You Go, Girl! Five Strong Females in Family Films

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Most of us probably grew up reading classic fairy tales where the princess finds herself in peril, gets rescued by the handsome prince (who slays the dragon), and they all live happily ever after. Well, everyone except the dragon, that is.

But life just isn't like that, is it? More often than not, the prince never shows up. Or if he does, he's not what we expect. He might need sensitivity training or better communication skills.

But thanks to the work done by organizations like the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, more family movies are touting a new breed of females. Girls who take charge, get the job done, and rescue themselves, thank you very much.

If there's a young girl in your life, consider introducing them to a few of these strong females:

1. Hermione Granger, Harry Potter. I'll be sad to see this franchise end when the final film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, arrives in theaters July 15, 2011. Aside from having to say goodbye to the thoughtful stories and great special effects, we'll also be saying goodbye to beloved characters we've watched grow up on screen. Hermione Granger has always been a strong girl who's devoted to her studies, never shirks from putting herself in danger to save a friend, and doesn't shy away from expressing her opinion.

2. Red, Hoodwinked! and Hoodwinked! Too: Hood vs. Evil. Forget that hooded girl who took goodies to her grandma in the classic fairy tale. These movies deliver a new and improved Red -- a girl who stares danger in the face and hones her martial arts skills with a mysterious group known as the Sisters of the Hood. She comes by it honestly, seeing as her grandma is an extreme sports enthusiast. While the sequel doesn't hold up as well as the first movie, Red is a great female role model.

3. Jewel, Rio. She may be an endangered species, but that doesn't stop this exotic Spix's Macaw from kicking butt and taking names. That's in direct contrast to the flight-challenge male Macaw she's saddled with during an adventure that brings them face to face with bird smugglers. No worries, though. Where there's a strong female, there's always a way.

4. Angelica Malon, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. From the first moment we saw her sword-fighting with Capt. Jack Sparrow, I knew this feisty female was a force to be reckoned with. When Jack balks at jumping off a cliff to seek out the Fountain of Youth, Angelica has no problem stepping forward. And her predecessor Elizabeth Swann was nothing to scoff at either -- she even took charge of her own ship.

5. Rapunzel, Tangled. The original fairy tale found the long-tressed princess trapped in a tower, waiting for some prince to come rescue her. Ok, so that's how this modern version begins, but the prince turns out to be a bit of an oaf. She immediately conks him on the head with a frying pan and refuses to return his jeweled crown until he takes her to see the beautiful lights that always appear in the sky on her birthday. Rapunzel is strong, beautiful and resourceful, and in a refreshing change of pace, it's HE who nearly dies and must be saved by her.

Your turn! In the comments below, tell me your favorite female characters in family movies. Do you make a point to choose movies with strong females for the girls in your life?

emma watson

Credit Image: Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

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