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TRAINWRECK and the Lustful Leading Ladies Who Came First



Since the dawn of recorded time, society has loved a good, public slut-shaming. Throughout history, women who’ve failed to keep their included-at-birth chastity belts locked until marriage have suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous verbiage — e.g., “harlot,” “whore,” “slut,” “ho,” “ho-bag — and, occasionally, actual slings and arrows.

In the past few decades, more and more women have chosen to intentionally defy these restrictions, embracing the truism that “well-behaved women seldom make history.

And there can be no doubt which team Amy Schumer plays for.

From her sketch comedy TV series, Inside Amy Schumer, to her new feature film, Trainwreck (in which she plays a version of herself who’s DTF but not interested in being a GF), Schumer’s comedy is characterized by a no-holes-barred philosophy that makes her unique (and makes many of us blush).

Yet Schumer is far from the first lusty lady to go where many men have gone before. Here’s just a few of the movie and TV leading ladies who paved the way, bucking convention and doing what (and whom) they pleased.*

*Someday, perhaps, this list will include more ladies whose love of sex does not have to be accompanied by some sort of emotional shortfall or deficit. Alas, that day is not today.


Sex and the City (1998–2004, 2008, 2010)

Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Charlotte (Kristin Davis), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Samantha (Kim Cattrall)

For 6 TV seasons and 2 movies, the ladies of Sex and the City were the Fairy Godmothers of all women yearning to behave ‘badly’ (and spend an exorbitant amount of money on shoes). They went there, did that, and took more than one for the team when it came to facing down judgment.

HBO / Giphy

Cruel Intentions (1999)

Kathryn Merteuil (Sarah Michelle Gellar)

The “Marcia-f—king-Brady of the Upper East Side” herself, Kathryn wants what she wants, when she says she wants it — and if “it” is male attention, has zero trouble getting it and keeping it for as long as it amuses her. (Her other hobbies include teaching sex ed and plotting social destruction.)

Columbia Pictures / Giphy

The Sweetest Thing (2002)

Christina (Cameron Diaz), Courtney (Christina Applegate), and Jane (Selma Blair)

Besties Christina, Courtney, and Jane troll the San Fran dating scene for men to have fun with (and buy them drinks) before the next day’s set-in-stone girls’ brunch. They are each others’ rocks and kicks-in-the-ass when necessary, and Karma Sutra whenever the mood strikes.


Katherine Watson: The choice is yours, ladies. You can conform to what other people expect or you can…
Betty Warren: I know. Be ourselves.
Mona Lisa Smile (2003)


John Tucker Must Die (2006)

Beth (Sophia Bush)

One of three girls dating the most popular boy in school, Beth is not afraid to get physical — but sometimes forgets that not every relationship moment calls for action.

Twentieth Century Fox / Giphy

No Strings Attached (2011)

Emma (Natalie Portman)

Emma’s not interested in cuddle time, breakfast, or feelings. She doesn’t have time to be (at least, that’s how she justifies it to herself). She has a few hours between her medical residency shifts to sleep, shower, and get that D.

The To Do List (2013)

Brandy Klark (Aubrey Plaza)

Brandy Klark has never met a challenge she has not mastered — until she realizes that for all her straight-A report cards, she’s averaging an F in her own sexuality. Determined to fill this hole in her knowledge base, Brandy tackles sex like she would any academic subject: Comprehensively, clinically, and vigorously.

CBS Films / Giphy

CBS Films / Giphy

Honorable Mention:

Mrs. Klark (Connie Britton), who talks about lube way more often that many moms would (or, perhaps, should).


Written by Schumer and directed by Judd Apatow, Trainwreck also features Bill Hader, (a nearly unrecognizable) Tilda Swinton, Brie Larson, John Cena, Colin Quinn, Mike Birbiglia, Vanessa Bayer, Randall Park, Jon Glaser, Ezra Miller and LeBron James.

Trainwreck hits theaters today (July 17).



Follow Sarah on Twitter: @sarahdkatz

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The Author

Sarah Katz

Sarah Katz

Born-and-bred New Yorker. Lifelong film & TV lover—from chick flicks, rom-coms, rom-droms, rom-drams, and tweentertainment, to Shakespeare, period pieces, James Bond, fairy tales, and mafia movies.