Beyonce is not on this list. And before everyone jumps ship and refuses to read the rest of this article, keep in mind that it really just wouldn't be fair to throw her into the mix. Beyonce is mom and daddy at the same time. She is the strength of that one pull up you couldn't do in middle school (and your coach made sure to let you know, a few times, that it was literally the only thing you needed to do to pass). She is the raw sexiness you knew you could achieve if you paid for a monthly subscription to Cosmo. And she is the swirly essence magic stuff that Ursula sucked out of Ariel. She is on every list always.
The women on this list are five amongst many that make us want to correct our awful posture so that we can stand tall every time our boss tries to mansplain something like Daylight Savings Time. But these are the ones that currently have us really feeling feelings in an extra way. They've got us doing double-takes on our own reflections. They have us walking into meetings like we're about to give a Michelle Obama-esque speech even though we're only presenting a PowerPoint slideshow on how to create a captivating PowerPoint slideshow. And they have us singing in the car on our commute home, windows down, at full volume, like we're, well, Beyonce. Simply put: The five women below have us feelin' ourselves.
We refuse to rate them and their accomplishments (even though one is a fictional character), so the following is in no particular order.
1. Zoe Kravitz
When Sex and Sex decided to procreate (Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet, respectively), they had Zoe Kravitz. There's no denying that there's something about her that's...indescribable. She's definitely been on our radar for a while, but it was after binge watching HBO's Big Little Lies that she skyrocketed to the forefront of our minds (which, by the way, if you haven't seen it, is there a reason or? It won something like 5 Emmy's? If you're into that sort of thing...). She glows like a firefly during an Autumnal twilight, and you can just tell by looking at her that she smells, like, really good. Basically, we're crushing really hard right now. She's only just gotten started, so if you're not already, start paying attention.
2. Gillian Anderson
From Dana Scully to David Bowie, Gillian Anderson always gets it right. Honestly, she's had us feeling ourselves since the 90s. Her boldness and pantsuits (then and now) are unparalleled. She didn't have an Instagram account until the most recent election so that she would have another platform with which to reach people in order to encourage them to vote and to be informed. She has the kind of powerful on-screen presence to go up against a serial killer (The Fall) and, er, a serial killer (Hannibal), and own it. She embodies that "No Fucks Given" attitude that we strive for and only rarely *truly* achieve. She's an activist and a humanitarian, but without all the cameras and not just out of necessity following a public scandal. Not only is she an actor, director, writer, and producer, but she's the only person that comes to mind that can flawlessly pull off both American AND English accents. Okay and plus she's almost 50 and hot af. Who else is ready to completely throw out our entire form of government and crown this woman Queen of the United States? Queen of the World?!
3. Elizabeth Bennet
"What are men to rocks and mountains?" Um...we couldn't have said it better ourselves. Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice takes place in the 19th century, when a woman's entire livelihood was dependent upon obtaining an advantageous marriage proposal. Elizabeth Bennet turned down not one but two legit proposals, because unlike the expectations of her gender at that time, she was more concerned with her own adventures rather than marital pursuits void of affection. She proved that you could chase waterfalls and live to tell the tale.
She was raised by a complacent father and a gold-digging mother, so it would have been only natural for her to lock it down early and be commonly miserable for the rest of her days rather than being a trailblazer and a GD pioneer. We also can't help but swoon over how often we find our heroine with her nose in a book and a witty comeback on her lips. And not just your standard witty comeback, but sassy yet poetic ones like, "My courage always rises with every attempt to intimidate me." DAMN GINA! There are innumerable times when we could have used her clapback cleverness instead of spouting "nu uh" or "I'm rubber, you're glue...".
4. Kristen Stewart
You can't google her name without an endless spew of articles about her sexuality, her new girlfriend, her exboyfriend, or her exboyfriend's split with his new girlfriend. It's as if her entire public identity is wrapped up in who (and what gender) she is or isn't currently sleeping with. We're not blind; We aren't just now becoming aware that female actors are held to different standards than male actors. But she got the modern-day equivalent of a public lashing in 2012 when she was photographed with her Snow White director while dating her Twilight co-star. The public knew her as a damsel in distress from her Twilight days, and then flipped its shit when she proved to be just another human that makes mistakes. Even Donald Trump felt the need to tweet about it (not that that's saying much...amirite?) We could go in depth on the rampant sexism here when you look at where the blame was laid in this situation, and how the involved parties were treated, but we're good. We'd rather focus on how our phoenix goddess rose from the misogynistic ashes and went on to slay by doing everything she was doing pre-Twilight but with the post-Twilight fame. She didn't stick her head in the ground and stop doing what she wanted because of some bullshit "scandal". She went on to be the first American actress to win the Cesar Award, which is basically the French Academy Award, for her performance in Clouds of Sils Maria. She also co-authored a scientific paper on the use of Neural net techniques in a movie she wrote and directed... Why THAT doesn't pop up when you google her is beyond us.
5. Taylor Swift
When Taylor Swift joined the scene, she had all the makings of a tried and true "America's Sweetheart". The problem with being expected to fill that role, however, is that you are at the mercy of public opinion. Taylor threw that label away faster than we throw out Taco Bell receipts lest someone find the proof of our indiscretion(s). She made it clear early on that we should not be fooled by her girl-next-door looks and charming demeanor. One can be young, silly and beautiful while ALSO being intelligent and business-savvy. How many times must we hear, "Wow...you're not like other girls. You've got beauty AND brains," before acknowledging that the two are not mutually exclusive, nor do they hold equal weight? She has showed us time and time again that her professional instincts are on point. Her label had a bit of trepidation when she told them that she wanted to create a dreamy, 80s-style pop album rather than flirting with the country/pop line that had been working for her previously. She's a grown ass woman that makes her own decisions though, so she created 1989 the way that she wanted to, and the payoff was a Grammy for Album of the Year.
And let's take a moment to applaud her for the way she handled her recent court case. After having her ass fondled by a radio DJ, he sued her for him losing his job. Let us repeat that...HE sued HER. Like the boss bitch she is, she counter-sued for $1 to make a point that telling her side was not about money (she actually donated money to sexual abuse organizations afterwards), but about standing up for herself and to pave the way for other women who might normally shy away from speaking out.
And last but not least, she has an album coming out on November 10th where all signs point to yet another artistic reinvention. .....We've already requested the day off work.