0 In Films & TV

How TV heroines made me love my bookish self

Happy Sunday! We’re making a change from the usually St Andrews Sunday post for a self-esteem/tv inspired post!

I don’t remember much from the late 90s, early 2000s – except for an excess of corduroy, choker necklaces and those awkward primary school years. What I remember is that I spent most of my spare time spent reading, writing and watching TV. The early 2000s had a lot of good shows for teenagers and young adults. Shows with smart leading ladies, girls who used their intelligence. Perhaps you could call them nerds. I called them my models.

My 3 favourite shows were Buffy, Roswell & Gilmore Girls.

1) Willow – Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)

Buffy is still a classic as I was reminded by my peers during my Masters. It wasn’t a good class if no one found a way to bring it up to the discussion. Which, I guess isn’t a big feat in a seminar full of feminists.  Anyhow back on Buffy. I loved Buffy, she was so cool. I mean what I would have given to be able to wear mini skirts at school and exit my house through my bedroom window. That was the epitome of the Amerian high school experience to me. The Buffy I witness at that age wasn’t book smart, she was street smart (which I wasn’t). I admired her but didn’t recognize myself in her. Then came along Willow. She loved books and went unnoticed. She was me and I was her. Willow ended up being some sort of badass witch, which obviously I am not (damn you Hogwarts) but looking back on her debut as the class nerd made me realise that being a nerd isn’t all that bad. It was going to be useful and accepted – not just by fellow nerds but by all kinds.


2) Liz – Roswell (1999-2002)

Then came Roswell. It does not hold the title of classic in TV history, but in Camila’s TV history it does. Perhaps the influence of this show was less grand on my psyche (except for the horrid belief that being a waitress looked like fun) than Buffy but it still had it’s effects. It was the first time that I was seeing a nerd at the center of a tv show. Wait, the main protagonist can be smart and pretty? Gasp! They can attract guys too…oh wait that’s perhaps a false conclusion since he was an alien after all, but I digress. Although she was a scientist, it hit close to home (I was a bit of a science nerd in high school as well, and did win prizes at the Montreal science fair two years in a row.). Here was this smart beautiful girl and she loved science and she was about to apply to Harvard. Pretty awesome goals and model in my humble opinion. Of course, she ends up developing weird powers and running off in a van with her alien boyfriend…but I guess we can’t win them all.


3) Rory – Gilmore Girls (2000-2007)

Finally we reach a series that feels like it just ended (although it was 2007, gosh I feel old). I’m a massive fan of GG and did marathons last year with T while in St Andrews. It never gets old! I loved Gilmore Girls right from the beginning when I was watching it dubbed in French on my favourite channel at about 12. Rory was quiet, bookish and a massive nerd who loved school. Moreover, she wasn’t living in a fantasy world with vampires and aliens, this was ‘real’ life. She was normal. She was like me, or at least what I aspired to be. What I would have given to attend prep school and go to Yale, but that’s a whole other story. Despite the fact that people associate being bookish to being antisocial (although I have to say that sometimes I will hide in my book if I don’t want people to talk to me), Rory showed that being bookish doesn’t mean being recluse! You can still be fun and go out and enjoy life.


You know what all these shows also have in common, great female friendships and relationships. But more on that later…

Do you have TV heroines/characters who inspired you as a child/teenager? Who made you feel okay to be yourself? xx

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