Today Danielle Fishel (aka Topanga Lawrence of Boy Meets World) turns 34. Topanga was beautiful, smart, and sassy, but she was also something of a radical feminist. To celebrate the actress’ birthday, here are five times Topanga Lawrence was a feminist role model for girls growing up in the 90s.

1. She taught us that it doesn’t matter what people think of us

Long before she dated Cory Matthews, Topanga was the free-spirited “weirdo” in Mr. Feeny’s class. When paired with Cory on an in-class project on the ozone layer, Topanga choreographs a performance art piece expressing the sun’s sadness. In response to Cory’s concern that their classmates will laugh at them, Topanga explains that “every time you’re not true to yourself, the earth weeps”.

2. She took control and kissed Cory first

Topanga knew she liked Cory and wasn’t going to wait around for him to make the first move. Not only did she take initiative and kiss him first, she did it while she had him handcuffed to a locker. If there were such a thing as 50 Shades of Grey with a feminist twist intended for children, this scene would be it.

3. She always said how she felt

Sometimes, expressing yourself can be hard. Saying how you really feel leaves you vulnerable and exposed, but Topanga showed us that you owe it to yourself to just do it. If it was on Topanga’s mind, you’d hear it first hand, and the result was always productive and endearing, perhaps unrealistically so.

4. She broke up with Cory when he had to “test his feelings” for her

All grown up and still dating, Cory meets a girl named Lauren who he has a crush on. He goes on a date with her and learns that even though he might like another girl, nothing will detract from his love for Topanga. A less-confident girl with less self-esteem might have accepted this, maybe even been charmed by it, but not Topanga. She basically says, “Hey, buddy, I never had to test my feelings for you. You shouldn’t have had to either. See you around.” Harsh? Yes. But this moment of strength was impressive. Topanga always knew what she wanted and knew what she deserved.

5. She waited until her honeymoon to lose her virginity

In today’s world, this isn’t necessarily a feminist move. Today, waiting until marriage is actually a little old-fashioned and could even be seen as anti-feminist, but here’s the thing: Topanga wasn’t following any rules, she was following her heart and her own inner compass. Might sound corny, but it’s a great lesson in not getting batted around by society’s expectations. 


During the seven years "Boy Meets World" was on TV we saw Topanga Lawrence grow from a quirky, self-confident girl into a poised, self-confident woman. She always stuck to her guns and she always called the shots. Happy Birthday, Danielle, I know I speak for all 90's girls when I say WE LOVE YOU.