Thanks to celebrities like Emma Watson and Beyoncé, feminism is slowly ceasing to be a big scary word that frightens people—despite the fact that it’s still so relevant and necessary today. It seems the only way we’ll accept feminism or feminist actions is if they’re done by people who never use the dreaded word, but here are our picks for some of television’s loudest, proudest feminists who aren’t afraid to align themselves with a movement that, essentially, yearns for the equality of all genders.
Lisa Simpson (The Simpsons)
A friend of mine described Lisa as “the moral conscience of America” and there’s few better ways to describe this preteen queen. She faces a myriad of problems including body issues, social rejection, bullying and peer pressure, and she deals with them all like a pro coming up a happier, healthier version of herself each time.
Abbi & Ilana (Broad City)
These two femininjas snuck up on us and showed us a side of womanhood that seldom ever leaves the confines of girl talk. They’re not out to shout from the rooftops of their devotion to the feminist movement, but they somehow are loud and proud feminists anyway because they just don’t give a damn about gender roles or most societal norms and do whatever the fuck they please.
Sophia Burset (Orange Is the New Black)
Whoever says that feminism is for cisgendered women only could probably do with being at the receiving end of Sophia’s acid tongue. She’s a groundbreaking character and, in the show’s first season, we got an education on the issues transpeople face on a daily basis. In doing so, she opened our eyes as to why feminism is as much for transpeople as anyone else.
Jessica Day (New Girl)
A working girl who enjoys flowing dresses, knitting, true love and the equality of genders, Jess is one of the most outspoken feminists on TV and one of the rare ones who doesn’t shy away from the f-word. She’s here to show that being a feminist doesn’t mean eschewing traditional “girly” things. As Zooey Deschanel herself once eloquently put it, “I want to be a fucking feminist and wear a fucking Peter Pan collar. So fucking what?” Preach, sister!
Leslie Knope (Parks and Recreation)
I feel like I shouldn’t even have to explain why Goddess Knope is on this list because anyone’s who’s watched an episode of Parks and Rec. will know exactly why Leslie Knope is whom most woman secretly wish they were. Confident, self-assured and tirelessly fighting the patriarchy, Leslie won’t stand for your bullshit (but she’ll be very polite when she tells you off).
Jon Stewart (The Daily Show)
Just in case you forgot, men can be feminists too and are, in fact, highly encouraged to speak up against the patriarchy that negatively affects men as well as women. Unashamedly pointing out the blatant inequality (of all sorts!) in our society today, Stewart is actually an excellent example of that tiresome “not all men” adage.
Buffy Summers (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Only Buffy could simultaneously worry about a vampire attack and her ruined manicure, and you know what? That’s totally okay. Who said you have to look like a slob while you’re preventing apocalypse after apocalypse? Another example of the feminine feminist, Buffy proves that you can be a total bad ass while still looking like the prom queen and there ain’t nothing wrong with that.
Lorelai Gilmore (Gilmore Girls)
Those who claim that children need both a mother and a father to be successful, Lorelai is here to prove you wrong. Single mother Lorelai raises a wildly intelligent and independent daughter, eventually becomes owner of a successful inn, and never shies away from speaking her mind, regardless of whether or not it gets her into trouble. She’s the sort of TV mother figure you’re grateful for and the sort of woman you hope to become.