The Bitch High Five: Female Characters (Fictional or Real) Whom We Miss Now That They're Gone!

Each month in our nifty newsletter (sign up on the homepage if you haven’t already), we’ll be polling Bitch staffers and readers on their top five in different categories and posting the polls and results on the Bitch blog. So c’mon, give us five!

Do you miss these ladies as much as we do? Have someone else to add? Vote for your favorite and leave us a comment with who you picked!

by Kelsey Wallace
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Kelsey Wallace is an editor in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter if you like TV and pictures of dogs.

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22 Comments Have Been Posted

Jocelyn Elders!

I went with Jocelyn Elders because as great as some of those other people or characters are, Jocelyn Elders was a real person who wielded real political power and I really wish that some of her ideas could have been implemented! It is just dumb that she got fired for stating that discussions about masturbation should part of sexual education. Elders getting fired for that is the kind of stupidity that I would have expected from the Bush Administration, not Clinton. I mean, why wouldn't even the abstinence-only people want that to be discussed in school when it's clearly a healthier alternative to having unsafe sex if you don't have access to contraceptives in your area? And when kids masturbate even if they aren't and don't plan on having sex, safe or unsafe? But then, plenty of folks in the abstinence-only camp probably don't believe that people should touch themselves ever, let alone all of those other issues like premarital sex....


It was thinking of Elders' firing that was one of the many reasons why I didn't want Hillary Clinton to be President. I also regretted my very first presidential vote (It was for Bill Clinton) after learning of that.

The religious-right-fear-mongers are so very, very afraid of the sexual pleasure of a general populace that they will relentlessly stop at nothing to outright ban it. Masturbation is something I have no shame over. It is healthy not just for the body, but especially the psyche. Pleasure is necessary for all-over healthfulness. Masturbation may not be for everyone (I would never force someone to do anything they wouldn't want to do), but to deny someone of a right to make conscious, consensual decisions about the pleasure of one's very own body is to deny the right to living healthfully.

BUFFY. Cliched? Yes. But

BUFFY. Cliched? Yes. But still awesome.

Agreed. (But since she wasn't


(But since she wasn't on there I went with Veronica Mars. ;) )

Treating young people like morons encourages them to be morons!!

Jocelyn Elders by a country mile. The state of health education in general is shameful. Sex education especially is judgemental, one-sided and exclusionary. One might even go as far as to say bigoted views are foisted onto our children against all scientific evidence to the contrary and in this case overwhelming evidence to support that masturbation is, regardless of all moral or religious issues, actually pretty good for your health.

It is lack of information that is so incredibly damaging for young adults. It is a particularly 1st world desease to assume our offspring are unable to excercise discretion and should be spoon fed only what we consider to be the 'right' information. I strongly believe that a child who is not trusted and encouraged to make their own judgements becomes impaired in their ability to do so and is more likely to accept whatever information is presented to them without question for the rest of their life.

CJ Cregg

All the suggestions in the poll are great but the character I miss most is CJ Cregg from West Wing. Allison Janney did such a great job helping build a character who had such strong principles and integrity and the ability to stand toe-to-toe with the men of the West Wing.

YES YES YES. I came to the

YES YES YES. I came to the comments specifically to mention how awesome she is. Crazy intelligent, but also not about to value politics over her own principles.

My five

1) Theodora Cormallon of Doris Egan's Ivory Trilogy -- These books are a perfect blend of fantasy, science fiction, romance, mystery, and humor. Bookish anthropologist Theodora, stranded on a planet where magic exists, teams up with (and later marries) sorcerer Ran Cormallon. Their unlikely pairing upends the stereotypical rational, intellectual man + intuitive, emotional woman dyad.

2) Betty Suarez aka Ugly Betty -- Probably needs no introduction.

3) Ronia Rovardottar -- Less well-known than her more rambunctious compatriot Pippi Longstocking, the daring robber's daughter, heroine of Astrid Lindgren's eponymous novel, deserves a larger audience.

4) Arabella of Hila Feil's "The Windmill Summer" -- Escaped her eccentric extended family by moving into her grandfather's (great-grandfather's) abandoned windmill. One of the first things I did once the internet made finding out-of-print books easy was tracking down a copy of this book, which I read over and over again in fourth grade.

5) Jennfer Paterson -- One half of the chain smoking, gin-swilling, pheasant-hunting Two Fat Ladies, two of the most blissfully un-telegenic hosts to ever grace the Food Network's line-up. Yes, I would like some more butter with my cream.

1. Sarah Connor 2. Zoe

1. Sarah Connor
2. Zoe Washburne
3. Ro Laren
4&5. Willow Rosenberg and Buffy Summers

Xena. I know half that show

Xena. I know half that show was meant as eye candy for dudes, but c'mon. She had none of the more-virgin-than-thou attitude of Buffy. And she didn't always make the moral or right decision, even when you exempt her "evil past." Xena was multi-dimensional and awesome.


More-virgin-than-thou attitude of Buffy? WTF are you talking about? Buffy lost her virginity early on in the show during it's second season, she was not a virgin through most of the series, and besides that, there was a lot of sex in general on that show. It's cool that you like Xena, but maybe you should actually watch Buffy before you accuse it of being something it's not.

Buffy should have been on this list. Veronica Mars was influenced by Buffy. Don't get me wrong, I love Veronica (except during the second half of the 3rd Season because of some bad choices I think she makes), but she wouldn't have existed if Buffy hadn't come first. I'm just saying.

Eh, it's the vibe I recall

Eh, it's the vibe I recall from the first couple of seasons. And her loss of virginity ended up turning her boyfriend into an evil, murdering scumbag. I stopped watching regularly sometime in season 3, I think, but I definitely remember that puritanical vibe it had. Contrast it to Xena who had multiple lovers through her past and the show's present, some of whom she never loved. Buffy, on the other hand, always seemed to have a soul mate and only got raunchy when it was bizarro Buffy. There was even a snotty reaction to every character who slept around. Okay, maybe not all - again, I didn't watch much of the later seasons.

Buffy as feminist, I can buy. But I simply found Xena to be more so. She simply didn't operate within stereotypical female norms as often as Buffy did.

Hey, but y'all forgot some great ones!

I can think of more than a few of my top female characters, who may be defunct but are still my role models and heroes! Here's my personal Top 5, just from TV:

1. Blanche Devereaux on the Golden Girls (played by Rue McClanahan, RIP sassy mama!)
2. Lucy Ricardo on I Love Lucy (played by Lucille Ball, RIP in your awesomeness and grace!)
3. Darlene Conner on the TV show Roseanne (played by Sara Gilbert)
4. Clair Huxtable on the Cosby Show (played by Phylicia Rashad)
5. Donna Pinciotti on That 70's Show (played by Laura Prepon),

And my honorable mentions:
Natalie Green on the Facts of Life (played by Mindy Cohn)
Daphne Moon on Frasier (played by Jane Leeves)

-Carly in Durham, NC

The mother of them all

I can't believe there's been no mention of Roseanne Conner on here.

As a young boy, I remember avoiding <i>Roseanne</i> like a bowl of brussels sprouts, mostly out of childish male prejudices like "eww, why would I ever want to watch a show about a fat, whiny poor woman?"

However, when I was older, my girlfriend insisted I give the show another chance, particularly because it depicted an American family much like her own. I did so reluctantly, and within a few episodes it really started to grow on me. I realized all the sorry judgements I, like so many of my male peers, had as a kid were unfair and unreasonable and I saw how great a character Roseanne Conner really was. Her acerbic wit, ability to see through upper-class BS, devotion to her family, and seemingly limitless strength in the face of adversity all made her incredibly endearing to me. Coupled with the fact that she looked like, sounded like and acted like a real working-class American, Roseanne shot to the top of my list of TV characters who actually meant something to me, and didn't <i>just</i> make me laugh.

Buffy!!!! And I am also going

Buffy!!!! And I am also going to vouch for one Lorelai Gilmore.

I'll second you a Lorelai

I'll second you a Lorelai Gilmore! I think she offers a great example of effectively balancing being a responsible parent with being your kid's friend.

Do they have to be live

Do they have to be live action characters? If not, I'd like to nominate Daria Morgendorffer.

If there were ever a fictional character that I could relate to...the fact that we look exactly alike certainly helps. I appreciated that she was intelligent and sarcastic. Her low self-esteem was well-depicted, too. She was sympathetic in that you could see how she came to be that way, yet at the same time how her extreme fear of rejection, self-righteousness, and tendency to withdraw from the world exacerbated it. And then the intimacy issues and fear of making herself vulnerable later on when she started dating...ah geez. I wish the show had been on while I was in high school as I went through many of the exact same problems.

President Laura Roslin ftw

My spouse and I almost named our daughter after Roslin. I loved how she was simultaneously badass and vulnerable in the way really good protagonists usually are-- coupled with the fact she overcame a lot of prejudice that she faced as a new president because of her former pink collar occupation (she was a schoolteacher). Also, Roslin's femininity is a nice counterpoint to Kara Thrace's tomboy heroics. I hate when sci fi chicks can only become powerful by tapping into their masculinity; I prefer a diversity of genders. I found Roslin's stance on abortion problematic, but nevertheless she remains one of my favorite fictional characters of all time.

why isn't Xena warrior

why isn't Xena warrior princess on this list? .. smh


Some of the characters I miss the most are the women from Star Trek: Voyager. I've been re-watching it recently and discovering that there are some problematic things about the show that had gone over my head as a kid, but It still has a great place in my heart for having some awesome women characters.

1: Captain Janeway was strong and didn't take shit from anybody. She had a great sense of humor, an adventurous and exploratory spirit, and was an expert diplomatic. OH, and she was THE CAPTAIN: the person-in-charge who made the final decisions, and when people disobeyed orders she didn't roll her eyes and say "boys will be boys" (*cough* STARGATE ATLANTIS *cough*)--they would get in trouble, because dammit the buck stopped there.

2: B'lanna Torres: growing up watching B'lanna Torres, the half-klingon/half-human Head Engineer of the Starship Voyager, I saw a woman who was fiercely intelligent, beat out all the boys in her engineering skillz, fought hard, loved sarcasm, and would get angry. I loved her anger--it was freeing because I was used to hearing people say "women shouldn't get angry," but B'lanna DID and most of the time she had a good reason to be angry. And then she would start kicking ass. In the later seasons less of this happens which was kind of sad :/

3: 7of9: When I watched the show later, I realized there are some problematic things about 7of9 but growing up I thought she was awesome. She pursued knowledge and being the best she could be above everything else, and to a little girl that still thought boys were weird, I loved how she thought romance was silly and better left to others. She struggled with understanding emotions--which was something I struggled with too, and since I got frustrated watching other female characters somehow "intuitively understand emotions," I really latched onto 7of9.


I miss Daria Morgendorffer and Jane Lane the most. (Close second: Buffy.)

I can only imagine what her ascerbic wit would have to say about MTV's new offerings of Jersey Shore and Teen Moms. Sometimes all the 'Toddlers and Tiaras' hype and all those other reality shows seem like parodies in themselves of the joke show in the series 'Sick Sad World'.

Wanted: more kickass female characters pointing out the hypocrisy of modern society while negotiating their own place in it without compromising themselves. She was so complex as a character, like in the episode when she tries contacts and points out that she's not immune to vanity. Her struggle between acceptance of her personal appearance and social pressures to conform to strict standards beauty spoke to something really true to me.

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