Recently, as feminist ideas spread more and more, more people have been realizing the absurd reality of the rarity of feminist role models in children’s television. A large majority of the female characters in children’s television are shown to only care about boys, makeup or shopping. Not that it’s wrong to care about these things, but it’s wrong to care ONLY about these things. Since the presence of these positive feminists is so rare, it’s important to appreciate their existence.
1. Topanga Lawrence – Boy Meets World
Topanga was an iconic character in Boy Meets World, she was a hippie who supported women’s rights and she’s showed that she take care of herself by herself. “That’s destructive, gender-biased thinking and we have to get beyond that,” was her response to the concept of a turnaround dance, because it “implies that all the other times, only the boys can do the asking.” That’s only one of many a Topanga feminist riots.
- Sam Puckett – iCarly (2007-2012)
Sam is one of Nickelodeon’s most well-known rebels. Although often violent, she’s an independent woman who’s never seemed to need a man to defend her, both physically and emotionally. Breaking stereotypes, she’s often saved the day defending herself or both female and male friends. Although she isn’t a child’s perfect academic or behavior role model, she’s one of the most powerful feminists in children TV.
3. Lindy, Jasmine and Delia – I Didn’t Do It
These three girls showed their feminism in a specific episode. In “Cheer Up Girls”, after realizing that the girls’ sports teams at their schools don’t get cheerleaders but their male counterparts do, Lindy, Jasmine and Delia decide to protest the traditional coach. After the coach refuses to get the girls’ teams cheerleaders, the three girls start a squad of their own. The incident is a breakthrough for Disney Channel shows, where feminism isn’t expressed publicly often as it’s between the lines.
4. Avery Jennings – Dog with a BlogAvery, another studious 15 year old, plans to be the U.S. president. She is vocally an “independent woman” who doesn’t take no for an answer. In one episode, she once pretended to be a boy to play a video game with a guy, then revealed her gender and defeated her male opponent, breaking glass ceilings.
5. Teddy Duncan – Good Luck Charlie (2009-2014)
Teddy Duncan, the second child in the Duncan family, is a studious teenager. She’s never been shy to express her feelings about anything, and has expressed her independence from any man. She’s always trusted herself to do the right thing, especially when it comes to guys and relationship. She’s a role model for kids who isn’t all about makeup and clothes, yet still isn’t boring or annoying.
Unfortunately, these characters aren’t the norm. We’re still a long way from our children-targeted television shows to be the right kind of informative that builds a better generation. However, the characters mentioned are some of the best role models for girls on television. If you think I missed a character, comment and let me know!