As we wind down 2022, it’s fun to recall our favorites for the year. My favorite of all our lists is this one—our “Women Who Kicked Ass” list! Here are a few of our favorite women who kicked ass in 2022. Be advised, if you’ve not seen any of these shows or films we mention, there are spoilers ahead! You’ve been warned!
1. Michael Burnham, Star Trek: Discovery
I’m starting our list off with one of my favorite ladies on TV, Captain Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green). This season of Star Trek: Discovery put Michael in the captain’s chair for the first time. Michael was challenged and pushed to be better. She learned how to negotiate politically without sacrificing her own integrity or honesty. She navigated one of the most personally challenging situations of her life with poise and dignity and came out the better for it on the other side. I absolutely cannot wait to watch her grow and fly in the upcoming season.
2. Kristen Bouchard, Evil.
“Let’s be real: Kristen Bouchard kicks ass every year, and watching her go full unhinged is therapy for us. With that being said, 2022 was particularly special because she set an example for her daughters in “The Demon of the Road.” Namely, if a man is in your face and trying to belittle you based on being a poor, helpless woman, fuck his shit up. There’s really no other way to put it, and to say it was satisfying to see her go after both Construction Bro and the fake Road Demon dudes would be a gross understatement.” – Shana
3. Kate Sharma, Bridgerton
“Bridgerton season 2 has an awesome leading lady! We’re talking about Kathani Sharma. She is a woman who, from an early age, dedicated her life to the well-being and happiness of others, especially her sister Edwina. So much so that she forgot her own dreams and desires to make those of her sister come true… and that includes the love of a certain Viscount called Anthony Bridgerton. Kathani loves her family so much that she is willing to sacrifice everything for them as she challenges the hypocrisy of the town and their exaggerated puritanism and sexism. Kathani fights for her independence, for her sister’s happiness, and for creating her own path in a world that barely lets her be. But Kathani fights against the world, and even against herself, to be happy without giving up on being herself.” – Raquel
4. Jen Walters/She-Hulk, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
“Jen Walters – lawyer, Hulk, and all-around kick-ass woman. Absolutely nothing can stand in her way, not even the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When Jen discovered her Hulk powers, she wanted to pretend it never happened and go back to her lawyer life. So, if she didn’t want to be a hero and a Hulk, why would we call her kick-ass? Well, throughout her Disney+ series, Jen learned that in order to be content, she had to discover who she was. In doing so, she accepted that being a Hulk isn’t so bad. She kicks ass with her 6’7’ physique and kicks ass in every courtroom she’s been in. Jen Walters is the epitome of awesome and anyone who says no will get a stern talking to, by the She-Hulk herself. Once Jen got a hold of her own narrative, she kicked more ass than the OG Avengers combined.” – Julia
5. The Women of The Woman King
“There was really no way to choose just one of the fierce women in The Woman King. Every single one was a badass. What made them equally badass was how well they all worked together and the way they had each other’s backs. Nanisca was a fearless leader who mentored every one of the girls in her army. Izogie, her second in command, got everyone prepared for battle by teaching them how not to give their power away. And Nawi, showed everyone that you can be a leader and still show some vulnerability and it doesn’t make you weak. All of these aspects combined are what allowed them to conquer their enemies together. And that’s why they made our list for 2022.” – Jasmine
6. Riri Williams, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
“To say the overall experience Riri Williams had in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was a roller coaster ride of tumultuous emotions and endless threats would be an understatement. The young heroine goes from excitement to shock to fear but handles it all well despite heightened nerves. When she flies high up into the sky during the chase scene, it brought back memories from Iron Man, when Tony Stark first experienced the icing problem his suit had when flying to high altitudes. But she has no fear whatsoever even though Shuri advises her not to keep flying higher. She is always determined to help, to be a hero—even after being kidnapped and taken to a foreign underwater world! Her excitement for knowledge, passion for science and technology, and her willingness to offer her talents to do good makes her a thrilling addition to the lineup of young and up-and-coming heroes in the MCU.” – Ashley Wijangco
7. Lt. Erica Ortegas, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
I’ve made it no secret that my favorite character in Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is Lt. Erica Ortegas. Ortegas (Melissa Navia) is an incredible pilot, has a good rapport with the crew, and brings a bit of levity to even the most stressful of situations with her wit and humor. Oh, and apparently she can wield a sword like nobody’s business. My only real complaint about Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is that we didn’t get to know her as well as the rest of our main cast. I’m going to be screaming for #MORETEGAS until the premiere of season two.
8. The women of For All Mankind.
“Commander Danielle Poole, who we thought was the first person to get to Mars — and who was definitely part of the first ass-kicking on Mars. President Ellen Wilson, who found the courage, after all the decades we’ve known her, to speak her truth. Aleida Rosales, the genius among geniuses, without whom much of the Mars mission would’ve been a tragedy. Kelly Baldwin, rocketed into space, Karen Baldwin who saved the day, Margo Madison who did everything for forbidden love…Every single one of them kicked ass in so, so many ways this year. We can’t wait to see what they do next.” – Shana
9. Evelyn and Joy Wang, Everything Everywhere All at Once
As I mentioned in our Favorite Movies of the Year list, Everything Everywhere All at Once is my favorite movie of 2022, and might objectively be the best movie of 2022. But at the heart of this wild ride of a film is a mother/daughter relationship between Evelyn and Joy Wang. They grapple to understand each other. They come to literal blows during the film, but in the end, they finally learn to accept and embrace one another. Evelyn learns to accept her daughter’s sexuality and her choices, even if they weren’t what she would have expected. Joy learns that even if she and her mother don’t see eye-to-eye on everything, Evelyn still cares, and she is trying her best to be a good mom. Working to understand others who are different from you is pretty kick-ass in my book.
10. Inej Ghafa, Shadow And Bone *
“Shadow and Bone might not have come out in 2022, but Inej is so good we’re allowing ourselves this one moment of cheating. Despite everything she suffered and losing the people she loved the most at a young age, she somehow never lost her heart. Inej is a survivor, capable of fighting tooth and nail, not just for herself, but for the people she loves, even if it means sacrificing her principles to save them. She’s capable of killing and dying for the family that life gave her. But the best thing about Inej is that she doesn’t need anyone to save her: she saves herself… in every possible way.” – Raquel
11. Kamala Khan, Ms. Marvel
I would be remiss if I left out my girl Kamala Khan from our list of women who kicked ass! What I love the most about Kamala is that she works so hard to do the right thing. She tries to be heroic, even when she doesn’t know how or even when it might be personally costly. Kamala embodies what it means to be a hero as espoused by Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse, in my opinion, the best superhero film ever made. The line in that film that best sums up the idea of heroism is, “Anyone can wear the mask.” Being a hero is not necessarily about your powers; it’s about never giving up. Kamala never gives up, and to me, that’s more kick-ass than anything.
12. Stella Kidd, Chicago Fire
“Stella Kidd is the kind of character that perfectly exemplifies the balance that female characters rarely get. She has a pretty dangerous job, and she excels at it, and yes that means sometimes she has to be tough and fearless — she is a leader, but that’s not all Stella is, not all women are. Stella is also soft, loving, kind, a great friend and a wonderful partner (and wife!). She’s an inspiration because she reminds us that we don’t have to compromise parts of ourselves, we can be all things. We are capable.” – Lizzie
13. Hailey Upton, Chicago P.D.
“Hailey Upton has gotten the short end of the storytelling stick lately, and though we don’t need women to suffer to know they’re strong, the way she has persevered through everything life has thrown her way is still worth a mention. Particularly because yes, Hailey has suffered, but she somehow has managed to not shut down emotionally. She’s still as empathetic and loving as she was the first day, a rarity in a world that keeps beating you up and down. But Hailey Upton is in control of her own story, not others. And she will do her best, no matter what.” – Lizzie
That wraps our list of kick-ass ladies. Did your favorite gal make the list? Did we leave someone out? Leave us a comment and let’s talk about women who kick ass!