6 Leading Ladies From The '90s Who Gave Us Our First Taste Of Girl Power

by Gillian Watts
Warner Bros. Television Distribution

When you grow up female, you learn pretty quickly that respect and your place in society have to be fought for. The '90s was an interesting time to be a kid. We continued to see a pretty significant power shift, in which women were finally getting their chance to shine in areas other than the home.

"Girl power" was a new frontier, and like is the case with anything new, we looked to television to find examples of strong women. Before this time, most women were featured only in supporting roles in television and film. They were often the silly girlfriend, silent wife or mother.

But the '90s brought us more than a few women who were in charge of their lives. Here are six ladies you can't help but think of when you envision the '90s television alpha females:

1. Miranda Hobbes From "Sex And The City"

Miranda was arguably the most balanced of the "Sex And The City" ladies. Although I'll always be a Charlotte, I have to admit she was all too happy to jump on the bandwagon and completely depend on a man.

Miranda, on the other hand, was a badass lawyer who was determined to become partner. She also showed us how to be a loving mother and, eventually, how to allow a good man to fit into our world.

2. Jessie Spano From "Saved By The Bell"

Jessie was Bayside High School's coolest feminist. Sure, she loved Slater, but she also made it clear that she definitely didn't need a man. She knew she was going places, and she didn't care if her drive and determination made her intimidating.

She faced her challenges head-on, and she didn't hesitate to stand up for the things she believed in. Jessie made it clear to '90s girls everywhere that there is no shame in being a serious woman who pursues her goals.

3. Rebecca "Becky" Katsopolis From "Full House"

Becky flipped the script on gender roles, while still being a lovable, family-oriented female character. She entered the show as a strong woman in the broadcasting world, and she more than held her own against her male co-anchor.

When her relationship with Jesse began, she turned his world upside down and ended his "player" ways. Becky was clear about the fact that she wouldn't fall for any of his lines.

After she fell for Jesse and had a family, she maintained her career, and even became the family's main breadwinner. Becky showed us all from an early age that ladies can kill it both at home and in the workplace.

4. Topanga Lawrence-Matthews From "Boy Meets World"

Topanga was definitely not your average girl next door. She didn't simply exist to serve Cory's storylines.

She had her own life that was heavily documented on the show. Topanga was an eccentric, artistic, straight-A student. As an adult, she knew her role wouldn't simply consist of being Cory's wife (even if she did "break the rules" and propose to him).

She was going to be a career woman and change the world. If you've seen the spin-off, "Girl Meets World," you know that Topanga goes on to become a successful lawyer, cafe owner and amazing mother to her children. Topanga taught us all that it's cool to be different, and that we can truly have it all.

5. Roseanne Conner From "Roseanne"

Roseanne showed us all a more realistic kind of family life. Everyone loved the Conner family, despite their less than picture perfect image. Roseanne worked hard to support her family because she had to.

No, she wasn't necessarily in a dream career position, but she was doing everything possible to put her family first. She never sugarcoated things or pretended to be flawless. She showed her family unconditional love and acceptance, and she handled everything life threw her way with amazing strength.

6. Joey Potter From "Dawson's Creek"

Joey was the girl we all would've liked to be. She was in no way a typical leading lady, but it was easy to adore her. She started out as a quiet girl from a tough background. People often treated her as if she came from the wrong side of the tracks, and she sort of believed it herself.

But Joey always did the best she could. She went to school, she worked at her family's diner and she supported her family and friends. It's no surprise that she reached her goals of attending college and landing her dream job. She showed women everywhere that their roots didn't have to determine how their branches grew.

The '90s was arguably the best decade for television, and thanks to that, we have amazing female role models in the characters that were created during that time. These six women showed a whole generation of ladies how to be strong and independent. We can all get what we want, no matter the obstacles we might face.