Female Besties?

Hey, peeps!

Remember Gabrielle and Xena? She-Ra and Glimmer? The My Little Ponies and… all the other My Little Ponies? (ETA: The reboot of MLP has some serious issues with race and gender. :( .)

I’m in DIRE NEED of examples of female best friends in fiction, particularly television and media. This is serious business — I was talking with my (male) bestie about depictions of female friendship, and realized that I couldn’t think of that many positive and realistic representations of female friendship in media oriented towards adults.

Here are our conditions.

1. There can be no major friend break-up over men — meaning that the American Quilt movie, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Beaches are all out.

2. They have to talk about something OTHER than the men in their lives — this is obvious. It’s a Bechdel thing.

3. They have to be peers — not necessarily the same age, but equals. So the grandmother/daughter relationship in The Princess Diaries doesn’t count, but the friendship between Mia and Lilly does.

4. If there’s a friendship montage… it can NOT  only include a pajama party or a delicious cooking scene or a trip to the salon– we’re not looking for a conflation of essentialized definitions of femininity with rituals of female friendship, meaning they have to bond over something NOT related to pajamas, singing into pretend microphones, make-up, or make-overs.

5. They have to SHARE the spotlight — while Xena’s the main character in Xena, Gabrielle has her own plot-lines and character arc. I want suggestions more interesting than Anita Blake’s friend-in-a-fridge, Ronnie, who only pops out of the woodwork when the plot demands it: friendships like partnerships and collaborations.

My suggestions included: Xena (Gabrielle and Xena), She-Ra (Glimmer and She-Ra), Sailor Moon, and the girls from WITCH.  His included the Oathbound series (Tarma and Kethry).

What are your recs? I need more female buddy books!

ETA: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE suggestions! Don’t forget to include WHY the characters are awesome besties, because not everyone will have seen the show/read the book in question. :)


  1. cycles says

    There were some good best-friend relationships in Buffy, and, like in real life, they morphed in degree of intensity over time:

    Buffy + Willow (early in series)
    Willow + Tara (before they became besties-with-benefits)
    Buffy + Faith (before Faith turned bad)

    (I’m only up to Season 5 in my Netflix obsession with the series)

    • cycles says

      Does it have to be all positive? Because … the first part of Heavenly Creatures. Of course we never killed anybody, but my friend and I shared a very similar intense, passionate, fantasy-world relationship at that age. When I saw the movie I couldn’t stop thinking, “Oh my god, they’ve been spying on my life!”

      In place of Mario Lanza, insert Claude Raines. I’m not even kidding.

    • Maria says

      Ohhh! I had forgotten that Buffy showed friendships evolving. Makes me think of Firefly and the relationship between Inara and Kaylee.

  2. sky chandler says

    Do you want adult media or youth media? You said adult but gave youth examples.

    Here are some youth-oriented ones:
    Anne of green gables (anne and diana are such good friends they’re “kindred spirits”)
    Now and then (movie about 4 best friends)
    The babysitters club series (7 girls w multiple best friend duos)

    • Maria says

      Oh, Anne! They’re bosom buddies. 😀 And The Babysitters’ Club! I hadn’t thought of either of those in ages!!

      • Maria says

        Anne is actually a great series, because she has strong relationships with women throughout her life. In fact, I think one book is basically her at her friend’s house, venting about being a mom.

  3. FarisScherwiz says

    The two Nanas from NANA, Sakura and Tomoyo from Cardcaptor Sakura, all the girls in Azumanga Daioh, the girls from Rayearth, possibly Natsumi and Miyuki from You’re Under Arrest (I remember them starting out hating each other and growing closer, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen it).

    I’m sure there are more (and non-anime) but I can’t think right now. Hope that’s a good start..

    • Casey says

      Do you think Kei and Yuri from Dirty Pair count as besties? I mean, I remember reading about how, in the novels they didn’t like each other much at first either (‘cuz Yuri’s all “sophisticated” and Kei is rough-and-tumble) but that show is basically an SF buddy comedy and they blow up shit…so yay? 😀

  4. says

    Jane and Daria from Daria. They almost have a breakup over a boy, but then decide that they were both bored of him anyhow. Jane, like Gabriel, is a lead character despite the show being named after Daria.

    • Maria says

      I forgot about Daria! That’s such a good point. Daria and Quinn are also a good example of sisters, too

      • says

        OMG LOST GIRL. LOST GIRL LOST GIRL LOST GIRL. It’s a show about two female best friends who solve mysteries and vanquish bad guys and banter and navigate dicey political waters. Also one of them is bi (she’s a succubus so she feeds on sexual energy, doesn’t matter whose) and is in a love triangle with a dude (werewolf, police officer) and lady (human, doctor).


        There’s a spoiler free picspam here:
        explaining some of the gloriousness of Bo and Kenzi, and a music video here (only spoilery for the first few eps) to show you the glory of them interacting and BEING AWESOME TOGETHER and KICKING ASS.

      • seshayan says

        Yeah, Bo is a bisexual succubus and Kenzi is her best friend–human, snarky, delightful. It’s one part supernatural, one part crime procedural’ish with enough sexual shenanigans (threesomes, f/f, m/f) to keep one entertained. For the first half of the season Bo doesn’t know how to control her succubus power and she knows nothing about the supernatural world, she thought she was just a freak who would never be able to be close to someone without draining their live from ’em. But then she discovers the world of the Fae and the drama and politics and other creatures that come with the territory and begins to learn how to control her power while investigating her past. There are your werewolves, your sirens, other supernatural creatures of varying power and motivations.

        I wouldn’t call it the pinnacle of it’s genre but the female characters are strong, interesting and have agency which I think gives it a leg up over something like True Blood. There are only 13 episodes and I think they’ve gotten better at the worldbuilding and Fae political angle as the season progressed. It’s a fun show. Not without it’s flaws, certainly, but it has a lot going for it.

        Some picspams from some episodes (not mine):

        sabrina also made a cute fan vid featuring Bo and Kenzi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTtPEPV-yZc&feature=player_embedded#at=108

        Hope the detail helps. :-)

  5. J says

    Veronica Mars – Veronica and Mac
    Friday Night Lights – Julie and Tyra
    Parks and Rec – Leslie and Ann
    Gilmore Girls – Rory and Lane, maybe Rory and Paris
    My Boys – PJ and Stephanie
    Whip it – Bliss and Pash
    I Love Lucy – Lucy and Ethel
    AbFab – Edina and Patsy

      • Yatima says

        I came here explicitly to rec Leslie and Ann. I just came off watching the whole series-so-far and I think it’s the best-drawn female friendship I’ve ever seen on television. Not only do they talk about lots of things other than men, there are a couple of scenes where there is potential conflict over a man and they EXPLICITLY PRIVILEGE THEIR FRIENDSHIP OVER ANY RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM. They get drunk together and confess their love, and they pay one another extravagant and sincere compliments behind each others’ backs. They respect one another and bask in each others’ accomplishments. Their connection is one of the most important things in their lives.

        What I’m saying is, they behave like my bestie and me. And it brings tears to my eyes. Because I never saw that aspect of my life on the telly before.

  6. Placebogirl says

    Grey’s Anatomy. I know it has its problems, but the friendship between Mer and Cristina embodies the complexities of friendlships between women in an awesome way.

      • Placebogirl says

        I guess I mean that Mer and Cristina’s friendship isn’t…sugarcoated. They’ve dealt with boundary issues, the interactions between a woman’s friendships and her primary relationships, what it means for two women to work in a (competitive, male dominated) shared workplace, what it means to have jealousies between friends, and right now, one of them is trying to get preganat and the other never wants kids.

        Through all of this, Mer and Cristina are (and I quote from the show) “soulmates”–the men in their lives are their lovers, but they are each other’s soulmates.

        • says

          I’d have to agree, they totally have the soulmate thing going on. They’ve had disagreements, some pretty big rifts really, but they always turn around and end up working through them.

  7. doublenerds says

    OK, I started off well but by the end of this list I’ve gone a bit off the rails….if it’s any consolation, all of the movies listed below contain compelling and interesting relationships among women, even if they don’t meet all your criteria above.

    Cagney and Lacey
    Marianne and Darly in “Leaving Normal”
    Lorelei and Sookie in “Gilmore Girls” (OK, this one might not meet all your criteria but get bonus points for having a fat woman in a role where her weight is not an issue)
    Buffy and Willow!
    Whoopie, Drew, and Mary-Louise in “Boys on the Side”
    Katchoo and Francine in “Strangers in Paradise” (spoiler: they do have a major friend breakup that involves a man, but he is really secondary to their relationship and serves as a handy excuse more than a primary cause of the rift)
    Camille and Petra in “When Night is Falling”
    Maddie and Legs in “Foxfire”
    May-Alice and Chantelle in “Passion Fish”
    Personally, I adore the relationship that develops between Georgia and Dolores Herbig in the TV series “Dead Like Me” – but Georgia would be horrified if anyone described them as “friends” :)
    Steel Magnolias?
    Strangers in Good Company
    Antonia’s Line
    Go Fish
    Incredibly True Adventures of Two Girls in Love
    Desert Hearts

    • Jane says

      For the three last titles listed: I think of these as primarily lesbian romance, so which friendships were you thinking of? Esp. Desert Hearts.

      • Maria says

        That’s a really good point — I think some of my friends on my FB friends list were concerned that focusing on female friendship elides same sex desire. I definitely don’t want to do that — I more want to focus on friendship in its many forms.

    • Kivitasku says

      Katchoo and Francine have a lesbian love thing from pretty much page one, even if it’s one-sided for a long time.

  8. says

    Bones: the friendship between Bones and Angela. Bones has a very literal scientific mind, while Angela is an artist and free spirit. They never fight over guys, are always there to give each other advice and also have a positive working relationship together. You can throw Cam into the mix too, although she wouldn’t qualify as a bestie.

    • Raeka says

      Ohhh, that is true: they had a very good friendship.

      On the downside, I hated the main guy character with a passion, and the show goes downhill remarkably fast in feminism after the first season :/ My friend warned me to stop watching it at the end of the fourth.

      • Tristan J says

        I’d recommend you stop watching at any point, not only because of losing points for feminism but also because it’s a propoganda piece for the worst elements of the right-wing, and a poorly written one at that.

        Every episode can be summed up as ‘Traditional marriage with 2.4 kids is the only way anybody can be happy’. The free-spirit’s real dream turns out to be marrying a dude and having, in her words, ‘a million babies with him’. Bones has an episode where she discovers she doesn’t hate kids. For God’s sake there’s an episode about horse fetishists which ends with Booth explaining to Bones that obviously fetishists of all kinds are actually having awful sex because sex with someone you love is the only good sex EVAR. Individually all these things seem fine, but altogether (and the way it’s presented) it comes off as telling me that unless I do what the main characters like I’ll never be happy.

        Also Booth is such a tool, he once turned off a guys welding tool then flashed his badge (like he was swinging his dick around) when the guy got understandably annoyed. All Booth wanted was directions to the boss, and he picked the douchiest manner to get what he wanted, I hate him so much.

        Sorry, that’s been building up a while,

        • Raeka says

          No, no, I COMPLETELY understand –all of this is why I hated Booth. HATED him. The first season wasn’t so bad, but then Booth completely stopped developing as a character and became the delivery boy of the ‘moral’ message.

          I only watched as far as I did because I ADORED all the other characters. I liked their geekiness, I liked Bones’ and Zac’s emotional, hm, distance –and I probably wouldn’t have watched past the end of season two, except my friend told me there was a pretty awesome plotline –at least as far as dead bodies go– in the fourth. Eh. Anyways.

        • Robin says

          The thing you have to remember about Booth is that…

          a) The way his moral compass points is influenced by his personal journey has gone — i.e. Catholic upbringing, military service, law enforcement — so, yes, his is the most conservative voice on the show.
          b) He’s not the main character on the show. That would be “Bones” / Brennan, who embraces a much broader spectrum of behaviors and relationships.
          c) Just because he believes a thing doesn’t mean that it’s true. TV characters are allowed to be wrong, misguided, have different opinions than their audience, etc. That’s what makes them interesting, well-rounded, believable people rather than caricatures.

          I often disagree with Booth’s view of the world. I think he’s very close-minded when it comes to relationships, and wish that he’d listen to the people around him more. But that hasn’t made me give up on the show entirely, or the character for that matter. He’s a devoted dad and loyal friend with a strong sense of justice. I really like those parts of him. He doesn’t have to be perfect any more than real people do.

          • Tristan J says

            It’s not Booth being conservative that bothers me so much as him being a dick who bullies his way through life, even when he has no reason to. I imagine he gets the attention of a waiter by wiping the specials off the board, flashing his badge when someone comes over to stop him, and ordering a coffee.

            Also, the show definitely agrees with Booth about everything. Every episode ends with Booth giving a speech, with the acting, lighting, music and general mood making him look like a wise mentor, even when he’s talking about how fetishists clearly have bad sex. One-shot characters who don’t live the 2.4 kid lifestyle (or aren’t planning on doing so) are either stupid, immoral, in the process of changing their minds or some combination of the three. Anjela reveals that despite her wild sexuality and cheerful hedonism her life-long dream was to settle down with a man and have a million babies (this wouldn’t bother me if it weren’t for everything else). He has his flaws, but his philosophy is apparently the only good and correct one, if you believe the show.

            • says

              It’s not just you, Tristan. I also stopped watching the show because of Booth. Not because he’s an unlikeable character, which would be fine because I can totally appreciate complex characterization, but because the writers agree with him.

              The episode that turned me off was the obligatory Christmas special. Atheist Bones doesn’t celebrate Christmas and leaves the group so the others can do their thing in peace. Christian asshole Booth comes over and starts bugging her about religion. “I don’t understand why you can’t give the big guy upstairs a chance.” She actually considers his crap. Then she learns to stop pushing her religion on others and rejoins the group for a heartwarming finale.

              As an atheist, I was horrified by the way Bones became a straw-atheist, someone who exists only to be corrected by the miraculous Christian. Do the writers seriously not know a single atheist? And as someone with friends who are non-asshole Catholics, I was horrified by the way the Catholic pushed his religion onto people. As if Bones owes it to him to “give the big guy a chance”. My Catholic friends know I have my reasons for believing as I do, even if they disagree.

              • Casey says

                “Give the big guy a chance”?? UGH!
                I’m Christian and even I don’t think of Christmas as so much of a Christly/Baby-Jesus-centric holiday as I do a friends/family get-together and have presents and eat roast beef holiday…and also DAT TREE (I like Christmas trees, okay?) so if I wanted an Atheist friend to join in my merry-making I certainly wouldn’t try to appeal to them from THAT perspective. BLECH

  9. SunlessNick says

    Vicki Nelson and Coreen Fennel in the Blood Ties series, perhaps. They’re not equals in a sense, because Vicki employs Coreen, but when it comes to facing supernatural nastiness, that side of their relationship backseats quickly. And Coreen is definitely her own person. The relationship between Vicki and Dr Mohadevan is cool too.

    From British TV, check out a series called Rosemary and Thyme (lighhearted amateur detective show, centred on two gardeners).

    From books, it’s ghastly how few I can think of. Candace Robb’s crime novels set in Mediaeval York (they’re referred to as the Owen Archer series, but most of them are just as much about his wife Lucie Wilton, and she has an awesome friendship with her neighbour Bess Merchet; there’s also Magda the Riverwoman, but no one’s Magda’s equal, so she doesn’t really count).

    Kat Richardson’s Greywalker books are written in the first person, so spotlight-sharing isn’t an option, but the main PI character Harper has a neat relationship with a witch called Maya, who retains a sense of her own life going on.

      • SunlessNick says

        That’s a good question. I’ve been reading a lot of urban fantasy recently, and and most of them are written in crime/procedural style where first person writing is common – and therefore, it’s hard to do the spotlight sharing that was one of the criteria.

        I didn’t come up with many TV examples either, so maybe it just surprises me more in books.

  10. Casey says

    Off the top of my head I can think of all the sailor soldiers on Sailor Moon (since Usagi’s unconditional acceptance of them is what helps give them MAGIC LOVE POWER to defeat evil) and Ginger, Dodie and Macie on As Told By Ginger (my memory’s fuzzy and I’m not very good at describing things so here’s a wiki link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/As_Told_By_Ginger).

    • Maria says

      YES I love SAILOR MOON for exactly this reason! It’s also one of the reasons I find the ending of Utena so sad.

      Have you seen Princess Tutu?

      • Casey says

        Aw man, the end of Utena…was it that Utena disappeared somehow and Anthy left Ohtori Academy to look for her/live her own life? (or does it have something to do with Anthy being a witch?)

        LOL no unfortunately not, even though I’ve heard a lot of good things (and for some reason I keep confusing it with Petite Princess Yucie!! >_<).

        Oh, do the girls from Lucky Star and K-On! count as BFFs?

        • Maria says

          I read it as: Anthy betrayed Utena (she was the witch and the princess the whole time) but realized that friendship is worth more than power (particularly after her brother tried to make her play the same role in the new school year) and she opted out.

          I haven’t seen either of those. But Girls’ High and Best Student Council? My favorite anime friendships by FAR.

          • Shuu says

            Ah, I love Utena! I took it as that Anthy has a lot of trust issues and a lot of issues breaking out of the cycle of abuse, but when Utena kept fighting for her even after being betrayed, that was enough to actually get through to her. In the end, Utena couldn’t save her, and left Ohtori injured/in shame, but seeing what a real prince was like compared to Akio and how pathetic Akio really is was enough to give Anthy the strength to leave. The ending implied that Anthy’s definitely going to find Utena at some point so that they can be together in ten years like they’d planned, but also that Anthy’s finally going to stop being a princess or a witch and live her own life.

            I really like that in the end, Utena couldn’t just save her. Anthy had to step up and save herself. Although I’m not sure which of them was more powerful during the series, I don’t think they were truly equals until Anthy finally left. Someone could also write a really interesting essay on that series and how it relates to codependant relationships and abuse victims…

            • Maria says

              There was one online for a while, talking about the series as really being about the emotionality of living in an abusive household, and how Utena herself wasn’t real, but was more the part of Anthy that insisted that Anthy needed to be treated better.

  11. Jess says

    Trying to think of others, but the first that came to my head is Carol, Stevie, and Lisa in The Saddle Club. They’re there for each other during problems, but have their own little spats as everyone does, but I don’t think it’s ever over boys (at least in the books that I’ve read). They’re horse crazy and the focus is on their friendship, the events going on at the stable, and personal issues that arise.

    The TV show sadly falls back on too many stereotypes and makes them more focused on boys and the montages of sleep overs and ‘lets start a singing group!’ sorts of things.

  12. Attackfish says

    Avatar: the Last Airbender gives us Katara and Toph, who are vitriolic friends within the context of the ensemble, but loads of attention is given to their relationship, and none of their conflicts have to do with guys. It also gives us the Dangerous Ladies, Azula, Ty Lee, and Mai. While Azula is a sociopathic monster who is extremely controlling and abusive to the other two in the trio, and the trio’s immediate cause of disintegration is over a boy (Azula’s brother, who Azula wants to kill, and Mai is dating) Ty Lee and Mai have one of the strangest and sweetest friendships in the series. Ty Lee stands up to Azula (who is one scary kid) and then goes to prison to protect Mai. It’s also made very clear that Mai, Ty Lee, and Azula’s dynamic isn’t toxic because they’re girls, but because of the presence of Azula.

    The Demon’s Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan has the budding friendship/mentor-student relationship between Sin and Mae, but the book ends with Mavis pitting them against each other to become the leader of the Goblin Market. The next book deals with the fallout, but it hasn’t been released yet.

    • SunlessNick says

      but loads of attention is given to their relationship, and none of their conflicts have to do with guys.

      They fight over how to teach Aang, but Aang being a guy is incidental to his being the avatar, and the Fate of the World being at stake. They’re also both right, because teaching water and earth need different approaches.

      • Attackfish says

        This is true… Though the fight is used to show their different approaches to life, and Toph is fighting much harder with Aang. I thought she was more dismissive of Katara than fighting her in that scene. Most of their fights are about Katara’s tendency to mother everyone, including Toph (which that scene is too, indirectly) and Toph’s aggressive troublemaking.

  13. msmelis says

    – Does Thelma & Louise count? Best friends, protecting and supporting each other, raising hell, etc.

    – I second Buffy and Willow :) – Also, Leslie and Ann in Parks and Rec. Both of these friendships seem very understated to me. There’s not a lot of drama in the relationships, just a quiet understanding that they’re best friends and do what they need to do to support each other. (Obviously there are more dramatic situations w/ Buffy and Willow 😉

  14. Kathmandu says

    Jennifer Crusie’s books are usually good for female solidarity. Often they’re sisters, but Tell Me Lies and Bet Me both include best-friend pairs.

  15. sylvia says

    What about Eve Dallas in the ‘…. in Death” series? the detective is friends with rock singer Mavis, newsie Nadine Furst, and is her subordinate officer Delia Peabody, who eventually becomes her equal. All strong women, who like each other, and meet through Eve Dallas.

  16. says

    The manga and anime Skip Beat has the lead, Kyoko, and her initially reluctant BFF Kanae. Kyoko is sort of recovering from the kind of life and relationship we all hate in fiction: for years, her entire life revolved around a boy, and she had no other relationships and no female friends. Then the boy turned out to be a world-class asshole. And she vowed horrific vengeance.

    In addition to vengeance she also discovered Life Outside Boys, which includes things like acting! A career! Dreams! Hobbies! Plotting horrific vengeance! And making friends with Kanae, who is cool and elegant to Kyoko’s spazzy and intense.

    Kyoko: You are so awesome!
    Kanae: Yes, I know.
    Kyoko: And pretty and talented!
    Kanae: True.
    Kyoko: We both love acting and we make a great team on stage! We should be BEST FRIENDS! (*sparkle hearts stars*)
    Kanae: Wait, what?
    Kyoko: Golly, I haven’t had a close female friend in… wait, hang on, I’ve NEVER had a close female friend! What the HELL? That is NOT normal! Curse you, asshole ex! One more thing to plot horrific vengeance for!!
    Kanae: Oh, god. Maybe if I get her some ice cream or something she’ll calm down…
    Kyoko: Gasp! We’re going to get ice cream together! Just like real BEST FRIENDS! (*sparkle hearts stars*)
    Kanae: Or not.

    Then there’s the manga and anime Kimi ni Todoke, which involves an awkward, painfully earnest girl who through no fault of her own happens to look EXACTLY like the creepy-ass ghost chick from the ring. Sawako is absolutely determined to learn how to make friends in spite of this, and she succeeds with Chizu and Yano. Something cool about this one is that there’s a love interest, Shota, but the friendships are considered of equal importance, and Shota himself deliberately backs off and gives her space to form and enjoy those friendships because he knows how important it is for her to have them.

    Oo! The anime Haibane Renmei is tragically out of print, but if you find it, that one has too many female friendships to count. The big plot-driving one is between the lead, Rakka, a young Haibane (kinda like an angel) learning her place in the world, and Reki, an older Haibane who’s starting to think she has none. A profound, epic story all about friendships and forgiveness and sin and redemption.

    In live action stuff, this is one more goddamn reason to miss The Middleman. The show’s main focus was the mentor/sidekick relationship between MM and Wendy Watson, but there was lots of lovely stuff going with Wendy and Lacey, best friends and roommates since art school. Wendy was earthy and snarky, Lacey was airy and idealistic, but they balanced each other well, they knew each other’s quirks and foibles inside out, and both of them were very practical when it came to friendship vs. romance. There was an instance where they had interest in the same guy, but they both absolutely put their friendship first, were tripping over themselves backwards to do right by each other, and settled it in one episode.

    The fairy tale Kate Crackernuts is all about a pair of stepsisters, Kate and Anne. Kate would have been the evil “ugly stepsister” in any other story, being the less attractive of the two, and having a mom who fills the “wicked stepmother” role to a tee, cursing Anne out of jealousy. But Kate LOVES her stepsister, and wants nothing to do with her mom’s shenanigans, so she flees with Anne and goes looking for a cure for her curse, which she finds through her cleverness. (She also wins handsome princes for both of them as a bonus.)

  17. says

    Now I don’t think these count, for reasons which I will enumerate, but the women in Practical Magic. Gillian and Sally have a solid relationship even through their occasional dislike of each other(the real test of friendship and love to me) and the movie, while sometimes radically imperfect, is focused on them, who they are and how they get out of the messes they make. I don’t know if they count because a) they’re sisters and b) they sort of kind of break up over a man? But it’s really more about how the choices they make as individuals diverge. I think sisters should still count, because, dude, we all know that your sister is not necessarily your best friend. Or your friend at all really.

  18. says

    Great topic! One of my pet peeves is how fictional women don’t get friendships the way real women do. I can’t think of a single woman I know who does not have at least one bestie.

    The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews (starts with Magic Bites) has Kate and Andrea, who are coworkers and best friends. Technically Andrea, as a Knight, outranks Kate who is a mere Agent, but they work as a team running for support for each other on their individual cases. They bond over killing monsters (aka talking shop) and every Friday they get lunch together because that’s what friends do, dammit, and they need a bit of normalcy in their lives.

    The Princess series by Jim C Hines (starts with The Stepsister Scheme) opens with the besties duo of Talia (Sleeping Beauty) and Snow (White). Then Danielle (Cinderella) is introduced into the trio and they go on adventures together. They bond over being secret agents together and rescuing lost princes. Also, Talia is a ninja. The other two are awesome but not quite ninja awesome.

    The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger (starts with Soulless) may or may not be an example. Alexia and Ivy are besties, solid friends who put up with each other because no one else will put up with them. For the first two books Ivy doesn’t really share the spotlight – she helps Alexia a lot and gets a minor subplot, mostly offscreen. But in the third book Ivy’s arrangements are very influential and her friends start to realize that under the ditzy mode of speaking and extraordinarily bad taste in hats, there’s a razor-sharp intelligence. So I think Ivy’s has/is developing into this.

  19. Raeka says

    I have been waiting and waiting and waiting for a reason to talk about The Good Wife here 8D

    It is my best friend and my new absolute favorite tv show, and the women on the show are AWESOME. It takes a while for all the relationships to form (but it’s kind of nice they don’t have the usual insta-relationships you usually get on tv), but a really interesting friendship has developed between the main character, Alisha (a lawyer), and one of her firm’s detective-type people, Kalinda (WHO IS OMG BADASS).

  20. DM says

    I can’t believe how much trouble I had with coming up with my measly example. What the hell am I reading/watching? Alice Hoffman is amazing with female friendships in her novels ‘Aquamarine’ and ‘Practical Magic’ and their movie adaptations (the ‘Aquamarine’ film has a resolution that is about the power of friendship love).

  21. AtlAggie says

    Jaye and Mahandra from the sadly short-lived TV show “Wonderfalls.” I love their friendship because if feels so wonderfully lived in–they are supposed to be life long friends, and the writers and actors do a good job of conveying the familiarity & ease of true long time friends. They do occasionally fight, but never about a man, and they almost always support each other no matter how wacky the circumstances (and if you’ve seen the show, you know it can get pretty wacky). Plus, extra points for featuring one of the few interracial friendships between women I can think of on TV.

  22. I.A. Scott says

    Probably because I have it sitting on my desk constantly – Azumanga Daioh, which (in both comic and TV series) is about six high school “besties” and two teachers who also seem to be besties.
    Definitely meets 1-4. (Maybe also 5? It doesn’t really have storylines as such).
    Pretty much reminds me of my secondary school clique, and I went to a boys’ school. They even go on group holidays like we did…and there are six (+1) of them.
    I don’t think they ever really discuss men or love or anything like that except in passing (at least not in the comic. In the TV show they do a bit more).

  23. salla says

    I love it when media actually shows female friendships so I’m totally keeping an eye on this post.
    Here are a few that I can think of :
    1) the science/fantasy webcomic Gunnerkrigg Court – Annie and Kat. Annie is the main character but Kat gets nearly as much screen time. They were kind of socially isolated before they met each other but once they did meet they became super devoted to each other. I think Kat is the first person Annie has ever really opened up to and Annie seems like the first person who ever looked beyond the fact that Kat was a teacher’s kid. Kat is also a budding mad scientist.

    2) I just started reading the webcomic Bad Machinery from the same person who did Scary Go Round (the website it’s on is also called Scary Go Round) partially because I heard about the awesome friendship between Charlotte and Shauna (and later on Mildred) – it’s a really hilarious comic about wacky mystery solving crime fighting adventures along with school, bullies, wendigos, and football(soccer).

    3) the tv show the Middleman – Lacey is a confrontational spoken word performance artist and Wendy is a painter and superhero in training, they both save the world. Wendy is the main character but since Lacey is her roommate as well as her best friend she shows up in every episode.

    4) I watched the first few episodes of Hellcats but I’m terrible at keeping up with things so I missed everything until the 12th episode and while Savannah and Marti fight over a boy, starting in I think the 11th which I haven’t watched, they make up half way through the 12th and are back to being deeply devoted to each other. It doesn’t quite make your criteria because of that but I decided to include it since through out they really reminded me of a gender-switched King Arthur and Lancelot and the show itself as well as the characters are very into cheerleading as a real sport and treat it with respect.

    5)Two comics I haven’t read but have heard great things about are
    a] Birds of Prey (DC) with originally Oracle(formerly Batgirl), Black Canary, and Huntress
    b]Daughters of the Dragon (Marvel miniseries) with Misty Knight and Colleen Wing, they are partners in a private investigations firm and later apparently bailbondswomen and bounty hunters of super villains. Misty is a former policewoman with a bionic arm and Collen is a modern day samurai.

    6) I haven’t finished watching the anime El Cazador de la Bruja which is from the same studio as Noir but the main relationship in the show is between bounty hunter Nadie and her super powered amnesia stricken bounty Ellis who Nadie is helping to find out the truth about her past. According to wikipedia their relationship might turn romantic so I’m not sure if it fits what your looking for. Legally available for free on the funimation website.

    7) Occult Accademy (anime) has a strong friendship between Maya and Ami as well as Ami and Kozue. Legally available for free on crunchyroll. Maya is a cool badass but Ami has known her since they were little kids and I feel makes her more connected and human.

    That’s all I can think of off the top of my head, I feel like there are some more on the tip of my tongue but I can’t remember.

  24. Tristan J says

    I think it’s been brought up on this website before, but the friendship between Elliot and Molly Clock was not only the best arc on the show, but also the best representation of friendship I’ve ever seen. One episode was about how Elliot and Molly empowered the other – at first it looked like a mentor-student relationship a la JD and Cox, but then Elliot discovered Molly had a tendency to date pathetic guys and got angry at her. Then they settled it and from then on they had a stronger friendship where they bantered with each other and against people who tried to put the other down. I always wished Molly had stayed on the entire run of the series, partly because she made Elliot a funner character and partly because she was just awesome.

  25. says

    For me, Sally and Susan in Coupling. I love them! Also that they include Jane in their gang even though she’s not very nice and a bit off the wall – because sometimes she says funny things! They compete with each other, but not over men, and they talk about EVERYTHING. They make me happy.

  26. says

    Well, in spite of all its shortcomings, the main characters of Sex and the City. I only watched it occasionally (I had no cable at home) , but I do remember how well I could relate to the friendship between the four women – and I’m neither rich nor American.

    Heidi and Clara from Heidi? They were both isolated children before they met each other. They were eager to be friends but had to toil to make it work.

  27. says

    My Little Ponies were already mentioned, but let’s elaborate on that. I’ve been watching the new MLP series Friendship Is Magic lately, and it’s all about this. The main characters are Twilight, Pinkie, Rarity, Fluttershy, Applejack and Rainbow. The only male character in the main group is the protagonist’s pet/secretary Spike the dragon. There’s also a “subgroup” of baby ponies who have their own adventures, with an occasional episode focusing on them.

    Every episode has the protagonist (or in some cases, the others too) learn something about friendship. Their lives definitely don’t revolve around boys, instead they pursue their own dreams (which can be anything from athletics to fashion art to farming apples) and deal with the labours of everyday life.

    It’s especially interesting to me to see how the relationships between the girls play out in different situations. For example, the athletic rivalry between Applejack and Rainbow becomes very prominent whenever they’re with just each other. I also really like the message that they don’t have to become exactly like each other (a single-minded clique) to be friends.

  28. SunlessNick says

    Faracape has some great relationships between women, the stars probably being Aeryn/Zhaan and Aeryn/Chiana (both of which grow from very barren soil).

    • ninjapenguin says

      You know, one of the things I loved about Farscape was that they let the women’s friendships be just as complicated as the men’s. You don’t see that too often.

  29. M.C. says

    McLeod’s Daughters: The whole point of the show is female friendship/sistership. Honestly, check out this montage from the last episode http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45LB0Mzy0Ms

    Vampire Academy by Richelle Meade: Rose & Lissa have a great friendship. Basically Rose died, Lissa brought her back with magic and ever since then they shared a telepathic bond.

    Jacky and Amy from the Bloody Jack Series by L.A. Meyer: Jacky was a homeless girl, who dressed as a boy to become a sailor; Amy was a fine lady and they instantly became best friends, even before Jacky saved Amy’s family fortune and Amy saved Jacky’s life.

    And how about Captain Janeway and Seven of Nine from Star Trek Voyager? Or does that not count since Janeway was more of a mentor than friend to Seven?

  30. Anemone says

    Nancy Drew and Bess and George.

    In the movie Conviction, the two main female characters become good friends, because “they’re the only two people in their law school program who have finished puberty”, as Minnie Driver’s character puts it.

    Some of the friends in Circle of Friends would count, too.

    • Maria says

      Nancy, Bess, and George! And weren’t all three also individually characterized? That was such a good series.

  31. says

    Comic book female best friends:
    1. Barbara Gordon and Dinah Lance – Oracle and Black Canary. I see they’ve been mentioned above, but I feel they could be mentioned again. They are awesome. They are snarky, and smart, and just…awesome.

    2. Don’t know much about them but! Fire and Ice from Justice League International

    3. Donna Troy (Former Wonder Girl) and Koriand’r (Starfire) from Teen Titans! While I have enormous issues with Kory, their friendship is really inspiring both in the older, and the 90’s stuff. They are always there for each other.

    4. From the recent Batgirl issue #14, it looks like Stephanie Brown’s Batgirl and Kara Zor-El’s Supergirl are on their way to becoming bff’s. They even had an awesome sleepover at the end of the issue after they beat the crap out of a bunch of draculas. (see page: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_7QQPWxg_JyM/TRrkQS9ghVI/AAAAAAAAAtc/Jiso6H-8EBo/s1600/batgirl+dracs.png)

    5. Waaaay back in the 80’s there was Kitty Pryde’s Shadowcat and Illyana Rasputin’s Magik in X-Men and New Mutants. Which is ignored like crazy these days.

    Those are the five I can think of off the top of my head. :)

  32. ninjapenguin says

    Sorcery and Cecilia is delightful epistolary YA book about best friends Kate and Cecilia who solve a magical mystery, have adventures, and also find charming men to fall in love with. There are two more books in the series, but the stories focus on Kate and Cecy.

    Book of a Thousand Days is based off of a somewhat obscure fairytale, and features Dashti, a maid, and her lady, Lady Saren. They become friends when they are trapped for three years in a bricked up tower, as punishment to the Lady for not marrying a brutal neighboring Lord. Saren is traumatized by the events of those three years, and Dashti works hard to try to heal her, even when she’d rather just leave. For bonus, it’s set in a fantasy version of Mongolia.

    • Maria says

      It sounds interesting — but is Dashti always the maid? I noticed that in the Amazon description that it sounds like she’s still serving Saren. Is there friendship reciprocal?

      • ninjapenguin says

        Well, Saren starts calling Dashti her friend while they are still trapped in the tower. While Saren is fairly soon broken by the whole experience, Dashti is much stronger, and ends up in charge. And SPOILERS, but….

        After they escape the tower, first they both work as commoners in the kitchens for a while, and then Saren asks Dashti to pretend to be the Lady, while Saren pretends to be her maid, as she is still terrified of pretty much everything. Dashti falls for the Lord of a neighboring land, who thinks she is Saren. When it is discovered that Dashti is not a noble, and there is trial for Dashti’s life, Saren, despite her fear, testifies in front of everyone that she has adopted Dashti as her sister, so Dashti can marry the man she loves. She tells Dashti to never again call her My Lady.

  33. M.C. says

    A classic literature example: Elinor and Marianne from Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility.

    And then there’s Gracie and Sam from the only female cop buddy movie I know: Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous.

    • Maria says

      You know, I only saw the first one — I liked the dynamic between the pagaent girls and the cop, particularly when they all go drinking and one of them talks about her professor assaulting her.

      • Unwisely says

        I love love love the first one, but was disappointed in the second one (which Sandra Bullock said she intended to be a female buddy comedy, analogous to all those male cop buddy comedies.) I totally support the premise, but the execution was … not what I hoped.

        Speaking of movies, how about Corey and Gina from Empire Records? It’s over the course of a day, so it’s not like there’s a whole lot of evolution but everyone in that store had their own characters. And they do talk about boys but also about other things (well, work, going away to college, and drugs.)

        And, for some books, am going to say Kris Longknife and Penny (and Abby, and almost Vicki). In the first book(s), Kris doesn’t really have any female friends, but as the series goes on she collects a crew of other people, friendships develop (Penny was originally Kris’s (male) best friend’s boyfriend, then husband) and the series gets gender balance (and I would say the last few books have tilted slightly more female). And it’s military SF, so they spend far more time talking about battles, breaking people out, saving planets from disaster, assassination attempts, aliens….you know, interesting stuff. (Also boys, sometimes, but it’s almost to the point where I want a couple more boy subplots.) I have to caveat this by saying it’s not the 100% best written series of all times (and the copy-editing is *atrocious*). On the other hand, it’s the only series I buy as soon as new books comes out, so.

        • M.C. says

          I’ve heard of the Kris Longknife series, but never read one of the novels so far… Maybe I should check them out, because I really like watching space operas.
          Are there any other space opera novels with interesting female characters that you could recommend?

  34. says

    Kaylee and Inara from Firefly was already said but I just wanna add that I think their friendship is great cos Kaylee as a woman sticks by Inara when she’s being slut-shamed and called a whore by the men (Jayne and Mal) rather than joining with jealous slut-shaming like other female characters might have, although it could be said she is being naiive about the glamour surrounding the life of a companion she shows more respect for Inara than anyone else.

    Nurse Jackie, Jackie and Dr. Ellie; I love love love that friendship cos they are so in tune with each other without having to even say anything, mutual respect, not to mention *SPOILERS* stepping in when Jackie’s addiction is revealed. Such an adult friendship, not often portrayed among female characters.

    Animorphs Cassie and Rachel. In the TV show anyway, they were always backing each other up and defending each other and quietly, implicitly supportive.

    In Roseanne, I love the relationship between Roseanne and her sister Jackie, mirrored by the more argumentative sisters Becky and Darlene who you realise will become as close as Roseanne and Jackie when they’re grown up. I like that Roseanne and Jackie are so close, J’s always at R’s house and R can’t cope when J goes to police academy.

    Dark Angel, original Cindy and Max. nuff sed.

    And I like all the female relationships between the girls on my so-called life. cos it’s realistic.
    All that being said, it’s still slim pickins.
    And on the subject of Daria and Jane. wish I had something like that right now.

    • says

      also if you’re counting games. Shin Megami Tensei Persona 4 has some good moments between Chie and Yukiko who are childhood best friends.

    • Maria says

      OMG ORIGINAL CINDY!!! <3 <3 <3 Max I can take or leave… but I did like her relationship with her roomie.

  35. Robin says

    Oooh, so many of my suggestions have been mentioned already. I second:

    * Jaye and Mohandra in Wonderfalls — together through fainting spells and talking animals and barrel drops and then some
    * both Rory/Lane and Lorelai/Sookie from Gilmore Girls for the reasons mentioned above
    * PJ and Stephanie from My Boys — the tomboy and the glamorpuss who make each other better people
    * Temperance and Angela in Bones
    * and of course Buffy and Willow

    I think a case could be made for Lily and Robin on How I Met Your Mother. They were brought together by the men in their lives, but they’ve definitely forged a bond all their own. And bonus points for one being happily married and the other happily single.

    I’d also like to add an honorable mention for Tina and Mercedes in Glee. Although they’re not the “main” main characters, I’m really enjoying the bits of their friendship we do get to see.

    And I’d like to be able to include the girls of Make It Or Break It just because I love gymnastics, but the oldest friendship among them — Kaylie and Lauren — has pretty much imploded over a boy, so… Sadness. There’s a nice friendship developing between the two gym managers, Summer and Kim, this season, but they’re not really the main characters either.

  36. says

    Man, it’s tough to think of those that fit all the criteria.

    Daughters of the Dragon at Marvel comics? Sadly, I haven’t read all their stuff so I can’t attest to Misty Knight and Colleen Wing NEVER falling out over a man, but the Samurai Bullets mini fits into what you’re looking for.

    Tiana and Charlotte from the Princess and the Frog is another good one. They talk about men a lot, yes, because Charlotte’s boy-crazy but the way the story works out it’s one of the strongest female friendships in a movie I’ve seen.

  37. Jen says

    Some of these have been mentioned already, but some of my favorite female friendships are:

    Parker & Sophie (Leverage) – Sophie is almost a mentor to Parker in regards to teaching her how to relate to people. They work together (stealing things and conning people) but there are frequent comments that make it clear they have a relationship beyond work that doesn’t involve the men they work with.

    Veronica & Mac (Veronica Mars) – Every good detective needs a computer savvy sidekick and Mac fills that role for Veronica.

    Brennan & Angela (Bones) – Brennan is the logicial, analytical one who likes to apply scientific principles to every facet of her life. Angela is the emotional one who tries to help Brennan understand that there is more to life than science.

    Wendy & Lacey (The Middleman) – They met in college (art school) and share an illegal sublet where they struggle to make ends meet while staying true to their personal ethics and pursuing their artistic endeavors. In one episode they are both interested in the same guy but Lacey steps aside when she realizes that Wendy has a lot more in common with him.

    Cammie, Bex, Liz & Macey (Gallagher Girls books) – These four go to “spy school” and are willing to go to great lengths for each other. Some of it involves boys but they also get involved in serious political intrigue since Macey is the daughter of a politician.

    Abby & Ziva (NCIS) – They started out not liking each other for a variety of reasons but developed a close friendship over the years. It’s mostly based on their work but not on men.

    Sookie & Tara (True Blood) – Been besties since they were little. Support each other through losing family members, attacks, betrayels, and much more.

    Marti & Savannah (Hellcats) – Almost end up having a friend breakup over a guy but are able to put it aside and focus on their sport (cheerleading) and other issues in both of their lives.

    Rachel & Mercedes (Glee) – Both total divas but they have developed a fairly strong friendship based on their mutual love of music and performing.

    Zoey & Stevie Rae/Zoey & Aphrodite (House of Night series) – Both Stevie Rae and Aphrodite are critical friends to Zoey and support her through not only her boy issues but through becoming the youngest High Priestess and trying to take out evil.

  38. Em says

    Emily Prentiss and Penelope Garcia from Criminal Minds. Right now the show’s in an arc where Prentiss is facing off against an Enemy From Her Past TM, and she and Garcia have been talking about a variety of things from the cases to why Prentiss is stressed lately to, occasionally, guys; the most recent episode had a scene where Prentiss talked about a nightmare she’s had where she can’t protect a little girl who only sees good things in the world, and then compares the little girl to Garcia and thanks her for all the times Garcia has made her smile.

    The downside is that this arc is the show’s way of getting rid of Prentiss :-( Which is even more awful because they also just got rid of JJ, one of the other awesome women on the show (and very good friends with Garcia). They replaced JJ with a younger, more clueless blonde girl who so far seems to be hanging out in the background not having much personality. *does not like these developments*

    Also, the girls from the Gallagher Girls series, starting with I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You. They do sometimes talk about guys, but they’re at spy school, so more often they talk about covert surveillance and cryptography and combat techniques and uncovering Nefarious Plots TM which always seem to pop up. (They have some very cool gadgets, too.) Also stuff like the main character feeling pressured to live up to her parents’ legacies (both super-spies, and her mom is now headmistress of the spy school while her dad is MIA), and teaching the new girl who is a “problem kid” and daughter of some bigwig politician how the school works, and things like that.

    • Attackfish says

      The downside is that this arc is the show’s way of getting rid of Prentiss

      This breaks my heart too, and the way the execs foisted it on creative ticks me off so much. I’m absolutely thrilled though that even though they’re killing off the female character, it’s at the end of her story arc, and not a side note in one of the male character’s arcs. SHE IS NOT REFRIGERATED! YAY! We take victories where we can get them.

      • Kex says

        Wait WHAT? They are getting rid of Prentiss?! How did I miss this? Why would they do that?!

        Now I am depressed:(

      • Em says

        It is a very cool arc, which she gets to herself! It shouldn’t have to end like this – TV characters get shot all the time and go on just fine. Garcia did, even. Unless they make it utterly impossible, I’m going to assume that reports of Prentiss’s death will be exaggerated, and some future season will have her come out of witness protection and rejoin the cast. And then JJ leaves the Pentagon because she has ethical conflicts with her boss or something and rejoins the team too, because why not go all-out when inventing fantasy future seasons? 😀

    • Attackfish says

      In light of the most recent episode of Criminal Minds, let’s hear it again for Emily Prentice and JJ (and Garcia!)

  39. mari4212 says

    Kate and Abby, from NCIS, followed by Ziva and Abby. Kate and Abby were instant besties, whereas Ziva and Abby had a much longer road to being friends, but they all had interesting friendships.

    If you include sisters being each other’s friends, then the Little Women series, as well as most Jane Austen novels. Also, Hand of Isis by Jo Graham, half sisters who are best friends and loyal to their deaths.

    Terry Pratchett’s Witches sub-series in Discworld also works well, and even the City Watch sub-series gives us Angua and Cherie, though they tend to play out as a sub-plot.

    And Mercedes Lackey’s Heralds of Valdemar series also tends to include a lot of strong female friendships.

    • Kivitasku says

      Oh my yes, the epic friendship of Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax!

      To list others from Discworld novels:
      Tiffany Aching and Petulia
      Tiffany and Annagramma
      Glenda Sugarbean and Juliet Stollop

      There was also a lot of female bonding in Monstrous Regiment (the Discworld novel, not the Sherlock Holmes one), some of it lesbian, none of it broken up by boys, but I can’t detail it here because of spoilers.

  40. says

    This thread is overwhelming in a very good way!

    What about Kira and Jadzia in Deep Space 9? They were very different people, with very different reactions to a lot of things, but there was an easy respect, friendship and sympathy from them. I just loved how Kira would shudder at some of the things Jadzia did in her personal life, and Jadzia was mystified as to why Kira was so uptight about it, but they totally accepted each other’s differences without judgment. They weren’t necessarily best friends, and they didn’t have scenes together every episode, but that wonderful ability they had to laugh and marvel at how different they were stuck with me.

      • says

        By that time, the whole cast is running all over the place with the war and everything, so they don’t actually encounter one another that much. There is a sort of coming-home ep where she meets everyone as Ezri, and I could *swear* there’s a good scene between the two of them, but… I may need to rewatch some eps and let you know.

  41. says

    I’ve seen a few of these mentioned, I think, as I scrolled past, and a few that haven’t:

    Bo&Kenzie (Lost Girl): These two support one another, Bo with Kenzie’s need for a home and friend/sister, and Kenzie with Bo’s need to find more about her history and path in the world. SO AWESOME!

    Lacey&Karen&Wanda (Corner Gas): Most of the time, these three were just getting into trouble, and since it was a sitcom based on whatever was going on in town, it was NEVER about what relationships they were in. It was awesome; it was just about their characters!

    Linda&Veronica (Better Off Ted): I’m not sure this one qualifies since Veronica was Linda’s boss, but Linda often ignored that and the two of them often went off and did their own thing independent of the male characters. Like the episode where Veronica got an award and had to raise funds for the company’s current pet charity, which matched young girls with women mentors in business. It was a charity that actually meant something to Veronica (and not a lot meant something to her), so the two went off … well, it was a great episode involving heavily armed razor back fawns. 😀

    Stephanie(Batgirl)&Wendy(Proxy): Stephanie Brown is the current in-continuity Batgirl, after Cassandra Cain. Wendy is the daughter of the villain Calculator, and currently Batgirl’s associate. She functions much as Oracle does for the Birds of Prey. The two are quickly bonding, and struggling with not only their new identities, their pasts, but also their every day “normal” lives as students. Did I mention Wendy is in a wheelchair like Oracle? She doesn’t let it hold her back. Stephanie and Wendy are just plain ol’ awesomesauce. 😀

  42. The Other Anne says

    I didn’t see anyone else name these so if they did that’s too bad but:

    From FFX, Yuna, Lulu, and Rikku are friends (in very complicated ways considering the way the game’s narrative goes).

    I also just rewatched Last Exile with my mom which features plenty of women. The great friendships on the show are between Tatiana and her navigator, and between Tatiana and the First Officer. Before that we rewatched Trigun with Millie and Meryl, two of my favs. I always loved the relationship that developed in Escaflowne between Hitomi and Merle.

    That’s all I can think of for now that i don’t think were already mentioned, though.

  43. Dez says

    I recently watched Fruits Basket (I know, late to the party!), and I was particularly struck by the friendship of the three girls Tohru, Arisa, and Saki. They have real conversations, they stick up for each other, and they’re genuinely supportive and not catty. It was so refreshing, I just kept saying to my boyfriend, “They’re FRIENDS! YAY!” Which probably gives an idea of how incredibly rare this is.

    • Casey says

      I’m lucky I watched/read Furuba early in my adolescence since it made be believe such things were normal/plentiful in the media…LOLSOB >_>

    • Red says

      AH, I LOVE ‘Fruits Basket’! Tohru’s such a super-sweetheart! And with such awesome, yet different friends. but it’s showed that their differences make them strong and function well.

      Tohru also bonds well with Kagura and Kisa Sohma, though they’re only showed in a few episodes.

  44. Piridin says

    Seconding all of these: Azumanga Daioh! – they really do feel like an actual group of teenage girls, which is a ridiculously hard thing to find. Other ‘moe’ shows (and I really don’t think Azumanga fits that definition, but I won’t go into that here :P) prefer to stuff their female characters into nerd fantasy boxes rather than let them act like real people, but this show thankfully avoids that trap. It’s sadly refreshing.

    Haibane Renmei – another show which is all about its female ensemble cast, and the friendships in particular between Rakka and Reki, and also Rakka and Kuu, are so well-written and moving. I won’t give spoilers here, but it’s obvious throughout the story that these women and girls care deeply for each other.

    My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic – like Azumanga, this one’s great at representing the diversity of women and of the friendships we can have, which is especially impressive given that its target audience is 8-year-olds. I don’t care, I love it 😐 Just because Rarity’s the frilliest pony in town doesn’t mean she can’t get along with the down-to-earth Applejack, for example. And while Fluttershy might be gentle, she certainly isn’t weak when it comes to standing up for her friends. We need more kids’ shows like this, for sure!

    Aaand adding some mentions of my own! Angelic Layer has quite a few good female friendships, and the main one is between Misaki and Hatoko. They bond over playing Angelic Layer, and both of them being a lot smaller and younger than any of the other players. Eventually they team up and work together in the final round of the tournament, and kick much doll ass. 😀

    Black Lagoon has about as many good female as male characters, which is unusual for a show so centred around action, in particular Revy and Edda. Edda’s a nun, Revy’s a pirate, they get drunk together and wreck shit up and it’s a lot of fun. (Just a quick warning though – there are some skeevy bits and some pretty triggering storylines, especially in second season, so look it up first if that would be an issue for you.)

    Higurashi (When The Cicadas Cry) has an almost entirely female main cast, and while it looks like your standard new-dude-and-a-bunch-of-girls harem anime setup to begin with… It’s actually a horror. Each arc has a different character get cursed and kill everyone else, and the only cure is friendship! It’s much better than it sounds, and all of the main cast care a lot about each other.

    Some games too, since I can’t seem to stop rambling! Final Fantasy is actually pretty good for this, and I remember X, X-2 and XIII in particular all have great friendships in them. In X, Yuna and Lulu seem to respect each other greatly – Yuna as the summoner who has to give her life for the world and Lulu as her guardian who will protect her until she does that. Then in X-2 the main trio of Yuna, Rikku and Paine go around being treasure hunters and it’s all a bit silly but still really fun. In XIII you have Vanille and Fang, whose friendship is basically the entire reason for the plot and way too deep and awesome to give the space it deserves here.

    And Recettear! You’ve got Recette, a young girl who has to turn her house into an item shop to settle her father’s debt, and Tear, the fairy debt collector who helps her. They don’t start on an equal footing, but by the end they’re pretty close friends. The many other female characters you can recruit as party members are all really enjoyable, and a more minor character, Alouette, quite clearly just wants to be Recette’s friend behind all the rich-girl posturing.

    I… Think I’m done? >.<

  45. Shaun says

    Heh. Buffy and Willow were the first example that popped into my mind too. Their friendship is pretty much absolute.

    For a literary example, try Annice and Stasya in Sing the Four Quarters by Tanya Huff. Essentially they’re bards in an open relationship because they spend months out of the year traveling around the land. Despite the fact the book opens with Annice pregnant by a man she slept with, this never really changes their relationship (aside from in the most practical ways)–Stasya is certainly never at any risk of being edged out.

    I would avoid the other books, mainly because after the first certain preferences (like Staysa being a lesbian) are out the window and EVERYONE IS BISEXUAL (even being bi myself I find that really obnoxious) and suddenly every book has to end with the most contrived happy endings imaginable. Just so everyone’s happy. But the first book is awesome!

  46. Gnatalby says

    Sookie and Tara on True Blood. They sort of fight over a dude, but not really. They both save each others’ lives a bunch.

    Thelma and Louise!

  47. Em says

    Oh! Maybe Ivanova and Talia from Babylon 5? They mostly talk about Ivanova’s issues with telepaths and the tragic story of her mother, and don’t actually become friends until soon before Talia gets written out of the show (and even then it’s implied that they’re maybe kinda sorta getting romantically involved off-camera). But they’re so awesome that they deserve a mention. *firmly believes that Talia is still out there somewhere recovered and well with her special new powers*

    • Shaun says

      I thought about that. J. Michael confirmed they had a sexual relationship, even if no one says “bisexual” on screen, because nobody says Sheridan is “heterosexual” (this is possibly the best thing JMS ever said). Incidentally, Talia was SUPPOSED to recover. Remember that episode where Kosh was screwing around with her with the Vicar dude? It was telepathically backing up her original personality or something along those lines so it could restore her after the Sleeper personality took hold. The reason it never happened is apparently the actress is a huge douche and nobody wanted to work with her again (although Claudia Christian apparently got along with her).

      So yes, in your proper timeline where Hollywood drama didn’t interfere with the storyline, Talia got better. I still prefer Lyta though, even if Lyta doesn’t have any strong relationships on the show kinda… at all. :/

      • Lyss says

        Erm. I’m pretty sure it was more that the actress and Garibaldi’s actor had a really messy break-up. But then, I was late to the B5 party.

        • says

          Really? She was married to him from 1995-1997, apparently, and she left the show in 1995 (her last episode was Divided Loyalties, which looks like it first aired in July 1995). So I’m not sure how it could’ve been a bad break-up that caused her to leave.

          • Maria says

            Particularly since she and other cast members have said that it’s because the contracts for the show were so wonky — basically, they weren’t sure if the show was going to continue from season to season, so when she didn’t get a contract, she accepted another offer.

      • Maria says

        If I had a nickel for every time someone said an actress was a huge douche, I would work on a website talking about sexism in medi– wait, what?

        • Shaun says

          Yeah, I figured someone might question that. That said, anyone whose first words on-screen as an anchor at HEADLINE NEWS are “Hi, I’m Andrea Thompson, and unless you’ve been living in a cave, you probably already know that.” has a massive case of ego and is PROBABLY someone I wouldn’t want to work with either.

          • says

            Yes, but if you had the slightest idea how many male actors are douches from hell and NO ONE EVER CALLS THEM ON IT, or they have to like shoot somebody before anyone calls them on it, you might understand Maria’s remark a little better.

            No one’s arguing women are never jackasses. We’re arguing that women get called on it more often than they actually are, and men get called on it less often than they actually are. Case in point: Mandy Patinkin has abruptly abandoned two successful series in mid-stream without so much as a goodbye, and it’s pretty well acknowledged that he’s not exactly easy to work with. But does anyone ever call him a douche? No. Why not? [ETA: Not hating on Mandy Patinkin. Just saying if he deserves the benefit of the doubt, then an actress who obviously left in a professional manner certainly does, too.]

            In any case, I thought hey, wouldn’t it be neat it someone researched this question. Turns out Thompson also left CNN under her own steam. Some people are just pickier about what projects they’ll do/stick with, and if they’re women in HW they usually get branded douches, but if they’re men, that’s different. (The very fact JMS had a re-entry plan for her character suggests she was NOT forced out.)

            • Shaun says

              That’s true. I can think of more actresses I’ve heard douchey things about than actors (in the context of why did y leave show x, not “Mel Gibson let words come out of his mouth again). I remember hearing tons of rumors that Virginia Hey was being forced out of Farscape even though she left cause she was having reactions to all the blue makeup they had her in, and pretty much wrote her out in such a way to allow her to return (rather than say, a more dramatic but clear quick death).

              • SunlessNick says

                A bad reaction to the makeup is why Caitlin Brown (the original Na’Toth) left Babylon 5 as well. She managed to escape being blamed for it, though.

                • Shaun says

                  Yeah, and JMS had an AWESOME thread for her wherein she wasn’t just a mouthpiece for her Ambassador but was actually working to restore the original kind of government the Narns had prior to the Centauri occupation.

          • Maria says

            Considering how many shows she’s been on, I would just think she’s being silly, actually. I haven’t seen or heard any signs of her having a huge ego since… and considering the microscope female celebs live under, I think if there WAS something to say, someone would have said it, repeatedly, with pictures and interviews and tweets and polls. Plus, how rad is this? She left CNN because of professional differences re: information and the media. “Basically… you just give the viewers enough to scare the hell out of them, and not any real valuable information. And we saw so much of that after Sept. 11 that I thought was, frankly, irresponsible.” http://www.tvguide.com/news/andrea-thompson-psychic-41074.aspx

      • Em says

        Yeah. I mean, they kind of make a point of Lyta being isolated for a reason, but it’s still sad. And British telepathic Waco leader didn’t do much for her personal life.

        • Shaun says

          I like the fact that the other characters basically treat her like shit and use her for her telepathic abilities, and she actually calls them out on it. It’s realistic to me because this is how people behave, but Lyta’s such a good person she basically just continues to help even though the world pretty much fucks her over every chance it gets. And then in the last episodes she’s like FUCK THIS SHIT and goes to explore the Universe with G’Kar.

          Byron was just obnoxious. Especially since they spent the previous 4 seasons trying to treat telepaths as individuals and now suddenly they were interchangeable, wore all black and without personality.

          • SunlessNick says

            I think Byron was supposed to be obnoxious; for all his avowed pacifism, he allowed his telepaths about as much of their own identity as the Psi Corps did.

            I always felt for Lyta, because of this huge gaping hole in most of the other characters’ morals when it came to using her; and for having to sign her life away to get enough money to eat. (Conversely, I always liked Catherine Sakai for being an ordinary space-businesswoman), ‘K I’m drifting from topic, sorry, I find it hard not to ramble when it comes to Babylon 5.

            • Maria says

              I’m trying to re-watch the series, but keep getting to the point where I’m like, Hey, look, it’s WHITE GUYS IN SPACE!!!!!!! Particularly when the writing on female characters is really inconsistant

                • Maria says

                  3rd — the ep were Delenn is all OMG!!! when Sheridan’s wife comes into their room.

                  First of all, how does this dead woman have a key or passcode to his quarters? SHE DIED BEFORE HE GOT TO THE STATION. Secondly, you seriously want to tell me that someone who is so convinced of her own specialness (rightfully so) who has been seeing signs of her destiny since she was a kid hasn’t once envisioned a scenario where she would be in the middle of a ritual involving protecting a loved one from evil and evil shows up? My lord, *I’VE* had that fantasy, and I’m just an SF/F fan!

                  IDK I found her unsurety wildly out of character.

              • SunlessNick says

                WHITE GUYS IN SPACE!!!!!!!

                In sad what might have beens, I believe that JMS’s first choice for Sheridan was Tony Todd.

                • Maria says

                  Ugh. But yeah, my “over it” for monoracial crews and man-space SF/F are actually why Enterprise and Voyager and DS9 are my favorite Star Treks, and why Star Wars hasn’t ever really captured my fancy.

                  • Sam L. says

                    I guess Dr. Franklin being on his long walk isn’t helping too much either, then.

                    Wile B5 is up, I have to ask. Is the actress who played Talia the masthead face for Jezebel? Because whenever I see that site, that is my immediate reaction.

  48. bulletproof says

    I’ve wanted to tip the Hathor Legacy crew off to the Australian TV series “Rain Shadow” for a long time. It’s a really well-written show about the two veterinarians in a small rural community (with a secret!). At first, the tough and experienced owner of the practice can’t stand the young bright-eyed assistant who wants to do everything by the book, and the assistant is severely put off by the town’s (and the boss’) secretive and rude attitude. But, over time they develop a grudging respect for each other, which slooowly turns into some kind of friendship. Just like a cop show! (Love them cop shows.) Except they’re both women! (And not cops, but veterinarians may be more similar to cops than I thought)

    I made it sound way more cliché than I think it is, but their relationship really is based on a very male formula – as in, they both identify strongly with their work and their abilities, and serve the community in a way that is often considered stereotypically male. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the boss even has a dark secret extremely similar to the dark secrets of male loner heroes, except turned on its head. It was very refreshing to see a show about women that wasn’t a show about women. Being female is just one part of their lot in life, not their entire personality. I also loved seeing realistic women who actuallydo things, instead of just sitting around and sometimes talk to people a bit.

    Also, I think a lot of shows/plots about women make a huge point about following your heart, which to me seems like it’s based on the stereotype that women are ruled by their feelings, but choosing to show the good consequenses of this, instead of the bad ones like more misogynist stories do. I’m not saying that following your heart is wrong – in a lot of situations it’s absolutely the right thing to do – but I think women even in shows that try to be feminist are too often painted as people who follow their hearts because they can’t choose anything else, like they don’t think about it and just know through their women’s intuition what to do. Not in “Rain Shadow”, though. These people have goals and morals and dilemmas! And internal conflicts about right and wrong that aren’t about which guy they should pick! And vaginas! Can you imagine?

    *steps of soapbox*

    • Raeka says

      Argh, I HATE that whole ‘follow your heart!’ trope thing. I mean, sometimes it’s nice to watch The Heroine be all inspiring and Doing The Right Thing because she’s just so Good she can’t possibly do anything else, but–

      …look, I’m not that kind of girl. I’m actually pretty unemotional, very logical. And I get tired of feeling like I’m somehow deficient because my brain answers faster than my heart.

      • says

        Word. And being told that somehow logic is inferior and we must always react emotionally. Which is counter to the idea of civilization in the first place. I mean, my emotions are telling to punch that guy in the face, but my brain is telling me he’s a living being who doesn’t deserve bodily assault.

  49. SunlessNick says

    While it seems like one hell of a stretch to call them equals, Sarah Jane and Maria from the Sarah Jane Adventures follows a lovely arc from grumpy mentor and sidekick to friendship – culminating in a scene where Sarah Jane’s been told by a precog to give something to the person she trusts most in the world, and chooses Maria (Which I also like, because mentoring a bunch of kids in the fine art of alien-wrangling is something that Sarah Jane got to be grumpy about rather than maternal) (Maria’s been written out now though – her replacement character rocks too, but her dynamics are different).

    Honourable mention: they’re not friends, exactly, but something that’s just as rare between female characters. The thing that more stayed with me from Caitlin R Kiernan’s Threshold was the relationship between Dancy and Sadie. Sadie is a rather bitter person, with carefully nurtured cynicism; Dancy is a drifter, running on empty, who’s given her life over to fighting monsters, because she doesn’t know of anyone else who can or will. And Sadie ends up deciding she has to help Dancy because she can’t live with not doing so – basically, Dancy inspires her. Sadly, they’re not the main part of the story (I like the main part too, don’t get me wrong, but Dancy and Sadie were special).

    • M.C. says

      I always saw Sarah Jane as a mentor to Maria (and later Rani). IMO the only female friendship between equals in the Whoniverse is Amy Pond & River Song. Which is kind of ironic since Amy is an ordinary 19-year-old human girl and River is a time-travelling archaologist who may or may not be the Doctor’s murderer and/or wife. But I guess they bonded over their shared hobbies: saving the universe and destroying fezes. *gg*


      • says

        OMG! Amy Pond and River Song! YES! Y’know, I sort of wish they’d just leave the Doctor behind and go off and have awesome adventures of their own? Because they’d have some seriously AWESOME adventures! 😀

        • M.C. says

          I think the world is totally ready for a Amy&River – Rocking the Universe spin-off. The only problem is: noone would be watching DW without those two. 😉

          btw: I just found this cool Doctor Who/Star Wars crossover. And who ends up defeating Darth Vader? Is it the Doctor? No, it’s Amy Pond, because it’s just so obvious that she’s more badass than the Doctor and Luke Skywalker combined. lol (And I can just guess that River in her black catsuit is stealing money from the Emperor *gg*):

      • SunlessNick says

        River and Amy are a better example, yes. I believe in the new series, they destroy a stetson too. But hey, if Amy can flat out [i]order[/i] reality to have the Doctor in it, and have reality blink first, then she’s anyone’s equal.

        • M.C. says

          But Amy would have never remembered to challenge reality, if River hadn’t given her the diary. So I say it was teamwork. 😉

          Also, it’s kind of hilarious that one of the big spoilers for the next series is: Amy & River destroy a stetson. lol

  50. Maartje says

    I’m going to go there: Gossip girl. So yeah, Blair plotted Serena’s destruction for basically the entire first season but the girl has self-worth issues and Serena left her at the same time her parents were divorcing. Once they worked that out, they went back to being true friends. Sure, their friendship has an achillesheel (Blair’s jealousy of Serena’s getting handing everything Blair fights for) but that just keeps things interesting.

    While on Highschool TV: One Tree Hill! Haley, Brooke and Peyton have their issues and yes Peyton and Brooke fall out over a boy but in the end, after a cat-fight or two, they always end up choosing each other. Haley is, for lack of a better word, sane one who is very supportive and in return inspires them to support her.

    The Flying Doctors was a great ole show from down under in the eighties. About Doctors flying to their patients because everyone lived far away from everyone else. It was very popular over here because it featured sunshine and wide-open spaces. Something we lack. Anyway, Nurse Kate and Doctor Chris (female) were good friends. Kate always fought tooth and nail to get the respect of the Docs but sort of didn’t have to with Chris and though they had very different values, always respected the other both professionally and personally.

    • Maria says

      I’d disagree — Blair and Serena’s friendship is complicated from the get go because of Serena sleeping with Blair’s boyfriend and from what I remember, even tho there’s more to that, Blair doesn’t know that.

  51. Shaun says

    I just looked at my bookshelf, and the only thing I can think to add that isn’t already up here is the Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. Pretty sure everyone’s already at least heard of it, but it’s kind of about stories, and all 8 main characters are women in 2 different generational groupings so there are a lot of complicated relationships there, not the least in the stories they tell too.

  52. says

    Oh, forgot to mention this one! Petite Princess Yucie, about five Chosen girls competing to be worthy of a magical crown that can grant wishes. They go to the same school, do missions as part of the “worthiness” training, get tangled in adventures – and become close friends. In the end, their friendship plays an extremely important part in the story.

  53. Amanda W. says

    The title characters in the series Rizzoli and Isles seem to have a pretty good female “buddy/bestie” relationship despite being extremely different people.

  54. cycles says

    Classics: Esther and Ada in Dickens’s Bleak House, Sara and Becky in Burnett’s A Little Princess, Bonnie and Sylvia in Aiken’s The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

  55. Jaynie says

    I had to have a look through my TV collection just to see if I could make a more useful contribution to this than “thirding Willow and Buffy!” Rather depressingly, I can only really add:

    Nessa and Stacey (Gavin & Stacey) have a very long-term friendship feel to them. They aren’t at all the same “type” of characters so it feels like their bond is more substantial than “we do each other’s hair!” or something equally superficial (Nessa would not stand for that bullshit, I think). I also love that Nessa totally at home with Stacy’s family, because there are a lot of shows that tell us the characters have been BFs FOREVER but still they act like the parents/siblings of the other friend are complete strangers, which doesn’t really ring true in most circumstances.

    Though I’d second the Wonderfalls and Sarah Jane Adventures references, even though you can argue that the latter is more a mentor thing. SJA is great though because it takes a 60 year old woman (seriously!) and a tween and allows them to become close friends, while acknowledging their obvious differences. It’s great to see at a time where IRL we are encouraging people to be more and more insular within their own peer group.

    In the Doctor Who expanded universe, Leela and Romana also become really close friends, which is kind of interesting considering that they started out in very different places.

    And because Buffy and WIllow were the first to spring to mind, I have to add that I can remember several major fallings out, but they are usually about things like Willow not just wanting to be a sidekick or Buffy asking too much or whathaveyou. You know, the stuff normal friends fall out over.

    • Jaynie says

      Oh, and I just thought of some of my favourite books as a tween: the Circle of Magic series by Tamora Pierce. THe main characters didn’t start out really liking each other at all, but were fire-forged into a closer-than-siblings status (and there is only one guy in the group of four, who is treated more like one of the girls). As well, the women whose house they live in are long time best friends, and even though they don’t feature very heavily, the vibe is definitely there.

      • says

        Agree with you on the three girls becoming fast friends (along with the boy). But Rosethorn and Lark, their foster mothers, are a couple. The subtext is there in early books and in one of the later books (Will of the Empress, I believe) they do spell it out that it’s a sexual relationship.

  56. Lyss says

    Doctor Who, Bernice Summerfield and Ace (Dorothy McShane) are pretty close in and out of Audios and Virgin novels. (They’re my favorite TARDIS crew, really) I love that they’re both so sarcastic and yet aren’t the same, that Benny’s age and Ace’s time travel experience complement the other. That they don’t really need to talk to figure out what the other is planning (I know, I know, Seven is there as well, but they all get their own adventures).

    Nyssa and Tegan from the original series were best friends. And I’d add Peri and Erimem from the Big Finish audios, as well. Both of these sets are sweet and occasionally sarcastic, and both are good at needling the Doctor, too.

    Someone earlier mentioned Kitty Pryde and Illyana. I’d add Kitty Pryde and Rachel Summers to the list, as they were wonderfully-written best friends during the Excalibur era. (I think Storm and Kitty tend towards mentor and student, though they’re also friends).

    Jean Grey and Ororo Munroe. I’m probably reading more into it, but I remember them being good friends in the comics. But then, that was fifteen years ago.

    Jane and Mo’ in any incarnation of Painkiller Jane seem to be BFFs. It’s been ages since I’ve read any, though. I seem to recall Mo’ does a lot of “patching Jane up” and Jane does a lot of “investigating when Mo’ isn’t allowed to due to being a Cop and not fake!dead”.

    If it hadn’t been canceled, I like to think Daisy Ogbaa and Annie Frost of Chase would have managed to be best friends.

    Pretty Little Liars is filled with female friendships, and I don’t think I can actually point at one single instance of BFFery, Spencer and Hanna? Hanna and Aria? Hanna and Emily? All of them and Allison? They’re all complex and intertwined.

  57. Lika says

    This a Hong Kong movie, but Peking Opera Blues has three kick-ass female leads who become not only very good friends but partners in crime to help steal documents from a corrupt official to help out an underground rebellion. One of the woman is ditzy thief, another is the fiery daughter of the theatre owner who wants to act on the stage but can’t because women were allowed to act in opera at that time, and the third is the daughter of the actual corrupt official. There are two other men who also get involved with their shenanigans, but it the story revolves around the three women and their relationship.

  58. says


    Wren and Tess from Sherwood Smith’s Wren series
    Wren and Tess grew up together in an orphanage. Wren is imaginative and forever concocting wild stories and future plans. Then, one day, Tess tells Wren that Tess is a princess-in-hiding. Tess learns to govern, while Wren finds her own place in the world. The two remain best friends through kidnappings and war.

    Amelia and Evelyn from the Amelia Peabody series
    Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg from the Discworld series
    Melanie Ross and April Hall from The Egypt Game
    Madelyn Mack and Nora Noraker


    Kim Da-hyun and Jung Hyun-jin in 1% of Anything
    Emma, Cleo, and Rikki on H2O: Just Add Water
    Carly and Sam on iCarly
    Morgana and Gwen on Merlin (first season and a half)
    Divya and Jill on Royal Pains are working their way toward best friendship

    • ninjapenguin says

      Yes, yes, yes to Nanny and Granny! I was just coming on to pimp them. They have each other’s backs no matter what. Their relationship with Magrat is a little more complicatd, being more mentor-y, bu the two of them are total BFFs.

  59. Emma says

    Okay, this is kind of obscure, but I’ve got to pimp it. Digger: http://www.diggercomic.com/?p=3

    It’s about an anthropomorphic wombat and her adventures far away from home after a confusing encounter with magic, and it’s full of awesome ladies, but the first thing to come to mind was the relationship between Digger and Murai. Brief descriptions here: http://www.diggercomic.com/?page_id=612

    They have a cute sisterly relationship. Murai’s sensitive, idealistic, a little mad, and her has a “great destiny,” Digger is rock-grounded, practical, and probably not as tactful as she should be. There’s also Digger and Grim Eyes, who also have an intetesting sisterly dynamic.
    You know, just read the comic.

    I would have mentioned Toph and Katara from A:tLA, but apparently someone beat me to it.

  60. Gategrrl says

    I’m going to add iCarly to the list. Carly and Sam are in the same grade, they both work on Carly’s webshow together, as equals, pretty much, and much of their talk has nothing to do with boys (though that does come up because, you know, they’re *teenagers*). Sam is not a girly-girl. In fact, she’s pretty macho, and has many of the characteristics you’d see in a typical slobby guy. Carly is her opposite, a girly-girl, nice, etc etc. But they’re best friends.

  61. Kivitasku says

    I can’t believe nobody mentioned Glinda and Elphaba from Wicked yet. Oh, probably people were thinking of the musical. In the novel they are never in competition for any dude.

    Tiana and Charlotte from The Princess and the Frog. Charlotte is a hella lot more privileged than Tiana, but she doesn’t seem to notice it herself.

    • Casey says

      Speaking of female friendships in the Disney Animated Canon, the only other one I can think of is Pocahontas and Nakoma.
      ….Does the trio of princesses/sisters from the second Mulan movie count for anything, maybe?

      • Maria says

        Ughhhhhhhhhhh no, they only bond because of dudes!

        Was Ferngully Disney? Doesn’t the purple fairy have a friend?

        • Casey says

          Oh yeah, I forgot…I guess those heart-to-heart talks with Mulan telling them to “follow their hearts” (DURRR HURRR) is what clouded me.[/is ashamed] OTL

          Naw, Ferngully was an Australian feature, and I think Crysta had a pupil/mentor relationship with Magi Lune but aside from that the only friend she had was Christian Slater’s character (and the human guy who shrinks…and the fruit bat played by Robin Williams…so yeah, all dudes. OTL).

            • says

              OMG. :(

              Family annihilation is the ultimate expression of malignant narcissism (at least, in all the cases I’m aware of). The basis of these crimes is always the annihilator’s fear of public exposure. He honestly believes everyone thinks he’s as awesome as a god, which they don’t, and fears that if his family leaves him or tells his secrets or, I dunno, ever achieves happiness, everyone will realize he’s really just a pathetic little bit of excrement (that’s how he sees himself, deep down – in reality, these are just extremely sick men), so the kids and wife have gotta go! The narcissist’s false self is worth any sacrifice.

              They literally consume lives.

              It’s really interesting that I can’t find a case of a female family annihilator where command hallucinations weren’t distorting her view of reality. Narcissism is a product not only of malformed personality development, but a culture that teaches men they are entitled to consume women and children. Narcissists just take that literally. And why shouldn’t they? So many people, upon reading about a MALE family annihilator, express pity, for fuck’s sake. (But extremely mentally ill women like Andrea Yates are the lowest form of life, according to these same hand-wringers. I do hate the enablers of narcissists even more than narcissists themselves.)

  62. Savannah says

    This is completely obscure, but there was a show on the Disney Channel in the late 90s called Ready Or Not that was all about two female best friends– not a group of girls, not a group of friends, the two main characters were just these two BFFs. It was really awesome and mature for a high school show and dealt with stuff like slut-shaming and interracial relationships. I believe they might have ‘broken up’ over a guy in one episode, but they got back together.

  63. Anna M says

    Maggie and Hopey from the Love and Rockets comics. They fought with each other but they always were friends. Later also lovers. But their relationship was always very strong.
    Seconding Jean Grey and Ororo. They were supportive of each other through all the fights with villains.

    • says

      Lirael and Disreputable Dog from Garth Nix’s Abhorsen YA fantasy book series. This series is also notable for having a scene with a group of main characters doing the big important Thing That Needs Doing, and 6/9 actors are female. Never commented on, no big deal, just treated as if it’s normal for women to do Stuff!

      Polly and Fiona from Diana Wynne Jones’ Fire and Hemlock. Also, less just friendship and more complicatedly, Polly and Nina.

      Cassie and Jun from Faith Erin Hicks’ graphic novel The War at Ellesmere.

  64. Jenny Islander says

    I don’t watch a lot of TV or movies anymore, but I can provide some literary examples from the works of Lois McMaster Bujold:

    *Countess Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan, Lady Alys Vorpatril, the Koudelka sisters and their mother “Droushie” (nurse to the reigning Emperor), Sergeant Taura, Empress Laisa, et al., form a network of long-standing friendships and alliances and also cooperate to drag the planet Barrayar kicking and screaming from the days of bloody horrendous sexism to . . . non-bloody slightly less horrendous sexism. But they don’t intend to stop dragging.

    *Royesse Iselle and Lady Betriz in The Curse of Chalion have each other’s backs at all times even in the midst of an absolute snakepit of a royal court. Also, they win.

    • says

      Heh, I loved how the women’s network factored into A Civil Campaign. Just because they aren’t politicians doesn’t mean they can’t play politics, and forget that at your own peril.

  65. Gabriella says

    Much of the female cast through the DeGrassi series. There were several group dynamic friendships as well as a couple of specific two-girl friendships (Melanie and Kathleen, Amy and Alison). Amy and Alison are interesting, come to think, because they are very ‘feminine’ and talk a lot about fashion and boys and at one point, I believe, have a fight about a boy, to a point they’re literally demanding the clothes off each other’s backs in the bathroom at a party. (Then they realise how ridiculous they’re being and forget about the boy.) But it doesn’t particularly come across as ‘OMG! This is how ALL girls/women behave in EVERY friendship they EVER have. I could totally buy that they had friends that they were more serious with somewhere off-screen, but they had the most fun with each other. And from what I remember, Melanie and Kathleen’s biggest fight is when Melanie dobbs in Kathleen’s eating disorder.

    I’m not sure if this counts, but Muriel and Rhonda from Muriel’s Wedding. They do spend an awful lot of time picking up guys/scoring dates but they never compete with each other or have a falling out over boys. And at the end of the movie, Muriel leaves town with Rhonda, realising she needs this genuine friend more than she needs all the trappings that she spent the movie pursuing.

  66. Anjie says

    1. Red and Mokey — Fraggle Rock
    2. Blanche, Rose, Dorothy and Sophia — Golden Girls
    3. Lorelei and Sookie, Rory and Lane, Rory and Paris, Lorelei and Rory — Gilmore Girls.

    • salla says

      I love the Golden Girls so much. I have seen nearly every single episode at least a few times each, but it’s one of the few shows I don’t mind watching over and over, I think that’s due in part to the awesome friendships between the women on this show.

  67. sbg says

    Trixie Belden and Honey Wheeler. Everyone else was reading Nancy Drew, but I loved Trixie so much more! I loved these two little detectives – Trixie a classic tomboy, down to earth kind of girl, and Honey the beautiful rich girl. There was a ‘gang’, of course, but Trixie and Honey were the core of the book series.

  68. Jay says

    Bubbles,Blossom and Buttercup – Powerpuff Girls

    They are made of sugar and spice and everything nice. Oh, and also chemical X.

  69. Red says

    Here’s a few…

    Raven and Starfire from ‘Teen Titans’: The episode ‘Switched’ explores their differences in depth and their helping to understand each other as they try to save their team mates (all guys).

    Azula, Mai and Ty Lee from ‘Avatar; The Last Airbender’: The Princess of the Fire Nation and her two childhood friends, whom she views more as ‘tools’ than anything else. This is all before Mai and Ty Lee’s Heel-Face turn, where Mai turns on Azula to save Prince Zuko’s life and Ty Lee in turn save Mai from Azula’s wrath.

    Kisara and Freya from ‘Histories Strongest Disciple Kenichi’. It’s a martial arts manga devoted mostly to guys and YES, there is considerable fan service. But there are some KICK-ASS female fighters. They are NOT simply eye-candy, but smart, brave and fearless gals. Kisara and Freya are the focus here.

    They can best be described as ‘Master’ and ‘Disciple’, despite both being teens (albeit, Freya is older). Both start out as part of a gang called Ragnarok, of which Freya is on of the top three fighters. Kisara is one of Freya’s ‘Valkyries’ and she looks up to and admires Freya. She uses and weapon (a staff) and Kisara uses Tae Kwon Do. To make a long story short, Kisara refuses to use a weapon like Freya does, who believe it’s the only way for a woman to be equal to a man in a fight. Kisara doesn’t believe this (and proves it) and eventually leaves the Valkyries. Later, Freya and Kisara have a one-on-one match, with Kisara emerging the victor (after breaking Freya’s staff).

    That’s all I can think of so far.

  70. says

    I submit Hazel and Foxglove, supporting characters in The Sandman and main characters in the spinoff Death: The Time of your Life. Sandman in general offers a number of female buddy groups – Death and Delirium, Chantal and Zelda, Barbie and Wanda, Rose and Carla, the Triple Goddesses if we don’t count just pairs – but they stand out as the most realized, with the most adorably real dysfunctional relationship. And they certainly don’t spend a lot of time talking about men in in their lives; it takes their baby boy dying and being supernaturally revived for them to give him any more than a passing mention.

    Another Sandman spinoff, Lucifer, also gives us the pair of Mazikeen and Beatrice. While at times abusive and hinted at being somewhat sadomasochistic, there’s clearly a lot of love between them. On the downside, their relationship doesn’t take up a lot of pages in the eleven volume series, but conversely its handled with excellent subtlety – writer Mike Carey tackles homosexuality, polyamory, prostitution and the forbidden love between a Lilim and a daughter of Eve at the same time without making any spectacle out of it.

    Moving to another continent, Battle Angel Alita holds some surprises for a comic targeted and tailored specifically for 40-45 year old male Japanese office workers. The titular Alita and Lou Collins work together for many years, as equal from the start as two people can be when one toils on the ground and the other looks down from a paradisaical city high in the sky, and later on far closer. Although they do have a distinctly uneven amount of screen time, with Lou spending the first several books not existing and later being a disembodied brain in need of rescue.

    So few options to grasp at. . .

    • Shaun says

      Barbie and Wanda!!! I was trying to think of Sandman pairs but the story is so… wide-spanning I was having trouble thinking of any recurring human characters. The immortal characters are a bit different, but would Desire and Despair count? They have sort of a… unique relationship (and I’m not using that to imply any sexual tension, there isn’t any). Granted Desire spends most of its onscreen time trying to fuck with Dream…

      But yes, Barbie and Wanda have a really great friendship, covering a lot of topics, and unlike Hazel and Foxglove it’s not a romantic one.

  71. SunlessNick says

    I was just reintroduced to a series called Murder in Suburbia, with the leads Ash and Scribbs. They do spend a lot of time talking about men – or more precisely talking about dating, with examples – but it doesn’t slow down the rest of their relationship.

  72. lisa artz says

    I don’t watch much TV. Nostalgia Chick and Nella come to mind. Every other pair I can think of are characters in tabletop roleplaying games I play with friends. I suppose one way to avoid the media is to create our own stories like that.

    • lisa artz says

      Wait, those 2 teenaged firebenders in the Avatar cartoon. They bond over how to control boys as well as over trying to defeat Aang and company.

      • Attackfish says

        The only two teenaged firebenders I can think off are Azula and Zuko, and they’re brother and sister. If you mean Mai and Ty Lee, they’re nonbenders, and really don’t go in for the controlling of boys. Mai’s a little hung up on Zuko and Ty Lee just likes attention. Now if you mean Ty Lee and Azula, it’s made pretty clear that Azula needs to control everybody, and fails at social interaction that falls outside that pattern. Ty Lee, who is there because Azula made it clear she would hurt people Ty Lee felt responsible for until she went with her, tries and fails to teach her to flirt.

  73. says

    From Six Feet Under, Ruth and Bettina.

    Brenda and Claire – they’re sisters in law, but support one another.

    I forget what her name was, but in the final season Brenda worked with a woman who became a good friend. Since I can’t remember her name, it probably doesn’t count.

  74. Brandy says

    I just stumbled onto this site so please excuse me if I’m way off point of the goal here.

    I’m surprised there is no mention of the sisters in Charmed. I didn’t see anything in the rules listed that they couldn’t be sisters.

    I really felt in Charmed that there was a really good portrayal of the relationship between these girls who had drifted apart and then were brought back together even though they really didn’t want to be. They built their relationship over sharing experiences, which I think is how friendships are formed. All three get their own spotlight and plot points.

    Someone waaaay up at the top of the comments wrote that she didn’t know any women that didn’t have a bestie. I’m a woman who has never had a ‘bestie’ relationship. I have a woman I consider a best friend, but I speak with her maybe once a year. We’ve never lived in the same city except for the first 5 months of our friendship.

    Also, regarding Bones, I have never seen Brennan actually consider ‘giving the big guy a chance’. She considers the reasons why other people have those beliefs, she tries to understand the beliefs. I would not say she is in any way a ‘straw-atheist’ (?) as one person said. She is open minded to other perspectives, she considers concepts that are things she may have not thought about before and creates her own opinion and perspective from the information. And that, I think, is what an atheist does; they ask questions and actually consider the answers and how it fits for them.

  75. says

    Someone waaaay up at the top of the comments wrote that she didn’t know any women that didn’t have a bestie.I’m a woman who has never had a‘bestie’ relationship.

    That was me. I apologize if I made you feel excluded or slighted; I was trying to draw from my own experience to show that this is a relationship that is very common in real life and yet scarce in fiction. (Although now, looking through this blossoming comment thread, I now think it’s less scarce than I did before. ^_^ )

    Also, regarding Bones, I have never seen Brennan actually consider ‘giving the big guy a chance’.She considers the reasons why other people have those beliefs, she tries to understand the beliefs.I would not say she is in any way a ‘straw-atheist’ (?) as one person said.She is open minded to other perspectives, she considers concepts that are things she may have not thought about before and creates her own opinion and perspective from the information.

    Also me.

    (A strawman argument is when you put fake arguments in your opponent’s mouth and “prove” how ridiculous they are, rather like winning a fight against a dummy made of straw instead of a living opponent. Example: “All homosexuals want to have sex with children. Raping children is evil. Therefore, homosexuality is evil.” Since your premise about what your opposition wants is wrong, you haven’t proven anything about them.)

    Since I only watched the first season and a half, I will bow to your expertise in Brennan’s portrayal overall. My specific problem with the Christmas episode, though, was the way the interactions between Brennan and Booth were framed. Booth tracking her down to tell her that she should “give the big guy a chance” was portrayed as reasonable instead of intrusive and disrespectful. Brennan defends her beliefs, but she doesn’t try to convert Booth. It’s a one sided discussion where the atheist needs to learn a lesson about Christmas joy and “being open minded” (in scare quotes because telling other people they’re close minded for not agreeing with you is insulting at best).

    I didn’t like the way Brennan quietly leaving the group and allowing them to celebrate Christmas together was shown as pushing her religion on other people. Other peoples’ desires for her to conform to their expectations should not be Brennan’s responsibility. I didn’t like how her distaste for the holiday was the result of traumatizing childhood memories, an emotional reason, instead of any of a number of logical reasons such as the religious overtones or the rampant materialism and greed. That implies that disliking Christmas is a problem that needs to be fixed instead of a perfectly legitimate opinion.

    And that, I think, is what an atheist does; they ask questions and actually consider the answers and how it fits for them.

    I think that’s equally applicable to followers of all religions (or the lack thereof).

    As an agnostic/sorta atheistic, I will ask questions when I’m actually interested. Other people volunteering unsolicited information about their beliefs is often more harassing than helpful. Many of these religious beliefs I have heard justified multiple times; Would-Be Converter #46 is not going to contribute anything new to my life, and their inability to respect my judgment is just going to irritate me.

    Although “give the big guy upstairs a chance” may honestly be the stupidest argument I’ve ever heard, especially given that it was addressed to a scientist, a profession based on the logical examination of evidence. There is nothing in that statement that provides any sort of support; I might as well give unicorns and the Flying Spaghetti Monster a chance.

  76. firebird says

    And that, I think, is what an atheist does; they ask questions and actually consider the answers and how it fits for them.

    I think that would depend on whether the atheist/agnostic/believer-in-whichever-religion-or-spiritual-tradition feels they need more answers than they already have. I personally left the Christian tradition I was raised in, spent several years working toward conversion to Judaism, and eventually left faith entirely. I don’t have unanswered questions that worry me and most people who try to convert me know less about the tradition (usually Christianity) that they are trying to preach than I do. So I personally spend very little time thinking about questions or the philosophy of religion or spirituality, and a lot more time reading novels, watching TV shows, reading blogs about feminism and science (because my science education was woefully inadequate), listening to insightful radio programs about current events, and thinking about law, technology, gender issues, etc.

    I’m not criticizing, just giving my perspective. There was a time in my journey when my thoughts and questions centered around religion. Now that I feel fairly settled in that area, I think about other things; that may shift again.

  77. Jeffrey says

    The only thing that comes to mind that’s not yet posted is Nanoha and Fate from the various Lyrical Nanoha series. They easily pass [1] and [2] (there really aren’t any significant men in the show at all to begin with, so…), and [3]. Fate is originally introduced as a ‘dark rival’-type character to Nanoha, and their becoming friends is one of the major plot elements of the first series. For [4] and [5], I suppose a lot of what’s shown involves them fighting together. I think they come off as pretty equal, too; around the end of the first series, Fate says something like “I’ll save you next time,” which does happen at the start of the next season. I think that this sort of thing happens fairly often in ‘magical girl’ series, but this is one of the examples I know.

    I also think that it goes beyond friendship at some point. Although this is never stated outright, it seems that way to many of the show’s fans [and in the third season, they start sleeping in the same bed – it’s certainly farther than some canon straight couples in anime get (yes, Keiichi and Belldandy, I’m looking at you)]. Several of the people who work on the show (including the original Japanese voices for the characters) think so too.

    I should mention as a slight caution that there are some questionable transformation scenes, particularly in the first two series where the case is underage. Secondly, does this qualify as “media oriented towards adults” or not? I think so, as generally what I read is that the intended audience was the subset of the ‘magical girl’ audience which are adult males, but I’m not that good at judging it for myself (and since it was produced in a different society it makes it more difficult).

  78. Nathanael says


    Utena lends itself to a disturbing number of different readings because it gets quite incomprehensible. (I am fond of Chiho Saito’s comment that “The revolution had already happened in Mr. Inohara’s head”)

    However, *I* always read it this way. Anthy was always abused by Akio and was fitting into other people’s stereotypes. Utena was trying to get her to break out of it, but Anthy wouldn’t; and Anthy kept blaming herself for, basically, what Akio was doing to her. Utena fights against this whole messed-up society trying to defend Anthy, *appears* to fail, and “disappears”. In actuality, Utena has succeeded in escaping this society, *and* in changing (revolutionizing) Anthy’s thinking so that Anthy can also escape (which Anthy must decide to do on her own). As Anthy says to her brother in the last episode, “She isn’t gone. She’s just gone from YOUR world.” Anthy then also leaves that world and goes out into the “free world”, if you will, where she lives happily ever after with Utena (as indicated by the photo at the end). :-) The key to interpreting it is that the series is all about “revolution”, which apparently includes feminist revolution.

    Hmm. To the original question. In *old* childrens books, the Oz books have Ozma & Dorothy (particularly in book 14) but all the friendships are written very shallowly period. I can think of a lot of books from Nesbit onward which have real best-friend relationships between sisters, but few which have outside friendships. (This is actually, from what I’ve read, fairly realistic for middle-class Victorian-era UK and US children from large families, but pretty alien to the present day.)

    Hmm. Another genre: Mystery stories. The entire V.I. Warshawski series, by Sara Paretsky; Lotty Herschel is her best friend, and they’re both awesome, well-drawn characters with an interesting relationship (and other interesting mutual friends); saying more would be spoilery. The relationship isn’t the essence of the books, the books being hardboiled detective stories, but it’s an important element which gets a lot of “page time”. A complex social network is a bit unusual for a hardboiled detective, but that’s one of the things which makes the series so awesome (the consistent feminism and the fact that the villains are always corporate greedheads tend to make me love it as well). Pity the movie adaptation was such crap, it deserves a better adaptation (and every single book would adapt well).

  79. Casey says


    Utena lends itself to a disturbing number of different readings because it gets quite incomprehensible.(I am fond of Chiho Saito’s comment that “The revolution had already happened in Mr. Inohara’s head”)

    Er…my ONLY QUALM (‘cuz I’m a stickler) is that it’s Mr. Ikuhara, not Inohara…and I do love his attitude towards all the analysis of Utena which basically amounts to “you can interpret it however you like, I just love lesbians.” 😛

  80. Cassandra Davis says

    -From the Dealing with Dragons series, Cimorene and Alianora in the first book are the best example- both developed characters, both with their own ‘selves’, and they do both day-to-day friendship stuff, like talking, and not day-to-day stuff, like making a spell and defeating a plot- but I think Cimorene, Kazul, and Morwen, while not really ‘besties’ like this, fit the conditions, especially interesting because they’re not ‘same-peers’ (Cimorene is a human young woman, Morwen is an older witch, Kazul is a dragon), but, even though Cimorene starts off working for Kazul, they definitely act like ‘equal peers’, again both in day-to-day stuff (borrowing cooking equipment), and more unusual stuff (the previously mentioned defeating a plot, a rescue from a kidnapping, a quest for a magic sword…)

    -From Vampire Diaries (the TV show), Elena, Bonnie, and Caroline. They also do talk about boys, but their relationship goes pretty far beyond that, has weathered serious issues, and it’s often shown how important the support they provide for each other is.

  81. Teacups says

    Hmmm. Kahlan and Cara from Legend Of The Seeker. They essentially start out as enemies forced to work on the same team, because until recently Cara was working for the bad guy, and she also killed Kahlan’s sister under orders, so there are some issues there. But Kahlan slowly comes to trust Cara, and to see that she was a victim of the Big Bad in her own way, and now genuinely remoseful, while Cara comes to see that feelings are not a sign of weakness, and they both end up appreciating, helping, and caring for one another.

    Myka and Claudia from Warehouse 13 have a wonderful friendship, and I’m so pleased that we’ve gotten to see more of them interacting in Season 2. Claudia clearly admires and respects Myka a lot, I think probably more than she does anyone else in the cast, and Myka adorably alternates between being the cool older sister-type (teasing Pete together, agreeing to teach Claudia martial arts, high fiving at the end of For The Team) and mom-like concern. Oh, and one of the things the show does well in general is throwing in a bunch of cute little details – like Myka’s super proud grin in the background when Claudia says she knocked out Todd using “that arm thing you taught me.”

    The Descent had some good ones. I don’t know if Juno and Sarah can qualify (like Heavenly Creatures, they would most definitely be a negative friendship anyway) because Juno did have an affair with Sarah’s husband before he died. Although that was just one of many things Juno did, and not even the worst. But they had quite an interesting relationship, where Juno keeps accidently hurting Sarah or acting selfishly, and then clumsily attempting to make up for it and making everything worse. And then it ends really badly. Anyway, I also really liked Sarah and Beth, and Becca and Sam, which were both much more positive, healthy relationships. Beth’s pretty much Sarah’s pillar of support after Sarah’s family died in a car crash, and the level of caring and kindness beneath the snarky comic-relief exterior is lovely. Sarah pays her back in a big, if rather tragic, way too, and their last scene together is possibly the most heartbreaking in the movie. Becca and Sam were mostly in the background, but I really enjoyed their dynamic all the same. See, Becca’s very much the protective safety-oriented take-care-of-everyone leader-type already, but especially so when it comes to Sam, her younger sister. And Sam is affectionate, but finds her sibling basically parenting her all the time to be pretty annoying too, as you would. I liked that they clearly had a good relationship in spite of the problem, and that they didn’t need to be spotlighted to accomplish this.

  82. Teacups says

    Oh, Myka and HG Wells (on Warehouse 13, HG is still alive, a possibly evil Warehouse agent, and female, because this show loves screwing around with history) are also said to have a really good friendship, but I’ve only seen two episodes with HG so far, and in the first one, she was the villain. So it’s hard to tell.

  83. Patrick McGraw says

    Having recently gotten into the new My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic series, I have to say that I strongly disagree with the linked article from Ms. Magazine. Ms. published a response from show-runner Lauren Faust, found here: http://msmagazine.com/blog/blog/2010/12/24/my-little-non-homophobic-non-racist-non-smart-shaming-pony-a-rebuttal/

    Faust perfectly describes what she is trying to do with the show, and I think she has succeeded admirably at those goals.

  84. Casey says

    Patrick McGraw,

    That Ms. review of MLP is pretty much crap/inaccurate as shit, but the show DOES have massive racefail issues what with Zecora being an obvious Token Black character (she speaks gibberish that’s supposed to “sound like Swahili” and FUCKING RAPS) and Little Strongheart being a Token Native American (plus the episode that the Buffaloes were in was all about how the Ponies took their land to plant apple orchards…AND THE FUCKING BUFFALOES ARE THE ONES WHO HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO SHARE *pisses and shits righteous indignation*)

  85. Patrick McGraw says


    I agree there are definite race issues with the introduction of Zecora as “foreign,” in particular the fact that when pressed for time, the production team decided to make her Zebra-speak gibberish rather than actual Swahili. My reading of her rhyming was far less “rapping” and more “making the character sound strange.” This isn’t unusual in cartoons, which have often featured rhyming characters, but is EXTREMELY problematic when used with a character who meant to be characterized as “other” (even if you are trying to send the message that being “other” is not scary or truly different).

    (For another example of a character who speaks in rhymes for no apparent reason, there’s Roadblock’s protrayal in the original Sunbow-produced G.I. Joe cartoon. This made no sense, but did NOT have racial overtones because while Roadblock was black, so were Stalker, Doc, and others who spoke normally. Seriously Sunbow, WTF was up with Roadblock’s speeaking patterns? Is it supposed to something he picked up a chef school?)

    The “Buffaloes as Native Americans” episode was also problematic, but not so much in terms of the story itself: the buffaloes’ claim to the land was clearly supported, as the ponies had been unaware that it was part of their annual stampede route (because they didn’t freaking ASK), but the Buffalo chief offered a trade agreement where the ponies could keep the orchard in exchange for clearing a path for the buffaloes’ annual stampede and sharing the orchard’s harvest. So my reading of it wasn’t “the buffaloes must learn to share” but “the buffaloes’ claim is recognized and a trade agreement is made to the mutual benefit of both sides.”

    It’s problematic, of course, do to the “buffalo as Native Americans” angle, which can raise all sorts of questions for the young audience, who will almost certainly get the metaphor. And while in Equestria the trade agreement certainly continue to be honored by the ponies… yeah, young audiences could definitely extend the metaphor in a way that can cause problems.

    My main issue, though, is that both episodes cause problems with Faust’s intend to depict a race-neutral Equestria in which Earth ponies, Pegasi, and Unicorns are all treated equally, because the introduction of “foreign” species with human racial connotations makes the ponies come across less as a racially hetereogenous society than as “race-neutral = white” which is a topic of LONG discussion and issue in media and society.

    I still love the show with a passion, I just really want them to do better.

  86. Em says

    I just watched the film Dor directed by Nagesh Kukunoor, and the movie revolved around women’s relationships. The plot gets started because Zeenat’s husband is accused of murdering Meera’s husband while both were in Saudi Arabia, so Zeenat sets off from her home in northern India to find the Meera in Rajasthan (they’ve never met) and convince her to sign a pardon forgiving the killer so he will be spared the death penalty. Except when she meets Meera, the always-tough Zeenat is afraid to tell the truth, so she befriends Meera instead and hopes to convince her later. Which is not a problem-free plan, of course! But they do become good friends, despite their different backgrounds, and Zeenat helps Meera learn to be more confident, and it’s just lovely watching them sneak out to go on illicit camel rides and dance in the desert. Meera’s grandmother-in-law is a pretty neat character too, and the resolution depends on all the women (even the grieving, bitter mother-in-law) working together. It’s a great portrayal of complex characters having not-simple but awesome friendships. Also, even though bad things happen, it isn’t ANGST ANGST ANGST all the time – they aren’t totally defined by the bad things that happen to them, and are active agents.

  87. Em says

    Oh – I should add that while (as you might guess) there is fallout over Zeenat not mentioning some important facts, the fact that their husbands are involved is secondary background stuff – the problem is that Zeenat lied to Meera, which undermined the whole foundation of their friendship and all her advice about being brave and going for what you want. And they talk about all kinds of things, from veiling to making your own way in the world to what Zeenat’s home is like.

  88. says

    I’ve always found Sailor Moon kind of…dumb, cringeworthy, downright disgusting sometimes even. And it gets worse when people always tell me ‘but it’s for little girls!’
    Why oh why could Toei not create a prequel about the adventures of Haruka and Michiru instead!?!
    The only mature thing Usagi does in each season is CHOOSE TO DIE. And then she has the poor sense to come back and make me forget she had a single unselfish bone in her body. Also a LOT of the ‘monsters of the day’ are totally undeserving of their ends. THose stupid girls ‘go through the motions’ to kill thinking beings without a real care. At least the Outers have the excuse that they have fought longer and become quite jaded. Worst offenders to me were the plethora of utterly harmless ‘daimons’ like Utahime, who didn’t even fight, but still got attacked, restrained, and then ‘moondusted’ by the senshi just as thoughtlessly as the violent ones. One was even SCARED of the senshi and kept trying to run away. Another two kept trying to befriend the youngest. Same end result. What in the hell are little girls supposed to learn from that?!? I won’t even get into how terrible she is when she becomes ‘queen of all humanity’ and starts her magickal ethnic cleansing.

    Rayearth shall always be the superiour Magical Girl entry of that time period. Umi, Hikaru, and Fuu forever! (Amazing that their death toll is so LOW in comparison when they used bonafide magic swords like Haruka, and some really impressively large attacks towards the end.)
    All other magical girl shows in that period or immediately after Sailor Moon, they ‘converted’ the creatures, put them to sleep, shot the evil out of them and made them all goofy and happy (ala Wedding Peach) It’s only Sailor Moon where Everyone Our Enemy Must Be Destroyed Even If They’re Actually Friendly. (and of the two overtly friendly ones, one is a CHILD physically and mentally younger than any of them!)
    I have always always hated Sailor Moon for this. Bizarrely enough she does have conversion powers as well, as she used them on Zoisite and Kunzite’s minions, but never again. Of course, she’s such a blithering idiot it’s likely she forgot after the first reincarnation, but her damn kitty guardians should have remembered!

    sorry, just…had to rant there about that. So much for magic love power, I guess only means your BFFs, and nobody else in the universe.

    I saw Final Fantasy mentioned, I must chime in with 6 and 9 (har har) as well. 5 too but not at first, get to that later. In 6, Terra and Celes are the only ones who know ‘true magic’ (they learn pre-set spells at certain levels ala a normal RPG because of being infused with the magic macguffins to become supersoldiers). Despite Celes being a general of the military that traumatically forced Terra to undergo the same procedure, they find some time to bond over this (though the Loads&Loads of characters means not as much as they really should have) and technically, in combat, when used together they fulfill a standard ‘couple’ role due to their special abilities. Many conventions are toyed with in their battle dynamic. While Celes is the stronger physical fighter, her special, Runic, blocks attacks to friends by causing enemy fire to focus on her, restoring her MP, which is a defensive/support skill typically reserved for a staff chick. Terra, meanwhile, eventually learns it isn’t just the infusion that gives her magic, and she can learn to turn into an ‘esper’ which temporarily makes her the second strongest physical fighter, and the strongest magically, a purely offensive ability on the meek quiet girl typically in the role of ‘staff chick.’ Her defense stat isn’t too shabby in either form as well. It’s kind of like Xena and Gab being able to switch their primary skillset/battle role on the fly.

    In 9, we have two females and a possible-maybe. Though Vivi is male, it’s really only implied once in a…hilariously somewhat wrong scene (Zidane teaches him to whiz off a bridge…yeah, that was a weird moment.) The rest of the time he’s pretty androgynous and genderless, being a magical construct. He has some sweet moments here and there with Princess Garnet, but they feel incomplete somehow, as if there should have been more. Eiko the 9 year old though, and only other Summoner, becomes good friends with Garnet nearly right off the bat. (Square needs to hire one of Bioware’s guys, they always seem to stop short when they hit a great idea/relationship)

    Spoilers ahoy! Final Fantasy 5 is a bit of a twist, Lenna and Faris are kind of cool to one another but slowly warm, and then Lenna & co finds out Faris…isn’t a MALE pirate at all! From there they begin chatting more often, and even more once Faris’ pet dragon dies.

    Gunsmith Cats erhm, well it’s really nothing but with the exception of ‘randomly-falling-in-and-out-of-the-story’ Bean Bandit. Heck, the female baddies you feel as if they could fall into this too if they had just given up their life of crime before ol’ Rally got the best of’em. Plus Rally really DOES go full-out lesbian later.

    I only saw Claymore once so I don’t remember their names, but there’s a ‘background power trio’ that fall into the limelight towards the end. Yeah sorry I need to see things multiple times to get all the names and this was off TV! It’s basically massively fem-centric though…..religious fighting order of women, but aside from oddly curvaceous plate, no ‘true fanservice’ just normal nudity. Basically women in this society are sometimes born with magical powers and whatnot and if they use them too much they become demons. Males must be killed in childbirth or before they can speak because of ancient backstory stuff that basically results in them not being able to control these powers at all. It’s like the opposite of ‘exposure’ as if you leave them they cause natural disasters instead of dying in nature. Pretty crazy.

    I am pretty pleased to see someone already mentioned Gunnerkrieg.
    Speaking of webcomics, Erfworld. The relationship between Wanda and Jillian, it’s very Mistress/Domme and servant, with the Staff Chick being the domme. The unfortunate part? They are on opposing sides. They appear to have had this siege going on for quite some time, with Jillian getting captured on purpose. Their falling out reason is pretty obvious, opposing war sides and all, but they still try to reconcile whenever they meet in battle.

    Oh speaking of opposing side ones, new Geobreeders 4 ep OAV. The two female gun nuts basically keep trying to have one final duel but get interrupted all the time. It’s an odd dynamic twist.

    in case anyone is wondering about the link in my name, game company Koei ran a contest for a new Japanese mascot. The ones their artists whipped up were standard Japanese go-tos. The winner was a write-in. Abraham Lincoln as a cat. Yes, it’s damned awesome. One can only hope a rival company makes a similar contest so someone can write-in Davis or Booth as a dog.

    • Maria says

      Got a couple comments asking if blithering is ableist — from what I can tell it’s not, since it means “senselessly talkative” and is derived from “blather” which is onomatopeia for camel noises. Thank you for emailing me to check, though.

  89. The Other Anne says


    Yo! I enjoyed Claymore, which did have quite a few women in it. I was thoroughly disappointed at the death toll, though plotwise it makes sense. By the end there aren’t many of the women left (and luckily there’s really only one male protagonist, who it the kind of annoying sidekick/viewer persona type of deal), but these female characters, I adored them so much,

    Such a gruesome show, though. Recently, Shikabane Hime had similar themes and whatnot. Basically, they fall into the “men using women who are dangerous and with powers to fight for their own ends” category. Fun to watch, but upon dismantling critically, it left me kind of sick. Still, I wished it hadn’t ended after just the typical 26 episodes. It could have easily continued on.

    Just recently Last Exile got a new series, Last Exile: Fam of the Silver Wing or something like that. I’m a huge LE fan, and it had such great female characters (who are often friiends with each other! Only the main villain, female, is actually antagonistic! Everything else is just, normal people, many of them female, doing normal things. In steampunk ships flying the skies like pirates of awesome). This new show is even better in terms of female characters (though so far I like them less, but it’s only a few episodes in). The three main protagonists are all female, with many more women at the periphery, and so far we really have only been introduced to one male character (besides the villain) who’s been in more than one episode, and he’s this little kid whose name is just a typically male name, and is maybe a manservant or something to one of the three main characters, who is a princess. The other two main characters are both sky pirates who are super awesome pilots! Okay, so basically if the show has sky pirates i’m in, so the main characters are just icing on the cake. I love it so far!

  90. The Other Anne says


    I have this weird attachment to male protagonists so it never occurred to me that Claus would have been way awesomer as a girl until watching this new series. I think the only live action if like to see redone with female protagonists is Supernatural. I think that could ROCK.

    Last exile is just the awesomest. I love the plethora of girls and women and the lack of fanservice. Yay!!!

  91. Casey says

    The Other Anne,

    Well imagining that the main character in a show is a girl is just something I’ve done for the longest time due to most of the things I like having a dearth of primary female characters…and if there’s already a strong preexisting woman-centric cast then so much so the better. 😛

  92. The Other Anne says


    I might have to start trying that out as I’m watching stuff! I’m watching Guilty Crown right now…oh, what a different show that could be with a female lead! Blue Exorcist would have been cool with female leads too. Uh-oh, this is going to take up a lot of brain, thinking over all the anime I’ve recently watched…Natsume Yujuncho with Natsume as a girl? AMAZING. Though I love him as a boy, too 😀

  93. Virginia says

    Just in the past season, “Big Bang Theory” has been having a lot of really fun scenes with the three major female characters* being friends and doing things together. They met because of the men in their lives, but it’s clear that they really enjoy hanging around together. It’s a nice balance to the nerd-guy-friend focus of the series.

    *Penny, Bernadette, and Amy Farrah Fowler. You can’t just call her Amy.

  94. Karakuri says

    If you don’t mind me mentioning a magical girl anime, there was the recent Puella Magi Madoka Magika (though characterization wasn’t really its strong point, the story was great). Anime and manga have heaps of examples and frequently pass the Bechdel test, despite their often being sexist in other ways.

  95. Karakuri says

    Wait, wtf? I just read that MLP article. The writer of that obviously hasn’t even watched the show. In context it is anything but racist/homophobic.

    As as for details, I would ruin the plot if I explained why the friendship in Puella Magi was just mind-blowing, but it is a surpringly original and dark take on the genre. There’s only one significant male character, who does divide one friendship in the show but the other friendships have nothing to do with men whatsoever. One heartbreaking thig about the show was the effect on time travel on the two sides of a friendship….you just have to watch it to know!

  96. Casey says

    Karakuri: In context it is anything but racist/homophobic.

    What irritates me about that article is they totally jumped the gun in regards to any potential -ism fails, especially since THEY WERE RACIST in the episodes “Bridle Gossip” and “Over a Barrel”. And now that they’ve canonized the LOL RETARD version of Derpy Hooves, it’s ableist as well. It’s only a matter of time before somebody calls Rainbow Dash a dyke or somehting.

  97. Fairfield says

    I’m so glad that someone else mentioned Cagney & Lacey!

    Is Kill Bill & Deathproof an example of besties? In Kill Bill you get the hint that before the wedding massacre The Bride was really close with Oren and Vernita — especially the former because when Oren loses the duel there is a real moment of grief on The Bride’s face, as the impact of truly losing her friend kicked in.

    Perhaps Patty & Ellen from Damages? Perhaps it’s not strictly a besties relationship, there is way too much disloyalty and distrust there for that, but they have a real respect for each other that is admirable.

  98. says

    Casey and Ashleigh from Greek. In the first season, Ashleigh is often accused of being Casey’s sidekick, and Casey pretty much treats her that way, but in the second and third seasons Ashleigh finds her own ambitions and their relationship survives the transition and becomes more equal. Also, they have fights, but they only ever once fight over a boy and even then they realise their friendship is way more important. These two are pretty much platonically in love and completely dependent on one another.

    As for Blair and Serena, I would say no way. Their friendship is completely superficial and seems to be just based on the fact that they’re both rich and popular. They are constantly fighting, undermining each other and treating each other terribly. Both of them act very selfishly, in general but also within the friendship, focussing on what they can get out of each other.

  99. says

    I’m a rather late to the game, but it looks like there’s still a bit of a conversation in this thread, so I wanted to chip in a couple of literary examples that haven’t been mentioned yet.

    Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak is a pretty interesting examination of the complications of female friendships in the face of PTSD. Melinda and Heather are pretty much best friends for awhile because…it’s convenient I guess? Then there’s the whole thing with Rachel abandoning her as a best friend based on misinterpreting what happened at the party, and then how they sort of reconnect when she finds out the truth.

    P.C. Cast’s Divine series also has a somewhat bestie thing between Shannon and Alanna. Shannon is dumped into an alternate-world sort of thing, and becomes almost instant besties with Alanna, who is her servant and the mirror image of her BFF from her original world. It’s a little weird and somewhat shallow, but it’s a good positive friendship.

  100. Jan says

    The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books center around 4 female best friends.
    A College of Magics, by Carole Stevermer (who co-wrote the already mentioned Sorcery and Cecilia) has a great best friends team.
    The Telling of Lies, by Timothy Findley. They aren’t uncomplicated relationships, but the plot hinges on years of history and friendship between female characters.

  101. facebook_cooper.stimson says

    Having not gone through the entire comment thread, I’m probably repeated previous posts, but I’ll err on the side of too much, vs. too little.

    Buffy and Willow on Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
    Zoe and Lucy on Caprica. As I recall, their major friend-breakup threat was centered on a disagreement about metaphysics.
    Possibly Laura and Donna on Twin Peaks, although there is some distress over shared affection for a boy.
    Sara and Becky in A Little Princess (I’m remembering the Liesel Matthews version).
    Lisa and Michelle in The Room (I’m kidding).

    I am disturbed that after running through dozens of shows and films I have seen, many with well-written female characters, that the list of close friendships between those female characters is so short. Even shows like Skins, with very well-defined female leads, focused little on female friendships while devoting episodes to male friendships. This is troubling.

  102. Emma says

    I realise that this page is from last year, but has anyone suggested Rizzoli and Isles? (The tv show, not the books). Jane and Maura’s friendship is amazing to watch on screen, and their relationship is portrayed as very realistic and honest. Neither of the characters are ‘perfect’, and the relationship has its ups and downs, which I find amazingly refreshing, especially since not once do they fall out over a man (unless you count Maura’s father’s death, which I don’t because that was very relevant to the plot, only lasted a few episodes, and was not a ‘we both like the same guy so now we hate each other’ scenario).

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