March 2023

The Path of Female Characters in Animated Films

From damsels in distress to fearless heroes, female characters in animated films have come a long way.   

Many examples support the notion that art imitates life. One of the most interesting ones is the theory according to which Lisa Simpson personifies none other than Gloria Steinem - one of the most influential authors, activists and fighters for women's rights of the last century. The critical attitude of the eldest daughter of the Simpson family, her insistence on open dialogue and the set of values she stands for, are unmistakably reminiscent of the icon of second-wave feminism. 

The character of Lisa Simpson first appeared in 1987, which was an important year for women's rights and gender equality in various parts of the world. But what was the development of female characters in animated films like before that? 

Snow White - The Beginning of Evolution 

When the fairy tale "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" was first screened in 1937, the "golden age of American animation" began. However, despite this incredible success, it is not so easy to remember Snow White's voice, no matter how many times we have seen this film. The reason is that her character is based on a fairy tale where Snow White is not very enterprising and is mostly left to circumstances. It would take several decades before resourceful female heroes have emerged. 


Princesses and Heroines 

Later productions, primarily the ones signed by Disney, were still based on screen adaptations of fairy tales, while the expansion of active main characters. i.e. heroines and even warriors, happened in the late nineties. They were marked by the first adaptations of stories about the heroines "Pocahontas" (1995) and "Mulan" (1998), which were later followed by "Merida the Brave" (2012), "Moana" (2016) and "Raya and the Last Dragon". (2021). 




Superhero Gangs 

Short animated forms created for television, brought the concept of superhero gangs, which is still popular today. Many of these stories are based on comic books, and that's how Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) were created. Although the ninja gang consists of male heroes, TV reporter April O'Neill is no less important, as a heroine with a strong character, capable and independent. Because of her research work and technological knowledge, for Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael, she is the connection to the outside world. 

In the gang of the series "Scooby Doo, where are you?" (1969) two heroines appear, among whom Velma stands out, by solving mysteries and helping in the fight against villains with her power of observation. 

When we talk about female gangs with superpowers, the famous series "The Powerpuff Girls" (1998) was among the first ones. Three pre-school girls born out of a lab experiment accident live in the fictional town of Townsville, with their inventor father, and fight enemies using their superpowers. 

Didi Damage and Megapie - Heroines with Superpowers from ILBES 

At ILBE Studios,we have been creating the action-adventure series "PuffinsImpossible" for the younger audiencesfor three years now, which is available in 160 countries around the world. Puffins Impossible is the first animated series developed in Serbia for worldwide streaming platforms, produced by Archangel Digital Studios. 

The heroines Didi Damage and MegaPie are members of a superhero group of puffins. Didi Damage is the quick-thinking and brilliant authoritative leader of the gang, and her superpowers are speed and the ability to slow down time to act ahead. 

MegaPie, the biggest and strongest in the group, with an impulsive nature, will always give her strength to protect her friends in need. Her superpower is becoming unstoppable when she runs, swims or flies. 

They are neither princesses nor detectives, but playful and capable superheroines who help their team in unforeseen situations, giving the young audience positive examples of core values, such as friendship, teamwork, support, tolerance, self-confidence.Their characters are inspired byheroines of animated series that have marked many childhoods, combined with the originality of our local artists. 

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