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.