Top 10 Female Characters of TV/Films

As a feminist I tend to get goosebumps whenever I see a character on my favorite TV show or movie step out of the all-too-common-damsel-in-distress persona. Here is a list of the Top 10 TV and Film female lead characters who demonstrate that they are independent and strong.

10. Elsa (Frozen)

Let’s begin our count down of the top 10 female leads with Elsa from Frozen. I know, some might argue that Elsa is one of the most feminist and independent women in Disney films, but the truth is Elsa did not match against the other candidates. Elsa proves that she is willing to sacrifice anything for her sister. Elsa does not need a prince to save her, and she has cool ice powers… however that is about as feminist as she gets.

9. Helga (Hey Arnold)

Helga, with her cruel and mysterious personality, made it at number 9 on our list. Helga is by far one of my favorite childhood characters. She is often getting herself in trouble and beating up her childhood crush, but Helga always proves that she is her own master. Helga might be obsessed with Arnold but even with this obsession she proves to stand her ground.

8. Merida (Brave)

Merida from Brave is one of the most stubborn Disney Princesses to hit theaters. Merida demonstrates a longing for adventure and a desire for more than her mother aspires for her. However, Merida’s stubbornness and behavior are not good role model characteristics. Merida also seems to conform to her mother’s wishes at the end by making amends. Brave does demonstrate a change in society which deserves credit.

7. Gwen Stacey (The Amazing Spiderman)

Gwen Stacey, not only is she Spiderman’s love interest she is also a genius. Gwen Stacey makes our list at number 7. In the films The Amazing Spiderman Gwen proves that she is not going to be a damsel in distress. Gwen proves herself as Peter’s equal and helps him defeat two bad guys. However, Gwen Stacey’s character is slightly less heroic in the comics which prevents her character from ranking higher on the list.

6. Kim Possible (Kim Possible)

Even though Kim Possible ended years ago KP is one of the most feminist icons for children and young adults. Kim Possible proves that she can kick ass as well as handle a relationship with any boy. Kim often struggles with her teenage life but will always end up beating any foe that stands in her way.

5. Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)

The Hunger Games franchise would not be complete without Katniss Everdeen, a ruthless and strategic teen who will do anything to keep her sister and loved ones from harms way. Katniss is not only clever but she is also street smart. Katniss can get into people’s heads and she can kill people with a bow and arrow. Katniss struggles not only to stay alive, but to also make sense of her feelings which ever girl and women struggle with at one point of their lives.

4. Mulan (Mulan)

Mulan, one of the first strong female roles in Disney films. Mulan not only demonstrated that women can also be in an army and kick ass, but she also showed that she didn’t have to disguise herself as a man to be equal to one. In the last minutes of the film Mulan defeats Shan Yu dressed as herself. Mulan brings honor to her household in a different way than most women in China at that age.

3. Belle (Beauty and the Beast/ Once upon a time)

Both Once Upon a Time and Beauty and the Beast, make Belle long for more than what most women conform to. Belle reads, something that in the Disney cartoon version is uncommon. In Once Upon a Time Belle stands up to people who want to manipulate her or control her. Belle is brave and can face any beast.

2. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)

Hermione Granger, Harry Potter’s loyal and trusted friend makes it at number 2 on our top 10 list. Hermione is not only extremely clever she is also a bad ass. She uses her knowledge to help defeat the Dark Lord, the most evil wizard in the history of the Harry Potter Universe. If that isn’t BA I don’t know what is. Hermione is also an average teenage girl struggling with school, love, and loyalty to her friends and family.

Honorable Mentions!

Felicity Smoake (Arrow)
Malia (Teen Wolf)
Avatar Korra (The Legend of Korra)
Emma Swan (Once Upon a Time)
Tauriel (The Hobbit franchise)
Daenerys Targaryen (Game of Thrones)

1. Katara (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

Number 1 goes to Katara from The Last Airbender! Not only is Katara a skilled water bender she is also a faithful friend. Katara demonstrates motherly love to both her brother and to her friend Toph. Katara is also willing to fight for what she believes is right and was not afraid to challenge a sexist Water Bending Master in a duel for her rights to learn water bending.

Disagree with our final choice?


  1. Hey, thank you for including OUAT Belle in this one! I really liked you mentioned her love for books and inelligence too. What IMO makes Belle unique next, that she is not the “typical” badass woman who kicks ass and her story is about how to open up to love, like Emma; she is not the dangerous and sexy femme fatale like Regina; she is not even the princess of the story like Snow.

    She’s just this smart, bookish girl, who wants to see the world and help people. Who struggles with her feelings, with her incesurities (“everytime I try to be a hero it backfires”) with her standards (“wants to be a hero like her mother was”), wears her heart on her sleeve and just tries to do the right thing, what’s best for most folks. A noblewoman who knows she’s responsible for her people. A woman who sometimes doesn’t want to see the problems in her relationship, because she finally wants to be happy. And if that’s not an incredibly realistic flaw then I don’t know what it is. But what makes her really strong is the fact that in the end she always stands up for herself. Against Regina, against her father or against the her husnband who hurt her deeply even if she loves him and probably knows that he loves her too. Because that’s the right thing to do, even if it hurts.

    Belle is an inspiration for so many of us. I hope Adam & Eddy know that and they will give her a bit more screentime, to let her shine. Oh, and of course because Emilie de Ravin is just a truly brilliant actress! And she prooves that in every project she does, even next to actors like Rober Carlyle, Terry O’Quinn or Chris Cooper.

    P.S: When it came to voting it’s a really hard choice for me between Belle, Hermione and Katniss. But I just had to vote for Belle, because unlike Katniss or Hermione she barely gets any recognition, though she deserves is. Again, thank you for including her! 🙂 Made my day!


  2. All them people who voted Belle scrolled down from reading the Once shippers wars. Let’s be unbiased, no?

    I think the way the writer ranked them is fair.

    Although I don’t like that it was pretty much restricted to Disney characters, 50% of the top spots swiped them. I’d like to see the consideration of other characters from other sources, like Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Predudice, superhores like Wonder Woman or Zatanna, or game characters like Tetra. I’m really surprised not to see Coraline in this list, or the big bad woman herself, Lara Croft, who, despite her outwardly design, is as much of a kick ass as any of the chicks here.


  3. I would add Bulma Briefs from Dragonball Z and Gwen Tennyson from Ben 10 Alien Force. Bulma opens the Dragonball serie by discovering by herself the true power of the dragonballs and starts a trip around the world after them. True that her initial purpose was to get a boyfriend and she constantly has to be rescued by a superstrong kid, but still, she´s got more initiative and spirit than most girls in the 90s animes. Besides, she breaks the stereotype of the ugly nerd girl, because of her hability of building any gadget or machine her male friends need (despite their muscles they´re not able to fix even a radio). And she is also a free-spirited, independent woman, who doesn´t see any problem about flirting with any guy she finds attractive, just like so many male heroes do., and becoming a single mom later.

    Gwen Tennyson, from Ben 10 Alien Force and Ultimate Alien is another good example. In Ben 10, she was annoying, but gave her cousin the needed brain support. She keeps doing that to the male heroes along the whole Ben 10 series, combining beauty and brains just like Bulma; she´s also a karate black belt, and learned magic by herself. And, in a modern version of Beauty and the Beast, Gwen is also able to see the good in a former crook and help him to redeem himself.


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