Monday, August 23, 2010

New Heroines

I've been noticing a trend going on in television lately--new shows starring strong female characters in seemingly "tough" businesses. Several shows fit the bill this season: Nikita (CW) stars Maggie Q as a former assassin turned rogue, Piper Perabo is a new CIA agent on Covert Affairs (USA), and Rizzoli & Isles (TNT) features a female Boston P.D. detective and coroner duo. This trend only builds on existing shows like In Plain Sight (USA) where Mary McCormack's a U.S. Marshall or The Closer (TNT), starring Kyra Sedgwick as a Deputy Chief of the LAPD.

And it's not just law enforcement-style tough girls landing on the scene--Julianna Margulies plays a rockin' defense attorney on The Good Wife, one who overcomes sexism and scandal to hold her own in the courtroom. Edie Falco's Nurse Jackie (SHO) and Jada Pinkett Smith's HawthoRNe (TNT) show us familiar hospital settings from a new angle. I enjoy seeing more realistic portrayals of women in the workplace--playing politics behind the scenes and grappling with the roles of parent and professional

So what I wonder is, will the trend continue? Perhaps more importantly, in the long run, will these characters prove themselves to be women worthy of our attention? For me that means female characters who are sexy, but respected for more than their sex appeal; smart, but constantly challenged and empowered to demonstrate it; tough enough to take on the bad guys singlehandedly, but clever enough to call for back-up just in case. In other words: chicks who rock!

Have you found such women in television, film and media? Where?

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