Researching a variety of female characters that aren’t your typical damsels of yesterday or the physically “strong” female characters so common today definitely makes for a fascinating afternoon.
Why? I discovered that taking literature outside of the equation limits the actual number of introverted or shy female characters in media drastically (I couldn’t even find any lists).
Perhaps these timid females are just considered too “boring” in the modern day to be written into television or films very often.
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I mean, think about it, how often (lately) have you seen that shrinking violet character too frightened to speak? Or even a character that doesn’t know how to socialize well?
Or maybe she’s simply just introverted rather than extroverted and needs time alone to recharge. Perhaps shyness creates too human of female characters to be written on a regular basis.
There are plenty of shy male characters, interestingly enough. I don’t know about everyone else, but it is time to demand more variety in our female characters.
Enough with the extroverted quirky female characters, the sassy, the flirty, the girlfriend who doesn’t feel quite real, and the perfect feminist icon of “strong” (everyone should read the article “I Hate Strong Female Characters”).
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We need more introverted and shy female characters because women in real life are full of variety. So, let’s allow some shy girls to break into our stories more often.
Until then, if you are longing to watch a movie or show (maybe you too are an introvert like myself) with female characters that aren’t your typical extroverts (or less awkward introverts), here are just 40 of the great shy female characters (sorry no anime) in film and television.
Interesting fact: many of these introverted and shy female characters stem from literature written at least over 50 years ago.
TOP 40 INTROVERTED AND SHY FEMALE CHARACTERS
#1: Ada Monroe from Cold Mountain
Content Note: This is Rated R.
#2: Amélie from Amélie
Content Note: This is Rated R.
For more on Amélie, see our romantic moment between Amélie and Nino!
#3: Amy Dorrit from Little Dorrit
See our review of Little Dorrit!
#4: Annie from Being Human
#5: Bella Swan from Twilight
Check out our review of the Twilight movies.
#6: Belle from Beauty and the Beast
While the Disney animated adaptation is the most famous version, there are numerous versions of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale with Belle shining as a brilliant introverted female character.
#7: Beth March from Little Women (1994)
Claire Danes brings Beth March to life in this brilliant adaptation of Little Women.
#8: Carrie from Carrie
Content Note: This is Rated R.
#9: Cassandra from I Capture the Castle
Content Note: This is Rated R for brief nudity.
#10: Cecily from Road to Avonlea
#11: Charlotte Vale from Now, Voyager
#12: Daisy from Downton Abbey
#13: Davina from The Originals
#14: Dorothy “Dot” Williams from Miss Fisher
Miss Fisher is must-see television with an exceptional cast and witty scripts.
#15: Fanny Price from Mansfield Park (1999)
Frances O’Connor plays Jane Austen’s Fanny Price in the 1999 version of Mansfield Park.
#TIE WITH 15: Fanny Price from Mansfield Park (2007)
See our review of the 2007 version of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park.
#16: Felicity from Felicity
#17: Fran from Strictly Ballroom
#18: Hannah from Everwood
#19: Ingrid Beauchamp from THE Witches of East End
#20: Jamie from A Walk to Remember
#21: Jane Bennet from Pride & Prejudice (2005)
Rosamund Pike brings Jane Bennet to life in the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice.
#22: Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre (2006)
Ruth Wilson captured the essence of Jane Eyre from the classic novel.
#23: Laney Boggs from She’s All That
#24: Laura Brown from The Hours
#25: Lucy Honeychurch from A Room with A View (1985)
#26: Lucy from While You Were Sleeping
#27: Melanie from Gone with the Wind
#28: Melinda from Speak
#29: Miss Matty from Cranford
Judi Dench is only one of the fabulous actors from the period drama gem Cranford.
#30: Molly Gibson from Wives and Daughters
#31: Molly Hooper from Sherlock
#32: The 2nd Mrs. Dewinter from Rebecca
#33: Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls
#34: Rose from Populaire
Content Note: This is Rated R (very mild).
#35: Sabrina Fairchild from Sabrina (1954)
#TIE WITH 35: Sabrina Fairchild from Sabrina (1954)
#36: Sister Bernadette (now Shelagh Turner) from Call the Midwife
#37: Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
#38: Violet from Coyote Ugly
#39: Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
#40: Winifred Burkle from Angel
Are you ready for more ‘female’ shy characters? Did I miss any big ones? Sound off in the comments…
Note: This article was first published in 2014.
11 thoughts on “Top 40 Introverted and Shy Female Characters in Film and Television”
Great list! I’ve seen most of those shows and agree they make interesting characters. Everyone doesn’t have to be an extrovert. I agree, the emphasis on “strong” female characters now feels stock and rote. We need more widely diverse characters overall.
Don’t forget Adrienne from Rocky.
Introversion is not shyness. Most of these characters aren’t shy but introverts.
Belle is in no way ‘shy’. She’s just intelligent and introverted. Maybe she comes across as shy because she’s not your standard Disney ball of energy, but she’s not shy by any standards.
I used shy as a general term. If you read my introduction, you can see that I was including introverted in the conversation. Though I do think Belle does not come across as being comfortable socially.
You raise a fair point there. I wouldn’t call her introverted personally, more… somewhere in the middle, i.e. ambiverted. She’s awkward around some of the characters, i.e. Gaston, because he only really wants one thing from her, and of course wants to make her life a living hell when she refuses him.
Disney ball of energy? It’s not like Belle is the only Disney Princess to be introverted. Cinderella, Aurora, Pocahontas, Mulan, Tiana, and Elsa would also fall under the introverted category. And I agree that Belle is not shy; Not even around Gaston.
Kiara Westford -“Rules of attraction”(Simone Elkeles- I know this is a shallow novel, but I fell in love with the style of the author.)
Linda Owens- “Beastly”(Alex Flinn)
Anne Elliot- “Persuasion”(Jane Austen)
Angela Weber- “Twilight”(Stephenie Meyer)
Harriet Pomeroy-“Ravished”(Amanda Quick)
Penelopa Marbury- ” A rogue by any other name”(Sarah MacLean)
Anna Wren-” The Raven Prince”(Elizabeth Hoyt)
In my opinion , these would be the characters who stood out by their shyness .It’s just a personal opinion , of course
Ooh, what about Allison from “The Breakfast Club”?
Also Christine Daae, from the Phantom of the Opera
Thank you so much for this list! I am, and always have been a painfully shy woman. I used to wish I were more extroverted, but I now accept the fact that I’m not. I now feel that my shyness gives me a unique, mysterious vibe.