Actresses defying stereotypes -- How Tatum O'Neal, Christina Ricci, and Winona Ryder's roles redefined women in film

By Christine Spines
Updated February 01, 2008 at 05:00 AM EST

Actresses defying stereotypes

Over the decades, Hollywood has occasionally tried to give audiences some truly memorable young women who defied stereotypes. Here are some of the best.

Tatum O’Neal
The Bad News Bears (1976)
Talk about a badass. Tatum’s tough young pitcher, Amanda Whurlitzer, played on an all-boys Little League team and then beat them soundly at their own game.

Ally Sheedy
The Breakfast Club (1985)
A Goth girl before there was such a thing — she was Allison, the anti-social ”basket case,” who ate a bizarre sandwich of her own creation and lost herself in thought. Why’d she have to go and change?

Winona Ryder
Heathers (1989)
As Veronica, the sharp-edged outsider who penetrated the eponymous mean-girls clique and turned homicidal, she was the Dirty Harry of quirky high school girls.

Christina Ricci
The Ice Storm (1997)
As Wendy, the 14-year-old wise-child, she escaped her unraveling home life by throwing herself into sexual situations that are, as Juno would say, ”way beyond her maturity level.”

Thora Birch and Scarlett Johansson
Ghost World (2001)
As best friends Enid and Rebecca, they used their disaffected punk-rock attitude to fend off the boredom of superficial teen life.

Evan Rachel Wood
Thirteen (2003)
More fast than outcast, Tracy was a sweet straight-A kid whose bad-girl best friend, Evie (Nikki Reed), pushed her down the long, dark slide of sex, drugs, and histrionic meltdowns.