The Fourth of July is all about celebrating our independence in the United States. In addition to picnics, setting off fireworks and donning red, white & blue garb, why not celebrate the patriotic holiday with 15 empowering and independent TV women? These are women who inspire females of all ages to take their lives into their own hands, make something of themselves and to stand up for what they believe in.
15. Brooke Davis on ‘One Tree Hill’
She might have started out as the popular snotty high schooler who always got her way, but Brooke Davis (Sophia Bush) grew up right along with the series. Not only did Brooke turn into an independent and successful fashion designer of Clothes Over Bro’s, but she also took on single motherhood - twice. Once, with baby Angie, and another time with foster child, Sam (Ashley Rickards).
14. Caroline Forbes on ‘The Vampire Diaries’
Caroline Forbes (Candice Accola) hardly ever complains, even after she got turned into a vampire. Rather than sitting in a corner and pouting about life’s problems and every supernatural evil, Caroline takes matters into her own hands and always stands up for herself, her family and her friends. In between the tough blood-sucking life, Caroline still manages to plan dances, cheerlead and take charge of many school activities.
13. Divya Katdare on ‘Royal Pains’
Divya Katdare (Reshma Shetty) is an intelligent and successful physician's assistant with HankMed in the Hamptons. For most of her life, she was ruled by her parents and even entered into an arranged engagement. Well, that was the last straw. After Divya ended the engagement, she was cut off financially by her parents. Despite the tough times, she worked extremely hard to turn her life around - on her own.
12. Blanche Devereaux on ‘The Golden Girls’
Even as an older woman, Blanche Devereaux (Rue McClanahan) was quite the independent Southern belle. As a widow, she didn’t sulk at home, but went after what she wanted most - men and sex. She never apologized for who she was and always embraced her sexual nature. Along with her three roommates, Blanche showed the world that older women didn’t have to fit into any stereotypes.
11. Gemma Teller on ‘Sons of Anarchy’
Gemma Teller (Katey Sagal) is one lady you don’t want to mess with. As the matriarch of the Sons of Anarchy Redwood Original chapter, and being surrounded by the males, Gemma will never apologize for the lengths she’ll go to protect her family. Oftentimes, she is the one calling the shots. Talk about one tough woman.
10. Lorelai Gilmore on ‘Gilmore Girls’
Rather than focusing on the challenges of a teen mom, Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) took the world by storm with her one and only daughter, Rory (Alexis Bledel). Not only did she work hard to provide for her child, but she also worked hard for herself. It took years, but Lorelai worked her way into the hotel management business. Eventually, she opened her very own inn, The Dragonfly.
9. Nancy Botwin on ‘Weeds’
From wife to soccer mom to drug business owner, there’s no arguing that Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) took independency to a whole new level. What’s a woman to do when her husband dies and she needs money? Well, for Nancy, she started dealing marijuana to bring in the dough and keep her family afloat.
8. Liz Lemon on ‘30 Rock’
Some might see her has a nerd, but don’t let those assumptions and glasses fool you. Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) was a self-assured and talented woman who was the head comedy writer at a major New York City TV studio. In a male-centric workplace, Liz stood her ground. If that’s not enough, she was a great role model for real women living in a world consumed by weight, age and beauty.
7. Sue Ellen Ewing on ‘Dallas’
Both on the old and new ‘Dallas,’ Sue Ellen Ewing (Linda Gray) shows women there’s no need to stay married to a wealthy man, especially one who cheats, lies and steals. After divorcing J.R. (Larry Hagman), Sue Ellen kicked alcoholism and got a hold of her life. Now, she is one tough cookie who campaigned for governor and knows the ins and outs of the oil business. Her demons may be slowly creeping back, but there’s no doubt that Sue Ellen is a force to be reckoned with.
6. Peggy Olson on ‘Mad Men’
In an era where women were housewives and men ruled the workforce, the ladies of ‘Mad Men’ have proven this was the time women were coming into their own. For example, Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) has worked her way up the manly corporate ladder at Sterling Cooper advertising agency. First, she started out as Don Draper’s (Jon Hamm) secretary, and now she is the first female copywriter at the firm, since World War II.
5. Brenda Leigh Johnson on ‘The Closer’
Brenda Leigh Johnson (Kyra Sedgwick) might come off as a sweet Southern woman - who loves chocolate - but when she’s fighting crime, as the Los Angeles Police Department’s deputy chief, she can turn into one feisty woman looking to put someone behind bars. Even when she got married, Brenda didn’t stop solving cases and made sure she stayed true to her career.
4. Rachel Green on ‘Friends’
Out of all the ‘Friends’ characters, Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) was the one that changed the most. In the beginning, she was a spoiled and self-centered woman who loved to shop and spend daddy’s money. After leaving her fiancé at the altar, her life quickly changed - for the better. Eventually, she scored her dream job in fashion and worked her way up the ladder. Once again, life threw her a curveball when she unexpectedly got pregnant. She was even prepared to raise the baby by herself, if the father didn’t want any part of the child’s life.
3. Betty Suarez on ‘Ugly Betty’
Betty Suarez (America Ferrera) is most memorable for getting into all types of silly shenanigans and wearing that awful ‘Guadalajara’ poncho. Despite all of the teasing and bullying, Betty never once changed or apologized for who she was. She embraced her quirkiness in the fashion magazine world, in addition to maintaining morals and values. Betty showed success isn’t based on appearance.
2. Murphy Brown on ‘Murphy Brown’
As a recovering alcoholic, Murphy Brown (Candice Bergen) became one of the most successful career women on TV in the ‘90s. Her empowering womanism and single motherhood even caused a stir in real life with then-Vice President Dan Quayle, as he thought she was a threat to family values. Murphy showed that a woman can raise a child by herself, and hold a job, all at once.
1. Mary Tyler Moore on ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’
It doesn’t get more independent than Mary Tyler Moore. In the 1970s, she brought to light the difficulties facing women in the workplace, as a never-married, single and independent career woman. Mary presented a different angle to women, illustrating there was more to women than marriage and children. She really did make it after all.
Have a fun and safe Fourth of July!