Gone are the days when TV was ruled by male anti-heros like Walter White, Don Draper, and Tony Soprano — now, anti-heroines are growing in popularity. That's right: Who run the world? GIRLS. Thanks to shows like Game of Thrones, Girls, Empire, and Homeland (just to name a few), a female character's most important attribute is no longer her likability, and Hollywood is all the better for it. Many female characters in television, film, and literature these days are complex, layered individuals who aren't always perfect, and never quite the same. It's for that reason your favorite anti-heroine character can tell you a lot about yourself.
The world at large has a hard time agreeing on what exactly makes an anti-heroine: Is she outright villainous? Is she someone you love to hate? Is she a deeply flawed hero in disguise? The definition runs the gamut, just like the women I decided to highlight for the purposes of this little identity quiz. To me, an anti-heroine is a fascinating woman who is not always on the good side. She is aloof, she lies, she manipulates with the best of them, and occasionally, she goes much further. Sometimes, she's even an outright killer, remorseless in her actions — and yet, still oh-so-compelling.
Whatever your definition of the term, though, one thing remains constant: The true mark of an anti-heroine is someone who stirs up strong emotions, and these characters certainly do just that. So, what does your favorite anti-heroine say about you? Read on to find out.
Cookie Lyon, Empire
Like the grand dames of soap opera's glory days, Empire's Cookie is a take-no-prisoners, scrappy, manipulating mastermind who has a real way with words. Cookie will do anything to rise to the top, and it is her unrelenting ambition that makes her your personal anti-heroine. She gives voice to the part of you that didn't speak up when someone stepped in front of you in line, or the part who kept quiet when a date gave you a back-handed compliment. Watching Cookie gives you a great sense of release — her ferocity lights a fire in your soul, and makes you vow to speak up the next time someone tries to walk all over you.
Cersei Lannister, Game of Thrones
A true lionness, backing Cersei into a corner has never ended well for anyone. She is proud, defiant, and a woman who knows how to survive. You feel a great empathy for her, though — Cersei is a woman who feels that her very body is a prison at times because it holds so much hunger for control, so much desire, and so much anger that she almost cannot contain it all. Like Cersei, you take great pleasure in crafting the perfect comeback, even if you never say it out loud — and, while you don't condone all of her actions, you admire her survival instinct because it mirrors your own.
Carrie Mathison, Homeland
There is a reckless energy always driving Carrie. She can commit to few things in her life beyond her job, and even that she compromised by falling in love with a suspected terrorist. While you do not envy the chaos always surrounding Carrie, her unwillingness to apologize for who she is makes you want to high-five her in solidarity. You know life isn't perfect, and the messy morality of Carrie speaks to you.
Scarlett O'Hara, Gone With the Wind
Perhaps the most famous anti-heroine of them all, Scarlett remained regal even after she found herself penniless when she ended up on the losing side of The Civil War. She scrounged, connived, and played with hearts (including her own) to maintain her pride. For you, Scarlett straddles the line between hero and anti-heroine. Like Scarlett, you have donned armor a time or two to keep your dignity intact and you respect her ability to adapt to change. She never gives up, and neither do you.
Amy Dunne, Gone Girl
Amy is one of the most controversial figures to emerge out of literature in decades. She pulled off a con so twisted and terrifying, it's hard to know whether she should be lauded or despised. For those who love her, she is the living, breathing embodiment of the psychological id. Amy either gets what she wants, or she turns countless lives upside down when she doesn't. Amy allows you to indulge in the darker, more selfish parts of yourself — and that's a good thing. It doesn't make you crazy, it just makes you a human who knows that, sometimes, you have to put yourself first.
Regina Mills, Once Upon a Time
Sure, Regina is Storybrooke's original evil queen — but Regina has layers. She can be very, very bad, or she can be good, and it's that eternal inner conflict that is her most human quality. You understand Regina's struggle. Just like her, you get angry and act in your own best interests, but you still are a loving, caring, fierce kind of person.
Faith Lehane, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Faith made her share of mistakes in when she was young, but when Buffy needed help saving the world, Faith showed up. Faith has a lot of issues, but she never tries to hide them. She is completely honest about who she is: a damaged, dangerous badass who embraces her sexuality. To you, Faith represents the emotional freedom you crave. Watching her inspires you to be braver than you ever though you could be.
Carol Peletier, The Walking Dead
Carol transformed herself from a meek, unassuming survivor into a straight up lady Rambo. She taught herself how to fight, how to be cold, and how to do what needed doing — even when it made others squeamish. Carol's transformation gives you a sense of transcendence: You know you have it in you to be just as strong and ruthless if need be.
No one should have to be perfectly good all the time — not when there are so many other interesting things to be.