular culture, and more—I’ve always been sensitive to media’s powerful influence on girls. And I’ve prided myself in having sought out female role models that I hoped would inspire and motivate each of daughters. The oldest two are adults now (except for the “Hey-Dad-could-you-please-send-money” part, which I expect will last another decade or so) and are smart, talented, independent, and competent. The youngest, though barely a teenager, is clearly on the same path.
Considering how much media content Netflix streams, it has a tremendous amount of power to shape the way girls see themselves—and the rest of us see them. Here, in no particular order, are 10 strong female characters that my daughters and I love. Give ‘em a chance and you’ll love them too. Not all of these shows are appropriate for girls of all ages, so preview them before you let your kids watch.
Claire Underwood in House of Cards. She’s ruthless, cunning, devious, creepy, and definitely not someone whose wrong side you ever want to see.
Kara and Alex Danvers in Supergirl. One is from another planet, the other is an earthling, but they’re both independent and strong (though in very different ways).
Eleven in Stranger Things. She’s quiet and shy and somewhat reserved, but the power within is unmistakable.
Melinda May, Jemma Simmons, Skye, and Bobi Morse in Agents of Shield. A soldier, a chemist, a computer geek, and a badass fighter. Who could ask for more?
Michonne, Maggie, Sasha, Rosita, and others in The Walking Dead. In a world where even the strong can die unexpectedly, these women have outlived just about everyone—and deservedly so.
Liv Moore in iZOMBiE. Liv Moore—Live More, get it?
Jessica Jones in Jessica Jones. Jessica is like many of the other powerful female characters in the Marvel universe. But her struggles, her doubts, and how she overcomes them are a real inspiration.
Black Mirror has strong female characters in just about every episode.
Violet (and Sunny) Series of Unfortunate Events. Armed with wit, smarts, engineering talents, and some seriously sharp teeth, these two always manage to keep themselves and their brother, Klaus, out of Olaf’s clutches.
Deidra & Laney Rob a Train. As Walter White learned in “Breaking Bad,” desperate circumstances can drive ordinary people do to extraordinary (and extraordinarily crazy) things.
Disclosure: I’m a member of the #Netflix #StreamTeam and receive occasional product and early access to programming. But every word I write is all mine.