The 20 most female empowering TV moments of 2012

December means egg nog and holiday carols and presents and a lot of uncomfortable conversations with Republican family members. But it also means end of year lists! So before you’re forced to get drunk and shout at your Uncle Larry about the legitimacy of President Obama’s birth certificate, join us as we take a look back at 20 of our favorite female empowering moments of TV in 2012.

Leslie Knope is elected to the Pawnee City Council (Parks and Recreation)

Unabashed feminist and all-around perfect person Leslie Knope finally achieved her dream of becoming an elected official this year. We teared up with her when she cast her ballot for herself. We were afraid she might lose — sitcoms are notoriously terrified of shaking things up too much, after all — but her boyfriend/campaign manager was so sure of her victory that he didn’t even write a concession speech.

Peggy Olson leaves Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce (Mad Men)

When Peggy Olson finally climbed her way to the top of the ad biz, not even Don Draper had the good grace to give her a high five, but this year, she finally found her footing in asking for what she deserves. (She even managed to take all the cash in Roger’s pockets one night when he begged her to work late.) But Peggy realized she was never going to get the support she deserved from the boys at SCDP, so she took a courageous leap and decided to become her own Don Draper at another agency.

Rachel Maddow hosts election night coverage on MSNBC

It was a balm to our weary souls to watch a gaggle of loud, opinionated men gather around Rachel Maddow and wait for her to call upon them to speak their minds. In four short years, she has risen to the top of the liberal punditry chain. Openly queer, openly here. Get used to it.

Paige McCullers Batmans the Batman out of “A” (Pretty Little Liars)

Spencer Hastings spent half a season accusing Paige of being the omnipresent ghost ninja who is trying to ruin the lives of every Little Liar. So it was sweet vindication when Paige turned out not only to be innocent, but also to be the kind of girl who would swoop in and save Spencer’s from sure death on a Halloween train ride of doom. Even the PLL writers have started calling her “Batman.”

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