Best Lady Bosses of All TimeTyler Vendetti

Why is it that a little boy who barks out orders to a group of kids on the playground is considered a “leader” when a little girl who does the same is labelled as bossy? This is the question that the founders of California-based company Lean In are concerned about. In an effort to reverse negative gender stereotypes, Lean In and the Girl Scouts of America have launched a new project titled #BanBossy, which encourages men and women alike to avoid using terminology that perpetuates such divisions. But, if Twitter hashtags aren’t your thing, you could always read this list on the best on-screen female bosses. I mean, you might as well. You already opened the page.

1) M from the James Bond Series

Though “M” was a male character in the original novels, Judi Dench does such a wonderful job as the Head of the Secret Intelligence Service that it makes you wonder if the role was designed for her all along. Despite her tough and confident attitude, she has a motherly love for James Bond that keeps her human. Plus, she’s Judi Dench, for the love of God. How could you not like her?

2) Liz Lemon from 30 Rock

Someday, when I have a daughter, I will plaster her room with pictures of Liz Lemon and make her pray to her every night like she is some sort of God. Extreme? Perhaps, but when a role model as good as this shows up in our lifetime, you are obligated to brainwash your children with examples of their greatness. Liz Lemon is a high-powered “Sugarbaker woman” that loves her job more than anything in the world and does not need a man to make her happy (though she admittedly does not want to end up as a spinster either). She speaks her mind and is never afraid to be herself, which is something everyone should strive towards.

3) Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec

Right on Tina’s tail is Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, the Deputy Parks Director who knows exactly what she wants and will do anything it takes to get it, even if that means wading through a pool filled with her own blood, tears, and embarrassment. She’s also a huge advocate for waffles and friendship, which are both ideas I can get behind.

4) Marge Gunderson from Fargo

Though not as well known as some of our other lady bosses, Marge Gunderson is a pleasant police chief who single-handedly solves a wacky string of murders happening across Fargo, Minnesota. Not only does she hunt down a group of shameless criminals, but she does so whilst seven-months into her pregnancy, proving that you can fight crime even when you have a baby on board.

5) Norma Rae from Norma Rae

When it comes to noteworthy women in cinema, Sally Fields takes the cake. As the title character in Martin Ritt’s classic film, Norma Rae makes a name for herself when she takes a stand against the poor working conditions of her cotton mill and attempts to unionize the factory. Despite the risk of getting arrested and losing her husband’s loyalty, Norma continues with her fight, ultimately winning her legal battle.

6) Erin Brockovich from Erin Brockovich

Nothing says “girl power” like suing one of the richest energy companies in the world. In this role, Erin, played by Julia Roberts, discovers a connection between Pacific Gas and Electric’s energy system in the town of Hinkley, California and the rise of serious medical conditions among Hinkley’s residents. Her determination to reveal the company’s reckless behavior has been an inspiration for girls ever since. The best part? It’s based on a true story, in case any had doubts that such hardcore women actually exist.

7) Monica Geller from Friends

Landing a job at Alessandro’s as head chef wasn’t easy, but Monica made it there eventually. Her employees may not have respected her at first but, in typical Geller fashion, Monica did not give up, ultimately concocting a plan to publicly fire Joey in order to gain their loyalty. Though she may have been a wee bit obsessive at times, Monica’s loving and confident nature made her a stellar chef and an even better friend.

8) Debra Parker from The Following

Okay, this one is my own personal choice. If you’re not into graphic violence and discussions on the joys of killing someone in cold blood, then you probably shouldn’t watch Fox’s new series, The Following, which features Kevin Bacon as a high-powered cop on the hunt for – you really want the rest of the explanation? I just said “Kevin Bacon” and “high-powered cop” in the same sentence, you should already be flipping through your TV guide. Anyways, Debra Parker is the head of police in Season 1 and is responsible for keeping Kevin Bacon’s character in line. Her twisted family background and resilient nature make her one of the most memorable “bosses” in my book.

Those are my favorite on-screen “bosses” but what about you? Who are your favorite leading ladies and, more importantly, why are they your favorite?

Featured image via Salon.com.

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  1. Great picks, but I would like to point out that Fargo is in North Dakota. It is right across the border from Moorehead, Minnesota, but not the same. Whenever I say I’m from Minnesota people are amazed that I don’t talk like they do in the movie Fargo. It is a pretty great movie though.
    Growing up I was called “bossy” a lot, but it was mostly by boys who were mad that I took control from them. If you don’t stand up for yourself and let yourself be heard people will walk all over you.

  2. Huh, we always called the little boy barking out orders on the playground a brat (or a bully, depending) not a leader, but I get (and support) the spirit of the movement. :-)
    Out of the list here I would pick Leslie Knope as my favorite fictional boss (male or female), she’s amazing! And while she is newly appointed as boss, I already love Olivia Benson as SVU captain and also Cam Saroyan on Bones and Jessica Pearson on Suits!

    • Exactly! If any children are ordering others around, they are considered bossy, no matter what gender they are. We always encourage children in our school to set examples to others (prefect system) rather than ordering their peers around. I feel that sometimes these movements come from people who aren’t involved in education presently and believe that school is still exactly like it was in their day.

      But I still don’t criticize this movement as it is always good to remind children (not only girls!) of strong female role models.