7 animated female characters we can’t help but celebrate, this Women’s History Month

Don’t you just love a good animated movie you can watch with the kids? Don’t you love it even more when the movie has praiseworthy characters your preschooler can emulate? Then you’ll love this list! Keep reading to discover 7 incredibly well-written animated female characters and what makes them excellent role models.
Quick! Can you think of five standout female characters from animated movies — you have ten seconds!
Done? Okay. We’ll make a guess about your answers now.
There was at least one princess in that list, right?
Don’t get us wrong; we love princesses (Tiana! *heart eyes*). But you know and we know and they (the princesses) know that there’s a whole world of female animated characters who are not princesses but are towering characters nevertheless. That’s what this blog post is all about. Some of these ladies are protagonists and some of them are supporting characters, but all of them are sources of inspiration. Oh, and they come in varying shapes, sizes, and colors! Let’s meet these 7 heroines of animated filmmaking, and explore the qualities that make them worthy of admiration. Don’t be surprised if your little one adopts one of these ladies as their role model!


from Spirited Away
Photo: Studio Ghibli/Disney
Meet the ten-year-old you’ll want to be when you grow up. At the start of Spirited Away, Chihiro displays all-too-familiar traits of a regular spoiled brat. Not very role modelly of her, right? What makes Chihiro deserving of a spot on this list is how she grows as she goes through all that she is forced to go through. From being overprotected, ungrateful, and stubborn, Chihiro becomes a figure of strength, independence, and maturity. Oh, yes, in a film all about spirits, even a change in her name and position in society fails to crush the spirit of a girl focused on getting her old life back. We won’t tell you whether she does get her old life back (‘cause, well, spoilers), but we can tell you a whole new Chihiro emerges in the quest for it.


from Inside Out
Photo: Disney
What has blue eyes, blue hair, is EXTREMELY HAPPY ALL THE TIME, glows a touch, and lives in a pre-teen’s mind? It’s an animated movie character we couldn’t help but fall in love with, and her name is Joy! Joy is an emotion that lives in young Riley’s mind, and goodness, is she happy or what?! She may be famous for her perpetual positivity and hilarious personality, but what makes this ray of sunshine a standout is her determination. It’s the vehicle that takes her from being a character who blindly furthers her own agenda to becoming a heroine who sees the beauty that emerges when a kaleidoscope of emotions coexist in a person.


from Encanto
Photo: Disney
It’s safe to say that we’ve all heard the hit Waiting on a Miracle by now. The titan who belts out this earworm is Mirabel: a member of the magically gifted Madrigal family who has no gift herself (but has some serious vocals!). What we LOVE about young Mirabel is how real she is. Perfectly imperfect and totally human, she is full of life and love for others. But her character goes deeper. Perhaps what Mirabel represents most is a generation that wants to ask questions, help their families heal, and turn things around forever. She may not possess a magical gift, but to us, she IS the magical gift herself.


from Lilo & Stitch
Photo: Disney
Little Lilo just might be one of the greatest kids’ role models (male or female) of all time! Why? Well, she has zero qualms about being exactly who she is. No identity crisis for this little girl! A living lesson in being 100% you, Lilo is all things lovable: energetic, hilarious, driven, and so, so sassy! Being orphaned at a tender age doesn’t stop her from living her best life. But the quality in Lilo that endears her most to us is her understanding of human emotions and relationships. Young as she is, this Hawaiian cutie knows herself and knows how to make a person’s day. Oh, Lilo is a sweetheart your sweetheart will ADORE, and you will find a lump forming in your throat when you watch her bond with her big sister (more on the big sister a little later).


from Kiki’s Delivery Service
Photo: Studio Ghibli/Disney
She’s a witch and she’s the living, breathing, broom-riding, cat-loving embodiment of the idiom, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Being a witch provides Kiki with zero immunity from a tough life. In fact, in order to properly train as a witch, she must endure some serious hardships for a year, including moving to a big city and getting a challenging job in exchange for modest lodgings. And how Kiki rises to the challenge! There’s bucketloads your kiddo can take away from this young witch — hard work, perseverance, bravery, maturity, friendship. Oh, but be careful. If you haven’t got one already, your toddler is going to make incessant requests for a pet cat (most likely a black one that talks!).


from Mulan
Photo: Disney
Is there even a list in existence that pays tribute to admirable animated female characters and does not include Fa Mulan? Wait, we hope not. Mulan is such a power personality that we often confuse her well-earned popularity as an ordinary woman achieving the extraordinary with fame that comes from being a princess (which she isn’t!). It gives us goosebumps even now — although the animated Mulan is 24 years old — to think about the courage of this young woman and the love that inspires it. An unwitting champion for the cause of gender equality in a time when it wasn’t dreamed of, Mulan is sure to occupy a special place in your child’s heart (and yours).


from Lilo & Stitch
Photo: Disney
We had to close with Lilo’s big sister. Meet the coolest animated older sibling EVER! Nani is the teen we all wish we were, making her the ideal teenage role model for children everywhere. There are so many words of praise we can use to describe this absolute titan of a character: strong, thoughtful, sensitive, intelligent, responsible, and utterly inspiring. Nani is her little sister’s legal guardian and her only immediate family. She may be young, but the way this girl goes about her business, she makes the rest of us grownups look bad. If you want your preschooler to be a real head-on-their-shoulders individual when they reach adulthood, now’s a good time to introduce them to Nani.
That’s our list! Do you or your kid have a favorite among these? Or do you have a name you’d like to add to the list? Tell you what… If you do have a name you’d like to add to our list, write in to us at support@kiddopia.com and tell us why you’d like it included. If the character you name makes the cut, you just might see her in an updated version of this blog post!
Share this article

Related Blogs

Return to Blog