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My Favorite Fictional Women & Girls From When I Was a Kid

These are the women and girls who filled my imagination during the late 80's and 90's. Hope you enjoy!

For the sake a brevity, I arbitrarily ommited any animal characters.

TV and Film:

Rainbow Brite

Honestly, I don't recall much about the particulars of this story. I just know I spent endless hours pretending to be Rainbow Brite, to the point of obsession. The first story I ever write was about her, and the first illustrations I ever drew were for those stories. This was the beginning.

Kimberly and Trini - Mighty Morphin Power Rangers
This was my next love. They drove giant robot dinosaurs (or a saber toothed tiger in Trini's case), resolved conflict with communication and hard work in their 'real lives' and with matial arts and magic to defeat the villains (...aliens?) on the planetary scale. They saved the world, a lot. I eventually lost interest when Trini left the show to go to a Peace Conference (it was apparently a very long conference.)

Ariel - The Little Mermaid

Ariel's curiosity and bravery to travel into a completely foreign world fascinated me. I have an inner tension between timid/curious that pretty much dominatesmost facets of my life. I absolutely idolized Ariel.

Ami - Sailor Moon

Yes, I watched the dub, give me a break, I was 9. I was also riveted. My favorite sailor scout, Ami, was unique amoung the teenagers by being very intelligent, shameless about showing it, but still beautiful and kick-ass. Plus, blue hair.

Dot - Reboot
Dot! Most of my friends like Enzo and Andreia, but my favorite was always Dot. Sure, she was a bit of perfectionist, but she got things done. Left alone to raise her little brother, she was the epitome of competence. She made it look so easy, people seemed to glance right by her.

Reboot - Mouse

Of course, Mouse was dangerous and mysterious. I loved when she was in an episode.

Shirley - The Adventures of Shirley Holmes
The great grand niece of Sherlock Holmes, Shirley was a middle school aged Veronica Mars, except she had no shame about her weirdness. Shirley was clever, though at times overly myopic. Her greatest strenghs, like her analytical mind, were also her greatest weaknesses. As a 10 year old, her loneliness resonated with me deeply.

This show never patronized to it's young audience, and some of the plot lines were sufficiently nuanced that I didn't really catch it all for 5 or 10 years. I appreciated that.

Topanga - Boy Meets World

I mostly watched the early seasons, and what I remember is Topanga being a driven and focused girl. She applied that intensity to everything she did, including: being weird, being a good friend and getting excellent grades.

Deanna Troi - Star Trek The Next Generation

Deanna's skills lay in interpreting people's state of mind and motivations and communication. She was part of the bridge crew, seated right beside the Captain, demonstrating the value they saw in her skills. That was very encouraging to see as an athletically-challenged child.

Kes - Star Trek Voyager

Yeah, so apparently most people didn't care for Kes. However, I was 11 and really wished that a starship would come take me away to explore the universe. She didn't necessarily tote a gun or command the crew, but she was kind and intelligent, and that was enough. (I don't count her return in season 6 or whenever that was.)

Kathryn Janeway - Star Trek Voyager

Of course, Capt. Janeway was kick-ass awesome with a pony tail. She loved dogs, was a farm girl, a science nerd, and oh yeah, commanded and entire space ship. Additionally, I could relate to her tendency to dawdle on the way home, what with so many interesting things to see.

Willow - Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Remember that timid/curious dichotomy? That was expressed beautifully by Willow. I used to dress like her, and if she could summon her courage when it was really important, well, that was a great inspiration.


Madeline (Books, not movies or tv show)

She was curious, and that's what made her a handful, but it was also what the other girls and Ms. Clavel loved about her. Plus, she got a dog after the fell into the river (canal?).

Matilda (Book and movie)

Books, movie, I liked both. I mostly enjoy that Matilda wasn't just a clever girl who loved to read, but she had magic which she could use to try and right injustices. How cool.

Sara Crewe - A Little Princess (Book and newer movie)
I read this book dozens of times when I was in grade school. Sara's unconquerable inner sense of worth was, all at once, something I wanted very much, and also difficult for me to conceive. I used to pretend my dolls came alive, too, when I left the room. 

Meg Murray - A Wrinkle in Time

Meg wasn't the smartest or most charismatic in her family, but she is the one who manages to guide herself, her brother and her friend though a wild journey on her way to find her father. Meg may not have thought much of herself, but she accomplished a lot.

Harriet the Spy (Book and movie)

I loved Harriet's unapologetic opinions. I think I wished I could find the same outlet that she did to direct my uncensored opinions and anger.



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MEG. I, too, loved Kathryn Janeway and Willow and Topanga and Sailor Moon (though I was always a Rei girl), but I still want to grow up to be Meg Murry. She was smart and brave and absolutely awesome, and she saved the world at least four times without anyone realizing she was doing it.

Totally second Dot, Mouse (w00t, Mainframe love! Really, are any MFE leads not totally kickass...?) and Ami.

I loved Mouse like pie as a teen. I was born and raised in the South, so having a female character with a strong Southern accent who was also a total badass was novel and awesome for me. And, oh Dot. The beginning eps of season 3 will always been my favorite era of the show, if only because Dot and Mouse were totally running the whole joint.

Ami was my first favorite anime character. So much love. &hearts

Edited at 2011-02-15 12:06 pm (UTC)

All of these are great, but I'm especially commenting to support the Kes-love! She was a dynamic, empathetic character, and Jennifer Lien played her so sensitively (that voice!). I don't know what people are on about. So props to you!

I enthusiastically agree! I adored Kes so much.

Dot and Mouse! Kathryn and Kes! (My love for Kathryn Janeway is still epic.) And someone else who remembers and loved "The Adventures of Shirley Holmes" :D

Your book choices match up with mine so perfectly! Great list.

Oh my god Shirley Holmes I had totally forgotten about that!
We never had cable when I was a kid, so I watched it whenever I was at my grandmother's, it was the best show!

Ahh, love all these so much! I nearly jumped up and down when you got to all the Star Trek ones - Deanna Troi was my first favourite TV character and Kes is so underrated... I was just getting to the end and thinking 'shame there's no Harriet the Spy...' and there she was! Yay!

Here via halfamoon.

*sigh* Oh, this made me feel so nostalgic for all these shows/books, and I loved how you were describing that timid/curious tension. I remember that feeling so well: the feeling like I wanted to conquer the world, but maybe I should also hide under the bed for a while. Heck, I still feel like that sometimes, and I'm a grown woman. As a kid, it was always such a relief to see that feeling expressed by the characters I loved. :D

Thanks so much for posting this!

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