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9 Female Characters We Wish We’d Been More Like In High School

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  1. Allow Us to Explain Allow Us to Explain

    Being a teenager can really suck. You're at the cusp of having to make major life decisions about college and possibly moving away from home. There's the stress of school and various personal and social milestones. Hormones are zinging around everywhere. And for eight hours a day, five days a week you're crammed together with tons of other people going through the same thing.

    Some people handle it more gracefully than others, though. Well, some fictional characters do, anyway. To that end, here are 9 Female Characters We Wish We'd Been More Like In High School. Sometimes it's their attitude we admire, other times it's their resilience or their morals or just the circumstances of their lives. Regardless, these are some pretty awesome teens.

    Our runners-up are Sailor Moon, Alex Mack from The Secret World of Alex Mack, Angela and Rayanne from My So-Called Life, and Kimberly, Aisha, and Trini from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

  2. Cordelia Chase, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Cordelia Chase, <em>Buffy the Vampire Slayer</em>

    "Woah, wait," I can hear some of you saying. "You're doing a list on teenage girls you wish you could be more like and you choose Cordy, not Buffy? What the heck, Rebecca?!"

    Guys. At no point did I want my life to be more like Buffy's. She had to stay out late and kill vampires on top of doing normal things like homework. She had to kill her first boyfriend, and it was all up to her to prevent the apocalypse. That's a lot of responsibility, and high school is stressful enough. She's awesome, but she had a crappy life, and that's a package deal when you're the Slayer.

    But Cordelia? I'll admit, when I watched the show the first time I had a knee-jerk reaction against her, because she was popular and mean to nerdy kids, and I was sensitive to both those things. But I rewatched it recently, and wouldn't you know it, Cordy is freaking awesome.

    She doesn't take crap from anyone, including her friends. For all she's the stereotypical ditz, she has more common sense than the rest of the Scooby Gang. And the clincher: In season three Xander cheats on her with Willow (which, if memory serves, he actually implies she bears some responsibility for), so Cordelia dumps him. She's emotionally affected by the breakup, like one would expect, but she has her self-respect too, darnit.

    I can take or leave the popularity and the awful '90s clothes (OK, I can leave those). But the confidence and the blunt attitude? Sign me up.

  3. Ellen Hinkle, The Adventures of Pete & Pete Ellen Hinkle, <em>The Adventures of Pete & Pete</em>

    Reasons Ellen from The Adventures of Pete & Pete is the best:

    —She's "a girl and a friend, but not a girlfriend" to Big Pete. Three cheers for (usually) platonic male/female friendships!

    —She is a dot.

    —She's a huge wresting fan and coached Big Pete when he decided to join the team.

    —She is a dot.

    —Marching. Band. Nerd.

    —She is a dot.

    —She tried to befriend poor, lonely ice cream man Mr. Tastee.

    —In the episode "X = Why?" she led a school-wide revolt against math teachers.

    —She is a dot.

    (Image by Flip Yeah! Adventures of Pete and Pete)

  4. Maxine 'Max' Gibson, Batman Beyond Maxine 'Max' Gibson, <em>Batman Beyond</em>

    Max's early childhood sucked, sure—she pretty much had to raise herself from a very young age—but she powered through and went on to become one of the smartest (definitely) and most well-adjusted (probably) students at her high school. Oh, and she's the best friend and crime-fighting partner of Terry McGinnis, Batman Beyond's Batman, too. And Bruce Wayne likes her, which isn't something that you can say about most people.

    A genius computer hacker, she cooked up a program capable of identifying Gotham's masked baddies. Frankly, I'm impressed that she thought of doing that in the first place. Attention, Gotham City Police Department: A teenager is making your investigative skills look weak. In addition to her intelligence, she sticks up for herself and her friends and can hold her own in a fight. Sure, she has to endure the occasional kidnapping, but she does it with aplomb. Because she's awesome like that.

  5. Lydia Martin, Teen Wolf Lydia Martin, <em>Teen Wolf</em> Teen Wolf has several great female characters, but it's resident math genius/popular girl/fashionista Lydia Martin who'd snagged a spot on this list. Here's why.

    —The aforementioned math genius bit. That's pretty darn cool.

    —Her genius extends not just to math. She's a chemistry whiz who cooks up self-igniting Molotov cocktails like it ain't no thing, and she taught herself archaic Latin because she "was bored with classical Latin."

    —She has wonderful hair.

    —She's immune from becoming a werewolf, which is a handy thing to be in a town overrun by them. Granted, it's not a trait that would come into handy in the real world… but you never know. Better safe than sorry.

    —During a playful bit of flirting she tells a guy she'll punch him in the throat if he kisses her.

    —Allison, the other main female character, has a really awful life at the moment.

    It's not all sunshine and rainbows—she downplays her intelligence so she can be popular, which is problematic. Her boyfriend's a complete jerk. And none of her friends clue her in to all the supernatural insanity going on, even though A) she's heavily involved in it, so someone should probably give her a heads-up, and B) she could probably help them deal with it. (Because, y'know, genius.)

    So, yeah, she's not perfect. And her life's not perfect. But look at that hair.

  6. Hermione Granger Hermione Granger

    Did Hermione's life have a tendency to suck? Darn skippy. Her adolescent years coincided with a tumultuous time, when a Dark Lord was rising and her classmates were getting killed and everything was just really, really crazy for everyone.

    But Hermione pulled through, and that's what I love most about her. Not her smarts, though being the brightest witch of her age (despite the fact that, as a Muggleborn, she didn't have access to magic as a kid the way many of her classmates did) is a pretty cool thing to be. What I admire most about her is her determination, how she always comes through for her friends, even when it breaks the rules or even the law. "Books! And cleverness!," she says in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, "There are more important things, [like] friendship and bravery." But by the end of the series she's more than proven herself in both those areas.

    Plus she's a hard worker; she might be naturally intelligent, but those good grades didn't come from slacking and avoiding her studies. She doesn't back down from what she believes in, either. Though she was mocked repeatedly by friends and rivals alike because of her campaigning for house-elf rights, she never let that stop her.

    Hermione is the Queen of Everything, basically.

  7. Veronica Mars Veronica Mars

    Teen detective Veronica Mars doesn't always have the best life, and there are aspects of her high school years that we would definitely not want for ourselves. Things aren't Buffy-level awful (she doesn't have to kill any boyfriends, for example) but the good of fighting crime—the mystique, the emotional reward of hunting down baddies—is tempered by the bad.

    Still, even though things aren't sunshine and roses, Veronica always bounces back. She doesn't let her morals be compromised. She helps those in need and refuses to let the rich, popular, and powerful get away with criminal behavior. Most high schoolers (myself included, back in the day) are concerned with things like essays and homework and college applications. Veronica is concerned with justice. She's a better teenager than I was.

    Plus, well, being a teen detective is pretty cool, you have to admit. And she's sassy. Who didn't want to be more sassy?

  8. Daria Morgendorffer and Jane Lane, Daria Daria Morgendorffer and Jane Lane, <em>Daria</em>

    You can tell a lot about someone by whether they identify themselves as more of a Jane or a Daria. Me, I'm a Daria, because I was never really artistic. Regardless—and correct me if I'm wrong here—a lot of, if not most of, the geek girls who came of age in the mid-late '90s were somewhat like Daria and Jane, but they wanted to be more like Daria and Jane. That was true for me, anyway. Daria let her inner grumpy cynic fly free in such a way that I only wished I could.

  9. Clarissa Darling (Clarissa Explains It All) and Sabrina Spellman (Sabrina, the Teenage Witch) Clarissa Darling (<em>Clarissa Explains It All</em>) and Sabrina Spellman (<em>Sabrina, the Teenage Witch</eM>)

    Clarissa and Sabrina were both excellent teenage girl characters from the '90s-early '00s, but if you combine them you get a mega-Melissa Joan Hart character whom teenage me would've killed to be more like: Snarky, confident and imaginative with eccentric fashion sense, the ability to make computer games, and, best of all, magic. Having a snot like Ferguson as a little brother would be a pretty decent trade-off for all that.

  10. Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld and Mia Thermopolis from The Princess Diaries Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld and Mia Thermopolis from <em>The Princess Diaries</eM>

    This one is a little (OK, a lot) superficial. I'll admit that. But finding out on your birthday that you're secretly the princess of some far-off kingdom? That's something most teens wouldn't object to.

    DC's Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld gets magic and an occasionally fiery sword with which to fight the forces of injustice. Mia from The Princess Diaries gets Julie Andrews as her grandmother. Then, in the sequel, she gets to mack on James T. Kirk. There's no downside there.

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