Recently, I've reflected on the fact that I'm very lucky to be a girl in this century as opposed to centuries past. Sure, we don't have equal pay yet and sexism definitely still exists, but progress has been made despite all odds. And I am confident we will continue to make progress.
Lately, I've realized that there were a lot of empowering female role models from my childhood. Whether they were real celebrities or cartoon characters, I'm glad that they were able to teach me from a young age that I can do everything that a boy can do and no one can tell me otherwise. Here is a list of the characters I'm most thankful for:
1. Kim Possible
Kim Possible is an empowering role model to young girls because she proves that you can be a crime fighting cheerleader. Not that I'm encouraging you do that because safety reasons, but what she really proves is that you don't have to confine yourself to a stereotype. You can be a cheerleader and an intelligent functioning member of society who is incredibly logical and kicks a lot of a**. She debunks the stereotype of cheerleaders being dumb blondes. Stereotypes do not define who you are. You can be whoever you want to be. Kim Possible helped teach me that at a young age.
2. Destiny's Child
As a kid growing up in the early 2000s, Destiny's Child played a huge role in my childhood. You better believe that I was one of the coolest 7-year-olds around when I was singing along to "Independent Woman" and "Survivor" in the car with my sister and in dance class. Hearing those iconic lyrics at a young age definitely contributed to the person that I am today.
3. Hermione Granger
How could I possibly write this list without including Hermione? She's intelligent, witty, strong, and knows literally everything in the Muggle world and Wizarding World. She's also ridiculously beautiful. She's basically just goals. She proves that reading is cool and that while you may be teased for being a teacher's pet, it pays off in the long run. Because let's face it, Harry and Ron couldn't do anything without Hermione. They would've died in the second movie/book.
4. The Cheetah Girls
Like Destiny's Child, The Cheetah Girls' music had a huge impact on my life as a kid. With songs like "Cinderella" and "Girl Power" as well as "Cheetah Sisters," I would obviously grow up being all about girl power and embracing my femininity despite the fact that being a girl is sometimes the worst.
5. The Powerpuff Girls
They're made of sugar, spice, and everything nice (and Chemical X) so they kick a lot of butt. Also they personally represent me so well because most days I'm cynical and sassy like Buttercup, but on other days, I feel confident and empowered like Blossom. I aspire to be like Bubbles, but let's face it, no one could reach her level of adorableness or kindness.
Mulan is and always will be my favorite Disney princess. Yeah, yeah, she's not technically a princess, I guess. But she was one of my heroes growing up. She's proof that women are strong warriors just like men. She's also extremely intelligent, quick-witted, stealthy, and kind.
7. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen
Mary-Kate and Ashley have a billion dollar empire. They also made some classic films that I will forever cherish such as "Passport to Paris," "It Takes Two," "Holiday in the Sun," and just about every other movie that they ever made including those direct-to-video "You're Invited..." series... I may still have all of them on VHS... Don't judge me. But by far, my favorite thing that they've made is the short-lived TV show, "So Little Time." It had so little time on the air and that makes me sad. And don't even get me started on all the feelings I have about Full House. But what I admire most about Mary Kate and Ashley is their business savvy and their uncanny ability to succeed in makeup lines, clothing lines, and fragrance lines not mention the fact that they owned an entertainment company at like age 7.
8. D.W. Read
Honestly, as an adult I've realized that D.W. was and is my role model. She's sassy and doesn't take sh*t from anyone. Also she tried to sell her baby sister for 50 cents which is hilarious. I'm pretty sure that she is Miranda Priestley as a child. D.W. was a savage 90 percent of the time, but she's also intelligent for a little kid's standards and she was way better at literally everything compared to Arthur which was the cause of most of their disagreements.
9. Princess Mia and Lilly Moscovitz
The ultimate BFF goals and two of my favorite characters to ever exist. Mia is a great role model to young girls because she's relatable, mostly normal, awkward like all of us, and yet she still manages to be kind, to find courage, and to become a pretty amazing leader of a country. I included Lilly on the list because she has a cable show called "Shut Up and Listen" which is pretty amazing in itself. After reading what seems like a million books and watching two movies (with a third one in the works!), I am confident that Lilly covered more than her fair share of feminist issues on her cable show.
10. Elphaba Thropp
Long before there was Elsa, Idina Menzel inspired thousands of young girls as Elphaba in "Wicked." Sure, I was a teenager by the time I saw "Wicked" in person, but the soundtrack played a pivotal role in my transition from preteen to teenager. It opened me up to a new world of musical theater and Broadway albums which now is the reason I have no storage on my phone ever. Elphaba taught me that being different is okay. Being different and being weird is what separates you from everyone else which isn't actually a bad thing. The best people in life are weirdos. Trust me.