Netflix recently added a bunch of discontinued cartoons from Cartoon Network, and as I was enjoying these shows (most specifically, The Powerpuff Girls) I realized that there is a shortage of heroines that are portrayed as equally strong and smart as other male characters. In light of this, I thought it would be fun to compile a list of the strongest, smartest female characters of discontinued TV series/movies.
Don't get me wrong, many of these are not perfect. Some are scantily dressed and have slightly sexualized appearances. However, all of them have qualities that are valued outside of their physical appearance, which makes them worth mentioning. Here are the five sets of characters I wish girls still had in continuation today.
1. The PowerPuff Girls
These girls are only in Kindergarten, but they fight crime everyday to keep the city of Townsville safe. They are never portrayed in a sexualized way (which might have something to do with the fact that they are children) and are always strong in battle. The day is always saved thanks to the Powerpuff Girls.
2. Xena: Warrior Princess
Xena was by far the strongest female character portrayed on television. Her warrior gear was sexualized (short and revealing) but she was a strong fighter who bested every other warrior she came into contact with. Xena's life did not revolve around one man and her travels didn't stop "in the name of love," which arguably happens most of the time with characters like hers in other shows.
3. Wonder Woman, Justice League
Wonder Woman is one of two women in the Justice League, and she definitely stands out amongst the whole team as one of the strongest. She hails from the land of the Amazon Warrior Women, which is also portrayed in an intriguingly equal way to other male warriors. Wonder Woman and the other Amazons are scantily dressed and cosmetically fitting to the female beauty ideal, but the women are always portrayed as strong fighters who could take anyone, regardless of gender.
4. Kim Possible
Kim is a teen crime fighter who has to juggle saving the world with her high school life as a cheerleader. Her sidekick is her male best friend Ron, who is portrayed as squeamish as Kim does all of the heavy lifting when it comes to fighting villains.
5. The Cheetah Girls
Even though all others on this list are crime fighters, the rare positivity and feminism of the The Cheetah Girls was something I couldn't help but mention. The Cheetah Girls were a major sensation when they arrived on the Disney scene in 2003. Their lyrics encouraged girls to believe in themselves, promoting girl power and pursuing your dreams. One of their songs that is particularly empowering (especially coming from Disney) is called 'Cinderella.' In this song, the girls sing about not wanting to just sit and wait for a prince to save them. The chorus is as follows:
I don't wanna be like Cinderella
Sittin' in a dark ol' dusty cellar
Waitin' for somebody to come and set me free
I don't wanna be someone waiting
For a handsome prince to come
And save me all I will survive
Unless somebody's on my side
Don't wanna be, no, no, no, no
Oh yes, I'd rather rescue myself
These are all great portrayals of strong female characters on television. Let's hope to see more characters like this so that girls have role models with goals that extend beyond boys, being rescued and looking pretty. Many more characters like this aren't on the list. What are your favorite strong female characters?