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I Have Words for Whoever Compiled the Hollywood Reporter’s List of the 50 Favorite Female Characters

The Hollywood Reporter retweeted their list of “Hollywood’s 50 Favorite Female Characters” from 2016, and even though it is old news, the fact that they are bringing it back in honor of International Women’s Month makes it fair game for taking a closer look at.

A list of 50 women that includes a whopping two black women (both from shows produced by Shonda Rhimes) and one fictional Asian character, Mulan, the only animated character on the list.

Now, I get that Felicity Smoak is enjoyed by people on the internet that are not me, but you mean to tell me that there are no women of color who deserved that spot? Nevermind that she at #15 is ranked higher than Xena, but that’s another issue. Out of all the history of Hollywood and television, when compiling a list of women they could only come up with three non-white women.

Not only is that sad, it’s embarrassing. So much so I have no idea why they decided to bring it back to the light of day, without updating it. I mean we live in a post-Black Panther world now; there are plenty of women that could be on that list from television and film. In fact, here are ten off the top of my head:

  1. Jane Gloriana Villanueva (Jane The Virgin)
  2. Yu Shu Lien (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)
  3. Coffy or Any Character Played By Pam Grier Ever
  4. Issa (Insecure)
  5. Agent Melinda May (Agents of Shield)
  6. Elisa Maza (Gargoyles)
  7. Jessica Huang (Fresh off the Boat)
  8. Celie (The Color Purple)
  9. Anita Palacio (West Side Story)
  10. Cristina Yang (Grey’s Anatomy)

It is not enough to highlight women in media, if you are going to lower the bar and include half the female cast of Game of Thrones, but have no room at the table for WOC. In addition, the list is overwhelmingly straight, with only Annalise Keating (bisexual) and Xena (implied/WOG bisexual) carrying the list of queer female characters. Do you also need some queer female characters? Here you go:

  1. Carmilla (Carmilla)
  2. Bo Dennis (Lost Girl)
  3. Sarah Lance (Arrowverse)
  4. Cosima (Orphan Black)
  5. Nova Bordelon (Queen Sugar)
  6. Nomi Marks (Sense8)
  7. Max (Black Sails)
  8. Nola Darling (She’s Gotta Have It)
  9. Shug Avery (The Color Purple)
  10. Gia (Gia)

That’s twenty. We need to broaden our images of female empowerment, and not just think that putting Hermione Granger #1 on every list while giving queer and non-white women scraps is a productive way of judging heroism. I love Hermione, but movie Hermione is a superhero, not a person, and just putting her on the list doesn’t prove that we love smart women. It just proves we love smart women when they are pretty because as you all know, Emma Watson (who I love) doesn’t look like the buck tooth, frizzy-haired character in the books.

(via The Hollywood Reporter, image: HBO)

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