Top 10 Empowering Female Animated Characters
VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton
Script written by Nick Spake
If you're looking for girl power, you've come to the right place. Join MsMojo as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Empowering Female Animated Characters.
For this list, we're taking a look at strong, independent animated women from TV and film. We've excluded female anime characters, like San from “Princess Mononoke,” because they deserve a list of their own.
Top 10 Empowering Female Animated Characters
If you’re looking for girl power, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to MsMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Empowering Female Animated Characters.
For this list, we’re taking a look at strong, independent animated women from TV and film. We’ve excluded female anime characters, like San from “Princess Mononoke,” because they deserve a list of their own.
“Steven Universe” (2013-)
The title character of this animated series has three encouraging female role models in his life. Garnet has arguably had the greatest impact on young Stephen. Although she may seem cold at first glance, Garnet loves Stephen deeply and is always there to give him advice. The leader of the Crystal Gems, she commands an authoritative presence while also being considerate of her fellow teammates. Despite occasionally losing her temper, Garnet often manages to keep her cool and attempts to handle issues in a calm, collected manner. When push comes to shove, though, she’s always ready to demonstrate her incredible powers.
#9: Ashley Spinelli
Part of what made “Recess” such a great ensemble piece is that none of the main characters were governed by gender. Although some kids on the playground push Spinelli to be more of a girly girl, she raises a fist towards female stereotypes. With a short temper and passion for pro-wrestling, this elementary school student isn’t afraid to speak her mind or get her hands dirty. Motivating children everywhere to be true to themselves, Spinelli is completely unapologetic about her tomboy nature. At the end of the day, all she wants is to be accepted for who she is. Just don’t call her by her first name!
#8: She-Ra aka Princess Adora
“She-Ra: Princess of Power” (1985-87)
80’s cartoons didn’t give us a ton of kickass female protagonists, but She-Ra more than earned her title as the Princess of Power. At the time, animated princesses were primarily known for being the designated damsels in distress. Princess Adora refused to wait for her prince to come, however. Wielding the Sword of Protection, Adora defended the planet of Etheria under her alter ego of She-Ra. Dignified, stylish, and skillful in battle, this warrior princess helped attract girls to the “He-Man” franchise. Actually, in retrospect, She-Ra was arguably a lot more hardcore than her twin brother.
#7: Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup
“The Powerpuff Girls” (1998-2005)
Being comprised of sugar, spice, and everything nice, you’d think that Bubbles, Buttercup, and Blossom would be geared solely towards the female demographic. Yet, “The Powerpuff Girls” has accumulated a dedicated fan base of boys and girls alike. This can largely be attributed to its universally appealing central characters. In addition to being cute and funny, the Powerpuffs are also their own breed of awesome. With Blossom being the self-appointed leader, Buttercup being the hotheaded rebel, and Bubbles being the innocent and naive fan favorite, they all bring something unique to the table as one of the most lovable superhero teams ever.
#6: Princess Bubblegum
“Adventure Time” (2010-)
The most competent individual in the Candy Kingdom, Princess Bubblegum uses science and logic to maintain order. Like any politician, she’s frequently confronted by complex situations that don’t always have easy answers. Although Bubblegum usually acts as a voice of reason, her morality can be debatable at times. Whenever she does cross a line, however, PB is willing to take advice from her closest allies, such as Marceline the Vampire Queen. Sometimes sour and sometimes sweet, PB demonstrates that there’s a lot more to being a princess than wearing pretty dresses.
#5: Kim Possible
“Kim Possible” (2002-07)
As you probably guessed by her ironic name, Kim Possible doesn’t know the meaning of the word “impossible.” Of course that doesn’t mean her life is a piece of cake. Aside from dealing with every day high school drama, such as being cheer captain and maintaining straight A’s, she also must cope with the pressures of being a super spy. Regardless, Kim always confronts her issues with a welcome sense of humor and down to earth attitude. A different kind of action heroine, Kim Possible tore down gender barriers while also being a ton of fun.
#4: Turanga Leela
“Futurama” (1999-2003; 2008-13)
Despite growing up without any parents and only possessing one eye, this Cyclops is one of the most resilient beings you’ll encounter in the entire galaxy. Being the most responsible Planet Express employee, Leela is a natural choice to pilot the company’s ship. Much to her annoyance, she’s typically the one who must clean up her crew’s messes. At the same time, Leela is also a dedicated friend who will cut loose every once and a while. She’s truly a 31st-century woman.
#3: Lisa Simpson
“The Simpsons” (1989-)
Lisa might not be the funniest Simpson, but she is the only family member who’s undergone significant development over the years. Where the rest of the Simpson clan is content with being unsophisticated and uncultured, this eight-year-old desires something more out of life. Passionate about art and education, she has high aspirations for her future. Unfortunately, disappointment seems to be waiting around every corner. Even when Lisa falls off the horse, though, she never lets go of her dreams, speaking to every little girl who’s ever felt different or underappreciated.
“The Legend of Korra” (2012-14)
“Avatar: The Last Airbender” gave us a number of compelling female characters, most notably the master earth-bender Toph. The Avatar’s legacy was continued in “The Legend of Korra,” which centered on one of animation’s most endearing women. Full of teenage angst, Korra initially tackles every dilemma with brute force. Over time, though, our heroine continues to grow and learn from her mistakes. Through sacrifice and defeat, she ultimately finds balance in herself and thus brings balance to the world. Korra not only empowers women everywhere, but she has also been a landmark character for the LGBT community. Korrasami is canon!
Before we get to our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
“Pepper Ann” (1997-2000)
#1: Fa Mulan
Disney’s 90’s renaissance introduced several heroines that broke new grounds for women in animation. Among them all, Mulan was quite possibly the most progressive and definitely the most gifted with a sword. When her aging father is sent off to war, she boldly decides to disguise herself as a man and take his place. While she struggles at first, Mulan ultimately earns the respect of her fellow soldiers, brings honor to her family, and saves her country. She accomplishes this through both brain and brawn, proving that a woman can accomplish anything that a man can.
Do you agree with our list? Who do you think is the most empowering woman in animation? For more entertaining Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.