Pop Culture's Most Badass Heroines

The Hunger Games is here! To celebrate, we picked out our favorite females from TV, the movies and more who are not to be messed with if you know whats good for you.
Buffy Summers
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Buffy Summers
Talk about high school feeling like hell. On Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sunnydale's library literally had a portal to the demon realm. Enter town savior and slayer, Buffy Summers, to banish whatever vampire, werewolf, ghost or zombie that tried to disrupt study hall that day. Sure, fighting the supernatural added to the coming-of-age angst, but Sarah Michelle Geller's '90s icon prevailed thanks to her Scooby Gang, her Watcher, and yes, even that bleached-blond baddie, Spike.
Secret weapons: Wooden stakes, one-off musical numbers, tough guys named Angel, spells
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Carmela Soprano
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Carmela Soprano
Whether sending thinly-veiled threats through her ricotta pie or making the occasional on-the-phone death threat to one of her hubby's mistresses, this fierce, Catholic mob mama ruled her well-appointed home the way her husband ruled the New Jersey streets.
Secret weapons: Baked ziti, Streisand-worthy talons, her faith
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Katniss Everdeen
Courtesy Lionsgate
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Katniss Everdeen
The Hunger Games trilogy's beautifully braided, quiver-slinging tribute Katniss Everdeen is the stoic heroine from District 12, sent into the bloody arena to fight to the death. Just 16 and already the sole protector and provider for her family, the girl who would be nicknamed Mockingjay (Jennifer Lawrence) swore to her sis she’d make it back to The Seam — if only to face a tricky love triangle later on. (We're so Team Gale). Resilient, rebellious and often more vulnerable than she realizes, it took but a three-fingered salute from the girl with wicked aim to inspire an entire rebellion.
Secret weapons: Archery, hunting, edible plant knowledge, Cinna
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Kima Greggs
Courtesy HBO
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Kima Greggs
We know you've heard it before, but it bears serious repeating: If you haven’t yet watched HBO's The Wire, drop what you're doing to rectify the situation asap (you'll thank us later). For the rest of you, join in the praise for our the fearless. lady-lovin' Baltimore po-lice narcotics detective. As the only female on the team, Greggs championed common sense and solid police-work over her colleagues' corner-cutting antics as she took care of her informants, worked tirelessly on gritty homicide and drug cases, held her own drinking with the boys during off-hours, and still had the time to tell a toddler one of the best bedtime stories in recent memory: "Good night moon...Good night po-pos...Good night fiends…Good night hoppers...Good night hustlers…"
Secret weapons: Bubbles, wire taps, work ethic
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Peggy Olson
Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC
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Peggy Olson
From a meek office newbie with an unfortunate bang part (we're still dying to give poor Elisabeth Moss a comb) this whip-smart, '60s secretary rose up the ranks to win her own office, earning a gig as a copywriter with fresh ideas for accounts like Clearasil — and later a plum role at the newly formed ad agency Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, much to the chagrin of her majorly jelly male colleagues. And while her stubbornness can sometimes get in her own way, we can't help but admire Peggy's drive to crack the glass ceiling and live life on her own terms — after all, sometimes it's a quiet, patient resolve that has the most impact. (Plus her wardrobe is getting so much better.)
Secret weapons: Work ethic, late night brainstorms, steely reserve
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Veronica Mars
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Veronica Mars
The town of Neptune, California slept safer thanks to this amateur detective who was hell-bent on solving her best friend's murder in between studying for midterms. Taking cues from her private investigator pop, the future FBIer (Kristen Bell) recovered from her ousting from the 09ers rich-kid clique and replaced them with a more formidable, dependable group of pals who usually gave her a huge assist whenever this sarcastic student was on the case on Veronica Mars, the stylish teen noir show that's still begging for a big screen version.
Secret weapons: Wit, telephoto lens, called-in favors
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Carrie Mathison
Kent Smith/© Showtime Network/Courtesy: Everett Collection
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Carrie Mathison
This pill-popping, bipolar CIA agent can admittedly be tough to love. But the brilliant Claire Danes plays the OCD-prone intelligence officer Carrie Mathison on Homeland to potty-mouthed perfection, putting her own job — and even her mentor's job — in jeopardy to follow her risky hunch that a recently-returned American POW has been turned into a terrorist while in captivity. Splitting her days and nights compulsively spying on said officer (and hooking up with him), we can certainly question her judgment, but it's those same delicious flawed characteristics that make this fiercely guarded operative so damn compelling.
Secret weapons: Instinct, surveillance equipment, Saul
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