Jo March from Little Women
To be honest, I always wanted to be Beth. Poor, lovely, helpless, blonde Beth who died before any of her less attractive qualities could be revealed. That was womanhood to me, being pretty and offending no one. But in the back of my mind Jo always stood out, because she was a writer which was what I wanted to be. As time has passed it’s become clear that if Beth is the ideal of femininity I sometimes struggle against, Jo is Leslie Knope riding on the back of a lioness holding a collection of arguments by Ruth Bader Ginsburg. For all Beth’s saccharine pronouncements of love and beauty in the world, and her sacred place as the moral center of the March household, it was Jo selling her hair that moved me the most, even as a child. Jo was the only one who got shit done. While the rest of her family were running around with chickens with their heads cut off, bemoaning the financial future of the March household, Jo actually did something. She didn’t ask permission, she didn’t look for praise or sympathy, she just saw what needed to be done and did it. With that kind of drive, is it any wonder why she lacked patience for Laurie, who was a bit of a pansy anyway? Jo demonstrated a sense of self-determination I truly admired, but took years to appreciate, and taught me being viewed a stubborn, manly, bitch was more than worthwhile trade off for actual accomplishments.