In today’s constantly connected world, children are exposed to more than you might like. It can be hard to know what books, movies and television shows have a positive influence on your kid’s life, especially when it comes to female role models. It’s important for young children and teens to have strong female figures to look up to, even if they are fictional characters.
Encourage your daughter (and son) to read books and watch movies with positive examples like these:
Joy and Sadness
In one of Pixar’s newest movies “Inside Out,” a little girl named Riley’s emotions are depicted as quirky characters who embody what she is feeling. While the character Joy is busy trying to keep Riley happy, she doesn’t realize that suppressing Sadness, another character, is not allowing Riley to accept how she really feels. Together, Joy, Sadness and the other emotion characters discover that it is OK to feel sad or angry or scared and that it is important to accept all of your feelings. Joy and Sadness teach kids that their feelings are always valid and it takes all kinds of emotions to keep you happy and healthy.
Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book “Matilda” has been enjoyed by boys and girls for decades, so much so that the story has been adapted for the big screen and the Broadway stage. This beloved story focuses on a young girl who overcomes hardships in her life by turning to books and knowledge. She reads whatever she can get her hands on and teaches herself about the world. Matilda stands up for what she believes in and teaches other kids the importance and privilege of education and the power of compassion.
Harry Potter is a character that every child and teen is familiar with. While “the boy who lived” is a beloved literary figure, it’s one of his best friends who stands out in this list. Hermione Granger starts her time at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as an awkward and friendless young girl who is a bit arrogant at times. She is teased and doesn’t fit in, but she makes no apologies for her love of studying and knowledge and stays true to herself and her goals. She ends up making some true friends who love her for who she is, and her strength and confidence never steer her wrong. Hermione teaches kids to never be ashamed of who they are and that girls can be strong, smart and powerful.
Of all the Disney princesses, Merida’s story stands out as unique. This Scottish princess has fiery hair and an affinity for a bow. The last thing on her mind is finding a charming prince. Merida rejects the stereotypes expected of her and wants nothing more than to be a young girl. Like many young girls today, she argues with her mother and wants to make her own decisions. She stands up for her own form of feminism and bonds with her mother as they face a dangerous challenge together. Merida teaches young girls to love who they are and that women can hold strong and powerful roles, even when everyone expects otherwise of them.