Wonder Woman’s greatest power is inspiring little girls.
It’s official—Wonder Woman has surpassed all the testosterone-fueled action movies to become the number one movie at the U.S. box office this summer. And you know what’s even cooler? The only movie that has made more money for the rest of 2017 is Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, which stars another amazing female hero.
The very thought of all those strong, smart women standing up for themselves and kicking some butt—and then killing it at the box office—is enough to move legions of Wonder Woman’s fans to tears. That may or may not be the reason this little girl, in an awesome homemade WW costume, broke down when meeting Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot, at San Diego’s Comic Con. The scene of the Israeli actress (and mom to two girls) comforting the clearly overwhelmed child was so moving that it even gave Batman himself, Ben Affleck, all the feels from a few seats away.
With Wonder Woman and Belle proving that female heroes are not only super role models for girls, but have the power to soar to the billion-dollar-movie mark, we put together this list of other favorite fearless female heroes for girls ages 5 to 95.
We all know the truth—Voldemort would still be alive wreaking havoc on Muggles and Wizards, and Harry and Ron wouldn’t have made it past book one without the true heroine of the Harry Potter series. She used her superpowers, super brain, and the occasional super punch to literally save the world.
Moon Girl and Squirrel Girl
One 10-year-old we know is all about these two Marvel comic book heroines. Moon Girl is the smartest person in the world, a clever inventor, and hangs out with a red dinosaur. Squirrel Girl is a college student with the superpowers of a giant squirrel (just go with it). The most admirable thing about Squirrel Girl, according to her little fan, is that she gets to know the villains and helps them solve their problems in a peaceful way.
She’s old school for sure, but whether you grew up reading the classic mystery novels or your daughter grew up watching the 2007 Emma Roberts movie, you have to admire a teenager who can solve mysteries and outsmart the bad guys all while looking perfectly put-together.
Princess Leia, Rey, and Jyn Erso
Never ones to settle for cheering on their male colleagues from the sidelines, the women of Star Wars take center stage, leading the rebels, discovering the power of the Force, and courageously stealing the Death Star plans. Sure, Leia had an occasional slip into bad dialogue and gold bikinis, but the modern-day rebels Rey and Jyn are as fierce as any dudes in the universe.
Even if you’re little you can do a lot: The tiny hero of Roald Dahl’s girl-power story (the book was made into a movie in 1996 and a Broadway musical in 2013) proved that even a five-year-old could vanquish a huge, scary, hammer-throwing villain with the help of her friends, her smarts, and some telekinetic superpowers.
Sabena, a 14-year-old New Yorker, raves about Raven, the half-demon heroine with complex magical powers in the comic books and cartoon series Teen Titans. “She’s dark and interesting—not like how other female characters are usually portrayed,” explains the real-life teen.
Sure, Anna, Elsa, Belle, and Merida might be better-known, but the heroine from Disney’s Hercules, who bravely makes the ultimate sacrifice for the person she loves, has her own ardent fan base. “I still relate to Meg to this day,” says one Real Simple staffer. “She had flaws and made mistakes and that’s what made her so relatable, the fact that she was human. Her character was also brave, innovative, and independent. I connected with her character instantly.”