Nothing says the 1990s quite like Girl Power!* The aspect of third wave feminisim defined a generation of our greatest television heroines, most notably Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Like Sunnydale High's Class Protector, the young women were confident and self-reliant. They didn't try to fit in, but they were always there for their friends. Best of all, they could kick some serious ass while dispensing pithy one-liners. Who wouldn't want to be a Girl Power heroine?
While Buffy may have been the movement's poster girl, she wasn't alone. There were so many leading ladies we often forget about, so I figured what better way to kick off our first ever S4 Loves the 90s week than a list of the best Girl Power heroines who weren't Buffy?
Did your favorite make my top ten?
10. Isabel - Roswell
Katherine Heigl's Isabel may have been reluctant to spill her secrets and become friends with humans Liz and Maria, but she was a fierce protector of her brother Max and their fellow alien hybrid Michael. She also looked fantastic while swilling down hot sauce.
9. Sailor Moon - Sailor Moon
Look, I'm not gonna lie. I haaaaated Sailor Moon, but the Japanese import was popular for a reason. Viewers identified with the ditzy, average teenager who embraced her destiny and fought to defeat evil with her friends, future husband, daughter from the future (yes, there is a grammatical and technical difference between the last two), and a pair of cats. The cats were the best part of that whole thing.
8. Sabrina - Sabrina, the Teenage Witch
Spunky high school witch Sabrina may have seemed pretty generic at times, but the girl had one remarkable quality about her, she was a total screw up. Magic never came easy to Sabrina and she wasn't well accepted in the supernatural community, but she kept plugging away at it anyway, earning her a spot on the list.
7. Fiona - So Weird
Traveling with her extended family on her rockstar mother's tour bus, Fi investigated reports of paranormal activity around the country. She was one of TV's first bloggers, writing about her findings on her website, and discussing her discoveries with an online community. That nerdy quality set her apart from the rest of her fantasy
6. Faith - Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Just because I excluded Buffy doesn't mean Faith can't be on the list. And sure, Faith did go to the dark side and all, but she redeemed herself in the end. Kendra's brash replacement livened up the Scooby Gang for a time, using her very unique vernacular and zest for her job to teach Buffy a thing or two. And if she could that, then she definitely earned a spot on the list.
5. Alex - The Secret World of Alex Mack
What could possibly make the junior high experience worse? Turning into a pile of sentient goo after being accidentally exposed to toxic chemicals. Thankfully, Alex Mack handled it with aplomb. The teenager used her new-found gifts to navigate her way through the trials and tribulations of school and keep her secret safe. What really set the character apart were the fashion choices she made. Her thrift store casual look paired with the omnipresent hats bucked the traditional feminine and seductive styles of most of the other women on this list.
Tied for 4th. Bubbles, Blossom, and Buttercup - Powerpuff Girls
What happens when a scientist sets out to create a "perfect" little girl made from sugar, spice, and everything nice and accidentally includes a can of Whoopass?** Three awesome little superheroes emerge to routinely save the world before bedtime. The three intentionally demolished the nice, passive girl stereotype.
3. Lois - Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman
Ah, Lois. The Daily Planet reporter was smart, sexy, determined, funny, and pushy. She was Clark's equal in spite of her total lack of superpowers (except for a rather unfortunate storyline and hideous costume.) Lois was one of the very first Girl Power heroines in the 1990s.
2. Max - Dark Angel
All genetically enhanced child super soldier Max ever wanted was a normal life after managing to escape a secret government institution. Ten years later, she successfully scraped one together on the post-apocalyptic streets of Seattle, working as a bike messenger and living with her best friend Original Cindy. Max gave it all up, however, to take down the institution that created her and save her fellow inmates. Dark Angel's storylines ranged from hokey to over dramatic, but star Jessica Alba infused the character with charm and humor, making Max one of the most memorable Girl Power heroines after Buffy.
Tied for 1st. Piper, Phoebe, and Page - Charmed
I don't think there was any other show more Girl Power-y than Charmed. The three Halliwell sisters (OK, fine, Pru can be included too even though she was awfully crabby) were very different from one another but worked well as unit, supporting each other and vanquishing evil while wearing the most painfully 90s fashion trends ever.
* A term coined by the rock band Bikini Kill and made popular by The Spice Girls.
** Later changed to Chemical X.