What Disney Channel taught me about being a strong woman

Sitcoms supply children with laughs and life skills.


by MaryMichael Hough, Managing Editor of Print

Let’s flashback to the golden years. Before the usual, “well, the kids I was babysitting for were watching it” or “it was my little brother’s turn to pick so I had no choice” excuses, there was a time when I was proud of my devotion to good old Channel 70. Disney Channel played a major role in many of our childhoods, but what exactly did it teach us? Don’t get me wrong, the countless awkward encounters between genders and outrageous outfits were entertaining, but I’ve realized that Disney Channel provided me with a lot more than than cheesy lessons and jokes. Disney Channel taught me how to be a strong and independent young woman.

As the youngest child in a family with working parents, I was partially raised by inappropriate movies and family-friendly sitcoms. So, naturally, when I think of my childhood heroes a select group come to mind: my grandma, Elle Woods and Disney Channel’s founding mothers. Many of you are probably rolling your eyes at this point, but if you dig deeper into the premises of these Disney Channel shows and movies, you realize that the values of the characters weren’t completely irrelevant and out of touch.

Kim Possible was a determined teenage girl who maintained a strong GPA and some interesting extracurriculars. Raven Baxter was a sassy teenage girl who promoted positive body image and used her talents to help others. Ren Stevens was an over-achieving teenage girl who crushed high expectations and attempted to keep those around her in check. Zenon Kar was a mischievous teenage girl who challenged authority and fought for what was right despite punishment. Although dramatised by the addition of evil villains, supernatural powers, unrealistic schemes and a few futuristic gadgets, each of these stories taught us to not only achieve, but surpass the goals set by ourselves and others.

These relatable characters  have provided us with the tools we need to thrive as confident leaders. As a young woman searching for the inspiration to be a strong-willed and driven individual, look no further than 11 p.m. on the channel that is probably still programmed into your TV’s favorites.

For these reasons, it seems as though the amount of homework sacrificed and relationships ruined fighting for the remote really were worth it. Mom, I told you so.