It’s Their World, We’re Just Living in It: Iconic Women in Fiction

Netflix is home to thousands of beloved content and some of the most memorable and exciting original series. The streaming giant is slowly building a collection of stories featuring brilliant women whose stories leave an impact on their fictional worlds and on their viewers. I’ve assembled a collection of such stories– chronicles of women who carve out a space for themselves in worlds defined and dominated by men.

1. Anne with an “E” is an original Netflix series loosely based on the novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. The story follows a young Anne Shirley who, after being orphaned as a baby, lived a life of servitude as a maid until entering the Canadian foster system in the late 1800s. Anne found herself living in one neglectful or abusive home after another until she was adopted by an elderly pair of siblings and sent to live on the Green Gables farm, breathing life back into the siblings’ lives. I love Anne’s story because, despite all the trials she’s had to face, she remains a hopeful person. Anne improves the lives of the people around her by being herself, and it’s inspiring to watch that kind of love affect so many people.

2. Another novel that has been adapted into a film and is now on Netflix is Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. Owens crafted a suspenseful and captivating murder mystery that chronicles the life of Catherine Danielle Clark (“Kya”). Kya’s life begins during the tail-end of her parent’s violent marriage. Because of her father’s abuse, Kya’s family slowly abandons their home in the North Carolinian marsh, leaving her with nothing but memories of a chaotic childhood. The film version of the same name was a highly anticipated adaptation and with good reason. This movie held me on the edge of my seat, and I couldn’t guess what would happen next. Kya’s life was one struggle after another, and she managed to create a successful and happy life for herself after being raised in such a hostile environment. I was left feeling inspired by her success and speechless after seeing what it took for her to have the life she always deserved.

3. Lastly, another amazing adaptation and my personal favorite on this list: The Queen’s Gambit. Seven hour-long episodes of facing a traumatic past, using dangerous coping mechanisms, redefining an entire sport, and being the most iconic woman alive are simply not enough. Beth Harmon is a confident, brilliant chess prodigy who makes waves everywhere she goes. Whether it’s the orphanage where she grew up, the foster home where she found happiness, or the world of chess that she dominated, Harmon is time and again a character that inspires viewers to chase their dreams. It’s especially exciting to see Beth take her world by storm because she is consistently underestimated, so when we see her shine, she’s blinding.

Anne, Kya, and Beth are powerful women who defy the conventions and restrictions of their worlds. Their inspiring determination is beautiful to witness and celebrate.