Pixar’s Strong Female Characters

As a mom of two boys, I am well acquainted with the Pixar Universe. I might actually be able to recite Toy Story, Cars, Cars 2, and Planes from memory. I’ve only recently been giving some thought to why I love Pixar films so much, and while I believe that there is a beauty to them about friendship, relationship, struggle, and real growth, I realized that I LOVE the strong female characters. There are so many of them — Colette from Ratatouille, Sally from Cars, Dory from Finding Nemo and Finding Dory, Ellie in UP!… the list goes on and on. But here are a few of my all time favorites. Let me know if you agree!

Joy (Inside Out)

Joy is one of my all time favorite characters of ANY movie, not just Pixar films or the Disney family. I love that Joy is lighthearted and optimistic with a take-charge attitude. She takes such beautiful and deep responsibility for Riley’s happiness, and her love for Goofball Island makes me a big fan! Despite some misunderstandings with Sadness (due to Joy wanting to constantly be in control), their mutual understanding is lovely by the end of the film. I especially love her softer moments, where she mourns over Riley’s forgotten memories and the loss of Bing Bong. This movie is still one of the most brilliant films ever made, and our strong little protagonist makes it that much richer.

Jessie (Toy Story 2… 3… 4… etc.)

The first Toy Story movie was incredibly successful, but upon the decision to create Toy Story 2, John Lasseter’s wife Nancy (the strong woman at the side of the Chief Creative Office of Pixar) suggested that it needed a new strong female — which led to the creation of our beloved Jessie. She was originally rumored to be a cactus (this was definitely a first draft idea), but fortunately she became the rootin-tootin, super enthusiastic, yodeling cowgirl we’ve come to know and love. Always wearing her heart on her sleeve, Jessie is optimistic, though slightly nervous about being left behind due to her abandonment from her prior owner. She is an excellent strategist, a good leader, and beautifully compassionate. I love that she is Andy’s only female toy, since Bo Peep, Barbie and Mrs. Potato Head are all Molly’s. And of course, she is the most accomplished actress of this group, appearing in film after film in the Toy Story family and even crossing over into Monsters, Inc and Wreck-It Ralph territory!


EVE (was designed with the help of Apple’s behind-the-scenes designer Jonathan Ive, who was the designer of the iPod! It certainly shows in her beautiful aesthetic, don’t you think? When she meets WALL-E for the first time, EVE is not exactly charming. However, with time and a little friendly help from WALL-E, she shows her curiosity, and goes through a journey of self-discovery where she learns that she can be loving (and a heroine)! She selflessly reciprocates by helping WALL-E remember who he truly is, too. Check out EarstaDiva’s Wall-E review for more about kindness and why it matters: Wall-E Ear Review: Reminding us that Kindness Matters

Edna Mode (The Incredibles, Incredibles 2, etc.)

No capes! This half-Japanese, half-German woman knows what she wants and how to truly make a super into an icon! From her matter of fact, assertive instructions to her fabulous designs, she knows herself and demands excellence from everyone she encounters. She also insists on being an exclusive designer for Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl and Frozone… a woman who knows her worth! For a fun peek at my Edna Mode ears, check out this review: Milan Fashion Week Adventures: Edna Mode Ear Review

Helen Parr/Elastigirl (The Incredibles, Incredibles 2, etc.)

“Leave the saving of the world to the men? I don’t think so!” Badass mom, wife, and member of witness protection, Helen Parr aka “Elastigirl” still skillfully finds ways to use her illegal superpowers to help with housework, raising kids, and everyday life. She is a fantastic character, designed to reflect what a middle-aged mom might actually look like – wider hips, thicker thighs, practical haircut, etc. But when it comes to her strength, this woman can literally stop a train! Trivia tidbit that raises her “cool” factor even higher: in Incredibles 2, Helen tells Bob (her husband) that she used to have not only a motorcycle, but a mohawk in her “Glory Days”!

Merida (Brave, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Once Upon a Time, Sofia the First…)

As the singular Pixar princess, Merida, whose name means “honorable” in Gaelic, holds a special place in the ranks of strong Pixar female characters. Her official description hardly begins to capture her depth as a leading lady: “Merida is a princess by birth and an adventurer by a spirit. She spends her days practicing archery, riding her horse Angus, and exploring the world around her. She loves her family, but she wants to control her own destiny.” Bold, headstrong, adventurous, courageous and a rebellious girl, Merida is my #1 for most beloved strong female lead in the Pixar universe. She is one of two Disney princesses without a love interest (Moana is the other), and I absolutely adore her. You can read more about Merida in my ear review here: Chase the Wind and Touch the Sky: Merida Ear Review

I am Merida! Firstborn descendant of clan DunBroch, and I’ll be shootin’ for my own hand!

Monday is International Women’s Day, so won’t you join me in revisiting some of these incredible female Pixar characters? I may throw on something purple, a pair of fabulous ears, and work my way down the list with a big bowl of popcorn!

I truly would love to know your thoughts on Pixar characters, how they’re different from other Disney characters, or just other magical things you have to share in the comments! Make sure you check us out on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram, chances are you will see our ears in action!  

Pixie Dust and Glamour!  



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