They definitely exist!
Any intelligent lady will tell you that a lot of the time, women aren’t displayed too wonderfully in the media. It’s a shame how many TV shows fail the Bechdel test (which asks if there is more than one woman, who talks to another woman, about something other than a man in a piece of fiction), for example. Other times, even intelligent female characters are also made to be annoying.
With too many mature animated shows to count nowadays, it’s a shame that women are still portrayed poorly in many of them — perhaps even worse, it’s easier than ever for a woman to look unrealistically “perfect” in animation. All hope is not lost, though, if you know where to look. Here are four examples to help get your hopes up.
4. Margaret — Regular Show
Unfortunately, Regular Show probably doesn’t actually pass the Bechdel test. Most female characters tend to talk about the male characters, and there are very few females on the show that exist for any reason other than being love interests. Even in fanfictions for Regular Show, strong female characters can be hard to find.
Perhaps these facts make Margaret stand out even more, though. Yes, she is merely a love interest for Mordecai the blue jay, but she’s also a very strong character. She’s cool, and though there have been different variations of her character as the writers found their footing, she’s exceptionally kind. She’s smart, too, having gotten into an amazing school. Plus, despite the fact that she’s falling for Mordecai, she doesn’t choose him over her dreams. She feels bad, but Margaret ultimately chooses the thing she’s been working towards for years over a guy who seems pretty nice.
3. Wendy Testaburger — South Park
Something to love about South Park is the creators’ ability to constantly change the show. It’s always evolving. This also true about Wendy. When South Park started up, Wendy was just Stan’s cute little love interest. She said things to Stan in her squeaky little voice and got puked on. That was pretty much her lot in life.
Wendy gained many layers of character over the years, though. She became political, intelligent, and out of Stan’s league. She became Matt and Trey’s go-to character when they need a strong female voice. Nowadays, she’s spouting concerns about what a female celebrity is teaching young girls, questioning the boys’ motives about something silly and juvenile , or raising her voice against something stupid the adults of South Park are doing. Wendy’s definitely risen above being a simple love interest and become a girl worth looking up to — even if she’s just in elementary school.
2. Kim Possible – Kim Possible
Kim Possible is definitely a kids’ show. But that doesn’t prevent Kim from being a girl worth looking up to. Spy by day, student by night — she’s got a lot on her plate.
What’s great about Kim is that she’s fairly average. She has crushes, homework, annoying siblings. And she’s not entirely mature. Her teenage human girl side gets in the way of her work sometimes. She’s still able to pull off the work that she’s been sent to do. She’s understanding and sweet, but can be young and naïve. What works best about Kim is that she isn’t perfect. She’s pretty much an average teenage girl — other than the whole spy thing — but she’s still worth looking up to. It’s a great example to set for young girls — be yourself, because you’re definitely good enough.
1. Jodie — Daria
Perhaps some would think it would make sense to put Daria on this list — she’s smart, she’s a critical thinker, she’s not afraid to go against the norms … but Daria is also very stuck-up. She’s pessimistic, and she just about fears being social or involved in anything. She’s basically the essence of the 90’s.
Jodie is what Daria would probably be like in a couple years. She’s insanely hard-working, and she knows what she wants to do with her life. She has goals, and she’s ready to achieve them without any help. She’s also optimistic, where Daria is pessimistic to the point of sometimes coming across as immature. Jodie is definitely mature for her age, and she’s able to balance school, a boyfriend, and her happiness, most of the time. Everyone should want to be as awesome as Jodie.
Ladies worth looking up to aren’t too hard to find in the media. Sometimes you just have to dig beneath the skin-tight clothes, vapidity and crush statuses to find them.