What we’ve been talking about

As a tie-in with our all-female rundown of the 100 top creative talents in Scotland, we asked which fictional women have whipped up a storm down the years. From vampire slayers to alien busters, and modern Disney princesses to contemporary Scandi cops, this list has them all . . .

Lucy van Pelt from the Peanuts cartoons. Wiki characterises her as a ‘”fussbudget”, crabby, bossy and opinionated girl who bullies most other characters in the strip,

particularly Linus and Charlie Brown.’ I just think she’s rad.

Peggy from Mad Men was kick ass, flawed, felt real and grew so much as a character across

the series. She showed the mad men that she was just as talented, if not more so than them, and totally carved her

own path. 

Sophia Burset in Orange Is the New Black for showing us such a multi-dimensional character who made some

bad choices and who we see bettering herself as she deals with life in prison with her

son and wife outside.

Ellen Ripley from the Alien movies. She’s level headed,

intelligent, able to face her fears head on. And clearly kick ass.

CJ Cregg from The West Wing, a woman who puts both her fierce brain

and warm heart to good use.

The Bridge’s brilliant Saga Norén redefined what a true detective is, while having sex

on her own terms and telling the truth like

no one ever has on TV

and beyond.

Fa Mulan was one of the

first animated Disney characters to take all of the stereotypes of what it meant to be a ‘Disney Princess’ (white, gentle, dependent on romantic

love) and turned it completely on its head.

Orlando from Sally Potter’s

film. Well, she starts out as a man but she becomes warmer, funnier and more sympathetic after waking up one day as a woman.

Lorelai Gilmore of The

Gilmore Girls just seemed like someone you’d want to drink coffee and order a ton of take-out food with,

while she spoke so fast you could barely keep up.

Nora Helmer from Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. Married to a man who treats her like a child. Unknown to him, she’s saved his ass financially, but hasn’t told him about it because she knows he’d be humiliated

and doesn’t want to injure him. She eventually realises what an asshole he is and tells him she’s walking out. He begs her not to. She does. Curtain. 

4 THE LIST 1 Nov 2018–31 Jan 2019

Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation. Originally a public-sector clone of Michael Scott from the US version of The

Office, she became one of the funniest and most memorable characters on TV through her radiantly optimistic nature, freakish competence at her job and addiction to breakfast food.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer will always be one of my all-time heroes. It

was really cool to have a strong female character that totally kicked ass to look up to. When I finally get a cat, I’m definitely

calling it Buffy.

Judith and her servant in Artemisia Gentileschi’s

stunningly visceral ‘Judith Slaying Holofernes’. She

is grimly sawing away while her young and

strong servant holds the guy down. Just goes to show what people can do

if they work together.

Lyra Belacqua from

Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy. A female

protagonist you don’t

often find in much fiction; she’s gutsy, creative, intelligent and compassionate, whilst also being

tremendously flawed and allowed to make loads of mistakes.  

Ms Marvel is an amazing legacy character, taking up the name from the classic 1970s heroine.

Her stories have the right

blend of naturalism and melodrama that makes for the best superhero


Merida (from Brave) and Moana (from Moana) were a whole new generation of Disney Princess and I loved

watching their stories. Brave girls, leading the

charge and inspiring little

girls everywhere. We need much more of those




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