So here’s my list of the 10 female characters I've enjoyed reading the most:
1) Nancy Drew - She was my early teen idol. Nancy Drews were the only books I ever read in school. Young, smart and glamorous, Nancy Drew has been a formative influence on a number of girls worldwide. Nancy did not have a job or go to school. She spent her life going on vacations with her enviable girl gang comprising Bess & George, and solving mysteries. She was wealthy, attractive and talented. All of 18, she could paint, speak fluent French, drive, swim, play tennis. And she had a super hot boyfriend (Ned Nickerson) who would surprise her by visiting her when she least expected it! How could you not like someone with such an enviable life?
2) Bridget Jones - I’ve read both Bridget Jones books many times over. Often when I’m in need of a pick-me up, I open a random chapter of the book and read for a few minutes (since it’s in the form of a diary, you need not read it in sequence). The books are insanely funny and instant pick-me ups.
Bridget’s is a character women from all cultures can identify with. She constantly frets about her weight but is otherwise a happy person, and she falls for the wrong guy over & over again when the right guy is standing right in front of her! And of course, she ends up with Mr Darcy. Who wouldn’t want to be in her shoes?
3) Miranda Priestly - Bitchy, cruel, tantrumy, Miranda Priestly is every working woman's nightmare. I've read the book (The Devil Wears Prada) as well as watched the movie, and I must confess it's Meryl Streep who's made the character one of the most memorable ones for me. In the book, Miranda Priestly is a Size 0 and far bitchier than what she is in the movie. Yet, I don't think anyone could've played her better than Meryl Streep. She's brought the character to life with so much style and elegance, it's difficult to forget her.
4) Rebecca Bloomwood - She's hilarious, what more can I say! The kind of excuses she comes up with to buy things she doesn't need and not pay her credit card bills, cannot be matched. She's not dumb, she just has a very strong weakness....don't we all?
5) Hermione Granger - Let's face it, Harry Potter would not have got out of half his troubles without help from Hermione Granger. She's the intelligent one, has the answers to all questions and the unmatched ability to exasperate Ron. She's also the only one who dared to punch Malfoy in the face. Though she's a nerd on the face of it, deep down she's very much a girly girl. She's principled, yet willing to make concessions for friends; cautious, yet reckless. She's a dichotomy...just like all other women :)
6) Portia - I don't like Shakespeare but I do like intelligent women, and Portia was one of the most intelligent characters that Shakespeare ever created. "Only a pound of flesh, but not a drop of blood". Heard anything smarter than that?
7) Jo March - The second eldest of the March sisters (Little Women), Jo March is smart, independent and vivacious. She's also quite tempestuous. She'd rather read or play than primp & gossip with the girls. Just the kind of girl I'd get along with :)
8) Elizabeth Bennett - Playful, good natured and quick thinking, Elizabeth Bennett is the most popular of Jane Austen's heroines. She has the guts to reject a wealthy but foolish suitor (Collins) - something not many women of that era would've been able to bring themselves to do. And she gets Mr Darcy. That's reason enough to like her, I think.
9) Scarlett O'Hara - It's difficult to like Scarlett O'Hara per se. She's spoilt, selfish, shrewd and vain. But she's also strong willed and challenges the gender stereotypes of her time. And that makes it difficult not to admire her.
10) Madame Bovary/Anna Karenina - Okay, so they may not be the most likeable women in English literature but this list isn't about the most likeabile women either. It's about the women I've enjoyed reading the most, and both Emma Bovary & Anna Karenina fit right in. These two characters probably changed the way the "heroine" was portrayed in English literature until that time. They may not have been as strong and morally upright as Jane Austen's heroines maybe, but they were "real" women - they had their faults, they could be unsympathetic & self-centered, they made mistakes and they paid the price for it too! These characters freed women from the bonds of morality and the arguably stifling social fabric of that time, and let them loose to carve out their own path in life.
Do tell me your favorites...