There's no denying that Disney Channel ruled your childhood in the '90s and early '00s. So when the Disney Channel announced that it would run a marathon of its original movies over Memorial Day Weekend, millennials around the worlds freaked the eff out. I mean, why go to a BYOB BBQ when you could kick back with your fave films. Good play, Disney. The news immediately sent me on a trip down memory lane and had be looking back on the original movies that shaped my childhood and, most of all, the feminist Disney Channel Original Movie characters (or DCOMs) that made me the woman I am today.
Before Friday nights were reserved for partying with your girls, they were meant for plopping promptly in front of the TV for the newest DCOM. I remember heading to the living room with my brother, grabbing all the pillows and snacks we could find, and sitting back for a fun night. As a young girl, seeing so many encouraging, confident, and kick-butt female characters who were young like me was a reminder that women can accomplish anything.
Though they were fictitious, these 11 DCOM characters helped introduce us to feminism in a very big way, and shaped a generation of empowering girls.
1. Wendy Wu From 'Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior'
Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior told a story of an American teenager who discovers that she has been reincarnated as a powerful almighty female warrior. Wu, who is played by Brenda Song, had the weight of the world on her shoulders and showed incredible strength, noting that girls can handle evil too.
2. Zenon Kar From 'Zenon: Girl Of The 21st Century'
Starring Kirsten Storms and Rayven Symone, Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century made me believe that once the millennium arrived, we would be living in the sky! Although that hasn't happened (yet), the DCOM proved that even a 13-year-old girl can save the non-earthly world without breaking a sweat.
3. The Cheetah Girls From 'The Cheetah Girls'
The Cheetah Girls, was girl power at its finest. From promoting equality, sisterhood, and great music, Disney hit it right on the head with this one.
4. Sydney Miller From 'Rip Girls'
Relocating to her homeland of Hawaii, Sydney Miller — played by Camilla Belle — learns how to find her inner strength, make great decisions, and put her family and friends first. If doing all of that as a 13-year-old girl in a new place isn't enough to show her why her role in Rip Girls is encouraging for young girls, nothing will.
5. Alex Fielding And Camryn Barnes From 'Twitches'
Separated at birth, magical twins Camryn and Alex discover each other right before their 21st birthday, where they get the gift of a lifetime. Played by Tia and Tamera Mowry, Twitches put their characters in a boss-like position that showcased their ability to do some serious damage in a male-dominated dimension.
6. Marnie Cromwell From 'Halloweentown'
Quite possibly one of my favorite Disney Channel films, Halloweentown and its following installments give Marnie Cromwell the coolest and most encouraging character traits ever. From improving her magical powers to saving Halloweentown, Marnie's feministic personality is perhaps one of the best yet.
7. Kim Possible From 'Kim Possible Movie: So The Drama'
Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama gave the character that extra kick-punch effect for all little girls to want to replicate.
8. Andrea Carson From 'Motocrossed'
Have you ever been told that you couldn't play sport because you were, "just a girl?" That was the case with Andrea "Andi" Carson in Motocrossed. Taking on the identity of her twin brother, Andrea not only takes home the victory, but proves that women should not be counted out from the race — literally.
9. Daisy Salinas From 'Gotta Kick It Up'
I remember watching Gotta Kick It Up every single time it came on, because I wanted to be as confident and determined as Daisy and her group of dance team friends were. This movie directed towards and focusing on Latin minorities was more than just another typical "chick flick."
10. Penny Proud From 'The Proud Family Movie'
I never understood why Disney Channel took away The Proud Family because, as a young black girl, seeing a cartoon with characters who were like me, was encouraging. Though 2005's The Proud Family Movie served as the series finale to the show, Penny and her dynamic group of female friends questioned all that wasn't right, stood up against what was wrong, and reminded us all that being a kid doesn't make you any less knowledgeable than adults.
11. Casey Stuart From 'Life-Size'
Every young girl fell in love and wanted their own Eve doll when Disney's Life-Size debuted. Though it originally debuted on ABC's The Wonderful World of Disney line-up, it still fits the bill as a DCOM. Played by the talented Lindsay Lohan, Casey Stuart was the perfect example of what choosing to being your own woman — or pre-teen in this case — will do for you.