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The 10 Most Alpha Female Movie And Television Characters

Updated on September 8, 2013
Atia of the Julii
Atia of the Julii
Empress Placidia (left).
Empress Placidia (left).
Auntie Mame
Auntie Mame
Amanda Farrow
Amanda Farrow
Diane Christensen
Diane Christensen
Jordan Armstrong
Jordan Armstrong
Emma Peel
Emma Peel
Christine Cagney
Christine Cagney
Samantha Jones
Samantha Jones
Wilhelmina Slater
Wilhelmina Slater

I AM WOMAN, Hear ME Roar And YOU'D Better Get Out Of MY Way!

These female characters are self-confident and know it. They see no problem in being the dominant one and taking charge. The concept of women being the so-called weaker sex is not appreciated by these characters. They work, play, and love hard.

These characters are devotees of the art and usage of power. They know how important power is in their every day lives. They realize that women who are comfortable with power are the ones who thrive in this world. They have no patience with women who do not know how to effectively wield their power. They believe that the traditional woman is a relic to say the least.

These characters are very proactive in their lives. They do not believe in playing the victim and having anyone rescue them. If they have an issue or a problem, they can solve it. They clearly do not need anyone to rescue them. To them, that is for wimps.

They laugh at the double standard and consider any man who dares to practice such on them to be total atavistic male chauvinists. If they are called the "b" and the "c" word, so be it. They intend to live life on THEIR terms and THEIR terms only. Here is my list on the 10 most alpha female movie and television characters in descending order.


(10) Atia of the Julii in the HBO series Rome(2005-7)- This woman was part of the Caesar family in ancient Rome. She was a proud aristocrat. She did not let the fact that she was a woman preclude her from exerting as much power as she possible could. Yes, she was an extremely powerful woman. She intended to have as much power as need be.

After all, she had observed that it is the powerful who succeed and thrive in ancient Rome. She also knew that power was a determinant of what station one would be in life. The powerful ruled and the powerless were just mere slaves, existing from day to day. She never desired to be powerless. She would use any means to insure that her family remained powerful.



(9)Empress Placidia of the television movie, Attila(2001)-This woman was the true power behind the throne in 5th century Rome. She was a powerful woman who advised her son, Emperor Valentinian III regarding the precepts and procedures of rulership. However, the Emperor was deemed to be incompetent so Placidia was the true ruler. Assertive and astute, she refused to suffer fools gladly. Anyone who got in her way, she imprisoned. She even imprisoned General Flavius Aetius in the past because he was deemed too ambitious and posed a threat to her.

General Flavius Aetius, a power hungry leader if there ever was one, had a continual contest of wills with Placidia, much to her chagrin. However, she agreed that General Aetius was the one man who knew how to effectively interface with Attila and the Huns. He proved useful to her until Attila died. When Attila died, she found General Aetius no longer useful and decided to dispatch him so to speak.



(8) Mame in the movie Auntie Mame(1958)- This woman totally eschewed female conventions. She believed in living and exploring life on her terms. She could care less about other's approval. She really went where others feared to tread. She believe in living while most people just barely believed in surviving. She lived the life that most people dream of but are too afraid to try.

She took the art of risk tasking to a higher level. She was definitely not afraid to try new things. She contended that was the main elixir in life. She had no sympathy for the shrinking violets in life. She was quite wealthy until the Great Depression when she lost her wealth. However, instead of becoming abjected, she pulled herself off and worked at odd jobs including acting and sales jobs until something better came along.


(7) Amanda Farrow in the movie The Best of Everything (1959)- This woman was definitely the powerhouse in the 1950s publishing world. She was an editor who paid her career dues. She was now on top and has to power to determine what could be published. She also has the power to promote at all.

She plays and works hard. She definitely does not believe in playing by traditional feminine roles. To her, that is for those who are unsure about themselves. She is highly ambitious, loves power, and is not afraid to let others know it. If she comes across as a cold, heartless, and ruthless woman, that is other's problem, not hers. To her. life belongs to those who are bold and go-getters.


(6) Diane Christensen in the movie Network(1976)- This shrewd network programming executive is not afraid to use all avenues to be on top. She is totally no-nonsense in her approach to life and people. She knows how to interface with the best and most outrageous of people.

She believes that doing the job to the ultimate. She does not believe in taking any prisoners. She calls it as it is. She does not shy away from playing the corporate game. She can play and fight with the big boys and they respect her for it. She is truly alpha and have no patience for the more timorous among us.


(5) Jordan Armstrong in the movie The Best Man(1999)- This tough television journalist is extremely savvy. She goes after what she wants whether it is interviewing people, going after a coveted career opportunity, and/or the man she wants. To her, being the passive female is a thing of the 1950s.

She sees no reason why a woman cannot have what she is in every way. She even told one of the male characters, Harper Stewart, that she will not play his relationship games. She maintain that she wants to rekindle a relationship with him. However, he was not ready to do so and she told him to leave, no drama involved.


(4) Emma Peel in the 1960s TV series The Avengers-This brilliant spy was at the top of her game. She loved chemistry and other sciences. She was an early feminist. She definitely did not take a backseat to anyone, particularly her partner, John Steed. She was an equal partner to John Steed.

She relished her job, exercising her vast mental, physical, and psychological prowess. , and psychological prowess. Naturally, she was adept at the art of self-defense which came in handy in her line of work. Nothing was too arduous and outrageous for her to undertake. She did whatever was required of her job with total and utter relish. She fought with the best of them. She could take care of herself and John Steed and then some.


(3) Christine Cagney in the 1980s tv series Cagney and Lacey-This kickass, take no prisoners New York City detective was a force to be reckoned with. She possessed a lethal combination of intellect and street smarts. She was not afraid to get tough if she needed to.

She was definitely not a shrinking violet. She said what needed to be said and if one did not like it, well too bad. She was often quite frank and unabashed in her speech. She was truly an independent and take charge woman.


(2) Samantha Jones in the television series Sex & The City(1998-2004)- This dynamo totally exemplifies the alpha female. She KNOWS what she wants and is not afraid and ashamed to go after it. The concept of shame is a total and outdated anathema to this woman.

She is quite powerful with her own public relations agency. She is a woman who plays well with the male of the species, both at work and out of work. She is not one to be the sweet, nice girl. Oh no, she believes that nice girls are an endangered species or should be. She feels quite comfortable with being in charge and why not. In her estimation, men have been powerful for millenia with no questions asked and women should be the same. If others disapprove of her tactics, they can go to hell as far she is concerned.


(1) Wilhelmia Slater in the television series Ugly Betty(2006-10)-This is the alpha woman of the year. She is an ex-model and she held many executive positions at Mode. She was the Creative Director and only recently was promoted to Editor-in-Chief. She loves her job and is quite proficient at it, thank you very much.

She is not afraid of the word power. She is of the school that either one owns his/her life or he/she is mere fodder for others to manipulate at will. Well, she refuses to be manipulated. In fact, she does the manipulating if it serves her purpose. She believes in getting what she wants, whether it is a promotion, a plum assignment, or a man. As she stated to Daniel Meade, another executive at Mode, she is MORE of a MAN that he is.

Yes, these alpha women characters are out in front and center. They are not afraid to let others KNOW who THEY are and where they stand. These women are REAL WOMEN who OWN it and rule! You now have my take on who are the 10 most alpha female characters of movies and television.

© 2013 Grace Marguerite Williams

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    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 

      2 years ago from London England

      It's not a term that has merged into our vocabulary here, not even through the media. An 'olde English' term Haridan now fairly well fallen out of use would describe a woman to be avoided if you didn't want a scolding (more Olde English). If you are looking at entertainment in this day and age i could cite Joanna Lumley the actress as an excellent choice, nearing 70 but still going strong. Next i shall introduce Ma Dawa when i ascertain more about her ideas and philosophy.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 

      2 years ago from London England

      I recall an episode of the TV series Lost in space where planet was about to be invaded by women intent on setting up an 'all female' colony. The advance guard were led by Niolani of Kondor portrayed by actress Francine York. The character for Ms York's role needed to be assertive, scheming and display leadership. None the less the planned invasion was thrawted. Francine York had numerous other starring roles and she was also a villainess in Batman T.V. series.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 

      4 years ago from London England

      This morning on my journey into the City of London my thoughts turned to a B.B.C. presenter of more than 30 years who appeared in a number of programmes in addition to nightly news reading. Her full name is Moira Clare Ruby Stewart now in retirement. Moira delivered the diologue in the formal British way (articulate & there you have it!) whilst remaining always vivacious. Moira has a long list of honours including an O.B.E. bestowed on her by our Queen. Moira Stewart is much love by a multitude of fans.

    • gmwilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Limpet, thank you again for stopping by. You are always welcome to stop by and to add or continue the discussion!

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 

      4 years ago from London England

      I'm sure going back in time but i'd like to suggest Mary Tyler Moore as a fore runner of the alpha female. I'll never forget the on screen sitcom where She gave Dick Van Dyke a judo flip over Her shoulder to proove She means business!

    • gmwilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Thank you for stoopping by and commenting.

    • limpet profile image

      Ian Stuart Robertson 

      4 years ago from London England

      I think that the Lady news presenters on t.v. are a very much mature 'no nonsense' approach type of character. Names to numerous to mention but one in particular of outstanding persona would be Angela Rippon a veteran B.B.C. presenter.

    • profile image

      Rik 

      5 years ago

      Sigourney Weaver as Ripley - #0 - at the very top of the list.

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