You know when you read or watch something and you’re just like yes that is actually me, that is so accurate. It provides you with a sense of support and brings you comfort in the knowledge that you aren’t that weird and that actually people are basing endearing characters on the unique qualities you possess. There has been a few times where I have put a book down and have just taken a second to think about how incredible it is that someone else can summarise the entirety of my thought process with such fine accuracy. How someone else’s brain can be so similar to mine and have the means in which to jot it down on paper, to find the words to describe it. I know I’m not completely rubbish at stringing a sentence together and I can usually portray in some sort of way what’s going on in my mess of a mind- but to have someone else hit the nail on the head so perfectly is just, ugh!
The same goes for movie and TV characters. I am a firm believer that certain films and TV shows can actually have a large impact on your life. Those important alterations to ones lifestyle can be made due to the impression left by a certain character or storyline. I’m not usually a ‘Girl Power’ sort of woman and I tend to cringe and recoil when female empowerment becomes a bit overbearing, shunning the male race and concluding that we’ve all got to ‘stick together’. However, there are some ladies out there who I bow down to for being strong, utterly hilarious and incredibly relatable. So without further ado- I thought I’d make a wee list of my personal most relatable female characters in TV and film.
Kat Stratford, 10 Things I Hate About You
I’m going to go straight in there with one of my absolute faves. I adore Kat. I first watched this film when I was about thirteen or so and I just thought she was so unique compared to every other female character I’d seen before. Not only is she very plain but pretty, a trait which I find more endearing than obvious beauty, she is also completely brilliant in her intelligence, bold views and opinions and blatant feminism. I love everything from her facial expressions to her sarcastic comments and of course the predictable albeit still enjoyable demise of her icy exterior as she falls head over heels for bad boy Patrick (Heath Ledger, abso dreamboat). Scenes of her reading The Bell Jar, giving class A advice about being a nonconformist and putting jumped up men in their place all equate to being revolutionary and I suggest we all add a little Kat to our daily routines. Her lack of interest in what others think of her and the confidence she has in her own beliefs and morals is applaudable. Some quotes to take away and mull over are
- I guess in this society being male and an asshole makes you worthy of our time
- I don’t like to do what people expect. Why should I live up to other people’s expectations instead of my own?
- I’m not hostile, I’m annoyed
- Bogey’s party is just a lame excuse for all the idiots at our school to drink beer and rub up against each other in hopes of distracting themselves from the pathetic emptiness of their meaningless consumer driven lives
Monica, Phoebe and Rachel, Friends
I know this is cheating, and I was just going to do Phoebe but all three of them are extremely important to me and totally deserve a place on this list. I have been watching Friends since the day I was born, it has been the soundtrack to my entire childhood, the source of long lasting jokes and references within my family and is possibly the most effective source of comfort asides from my family members themselves. I know I’m a loser, but I have, over the years, become completely attached to the characters and besides knowing pretty much everything there is to know about each person and the show itself I find myself often feeling like all three of the Friends girls at various stages in the day. I’d say I am 55% Phoebe, 30% Monica and 15% Rachel. I will actually try to make this brief because I could waffle on for days about the particular characteristics of each and their behaviours and there is no need as I’m sure we’ve all seen the show. Phoebe’s weirdness is just absolutely essential. Not only she is hilarious, she is openly unique, witty, sarcastic and bad-ass but somehow still manages to be cute and lovable at the same time. Her ethics and morals are before her time and she was one of the first characters on television who possessed such liberal views who wasn’t portrayed as the ‘weird hippy’ who everyone rolled their eyes at. She was a valid character whose opinions weren’t mocked or humoured- and I think it’s important that we note this.
Admittedly, I also possess a heavy chunk of Monica’s qualities. I am a Stewardess for one, which means my cleaning and eye for detail on par with hers and although I would try to deny it would fall heavily under the category of anal retentive. But her need to be hostess, to be the mother of group and to be the organiser- that is also something that I can relate to, as well as her love of cooking (and eating) which is also a bit of me. If she wasn’t so sweet she might be a quite irritating, but she totally saves it with how thoughtful she is and how much she cares for others. But she knows what she is and what she’s like, and there have been so many times where I can relate to her struggles, her break up with Richard, her need to have everything in order, her want to just cry and cuddle- alllll me.
Although I relate to Rachel the least out of the three, I still think she is incredibly important. Rachel is an actual woman. Like when I think of women who have their shit together, Rachel pops in to my head. You know just by looking at her that her legs are always impossibly soft, that she has 0 stray pubes and that she smells like luxurious body butters at all times. She’s one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen and I actually can’t stop staring at her half the time as I find her sexiness and confidence empowering. Rachel is inspirational for any career-driven gals, and works hard to get what she wants despite often being surrounded by men in the workplace.
Samantha Jones, Sex And The City
One of my favourite TV series, I cannot explain how enjoyable and comforting SATC is. Each of the four women is so different, so unique in their personalities and quirks- which is why the dynamics of the friendship group makes for such a good storyline. But I have a special love for Samantha Jones. Although she is a lot cruder in her language than me and her sex life is far more interesting- I do feel like we are similar in a lot of ways. Her fear of commitment, her getting bored of men so quickly and easily and just her general outlook on men as a whole is an exaggerated version of mine. I respect her confidence and just think she’s hilarious; I find it refreshing to experience a female character that can take locker-room vulgarity and completely own it, proving to women that it’s not just our place to be ladylike and discreet about our extracurricular activities. And although I feel I would be a way more toned down version- I do fancy myself a bit of her. Special shout out to Carrie Bradshaw who also slays and who I hold most dear despite the fact that I find her a bit high maintenance and demanding at times- but who am I to talk.
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love
This was the book I was talking about when I mentioned feeling as though someone was transcribing from my soul, and it’s also a film. Elizabeth Gilbert is my actual soul mate and I’m not embarrassed to say that after I read EPL I did send her a super gushy email telling her just that. She speaks so much truth in such a raw and open way, she tells it exactly how it is and doesn’t bother to sugar coat how much of a shit time she was having. Her outlook on relationships, weaknesses and above all the absolute need to listen to your soul and follow your gut at all times is truly inspiring. She was actually the reason I first ventured to Italy and she continues to be a source of inspiration to me, her words and advice fuelling me before, during and after my travels. I can relate to her desperation, her feeling of being trapped and of course her deep desire to see the world and to experience everything and anything. A quote that my girlfriends and I love from the film- ‘Let me ask you a question. In all the years you’ve ever undressed for a gentleman, has he ever asked you to leave? Has he ever walked out? Left? No. Because he doesn’t care. He’s in a room with a naked girl. He’s won the lottery.’
Cheryl Strayed, Wild
Another absolute must read that’s been made to a film, Cheryl being played by Reese Witherspoon. I sobbed my eyes out at parts of this book; I have never empathised with another person’s grief so powerfully, so deeply, before in my life. Cheryl lost her mother and had a seriously hard time dealing with and coming to terms with it, and although I have never experienced such a loss myself, the way in which she described her feelings allowed me an insight to just how traumatising that would be. For anyone that hasn’t read the book or seen the film, after a period of drug abuse, reckless sex and just general self-destruction she decides to attempt to come to terms with what’s happened by walking. She decides to hike a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail, on her own, without any help or guidance in hope of organising her thoughts and facing her demons. As you can probably tell it’s pretty hard hitting and thought provoking and as a girl who also uses hiking and trekking for the exact same reason I found it really relatable. I totally get the weird desire to challenge yourself by forcing yourself into long stretches of solitude and physical endurance. I have this weird need to push myself to my limits, to make myself listen to what I have to say even if it nearly kills me to hear it. Cheryl is so relatable because we all know what it’s like to want to so desperately want someone but need to be alone. The conflict of two desires that so doesn’t make sense and we don’t know which one to listen to.
Vivian Ward, Pretty Woman
As you can tell I’m a bit of a Julia Roberts fanatic- I pretty much adore every character she plays but Vivian Ward holds a special place in my heart. She is iconic. Although there is no shame in it whatsoever and I am a firm believer in a woman being allowed to express herself in whichever way she chooses- let’s discard the fact that she’s a prostitute and focus on HER. She is gorgeous. She’s strong, confident and sure of herself. There has been many a time where I have ran a bath, listened to some 80’s and completely fancied myself as VW in the famous prince-singing-bubble-bath scene. I also went into Tiffany’s once when I was somewhere fancy, may have been Monaco, and I was wearing grubby trainers and sporting a second day hair pony tail and it was an actual replica of the Rodeo Drive scene. Everyone eyeing me up and down and scoffing- it was hilarious. Despite embarrassingly exiting after a mere two seconds of browsing I couldn’t help but be a bit chuffed that I got to live my Julia Roberts fantasy, minus Richard Gere.
Piper Chapman, Orange Is The New Black
I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with Piper. I actually find her really annoying, but I can relate to her so much of the time and I know that I would be exactly the same as she is if I was in prison, I even feel I look like her a bit. I find myself relating to a lot of the women in OITNB as there is crazy amounts of diversity, feeling like yoga Jones on a Tuesday and Taystee on a Sat- but Piper is so prison-me it hurts. Everything she does, the mistakes she makes and how pathetic she is, is totally how I would be if what happened to her happened to me. I often want to slap her- as I’m sure people would want to slap me as I moaned about first world problems of not having almond milk in the cafe and making everyone’s life difficult with my gluten allergy. I think that’s probably why I find her so irritating, because she is SO like me and I’m like ‘ergh why do you have to be like that’ to the both of us. Saying that, there are lessons to be learnt from Piper Chapman: Don’t get mixed up with a lesbian lover involved with a drug cartel and in desperate times use sanitary towels to make shoes.
So there we go, just a sprinkling of female characters who have taught me valuable life lessons and who have given me masses of inspiration and motivation over the years. It just dawned on me that they are all American… I feel us Brits need to up our game!
Feature image taken by @Jadeyjxo