I started this thread a couple years ago...but still seeking. Any new ideas. We've since watched Kiki's Delivery Service, Ponyo and My Neighbor Totoro. They are WONDERFUL and we watch them over and over.
Looking for ideas as well.
There's always Pippi Longstocking! "The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking" is available streaming on Netflix. And of course there are the Pippi books. I have heard great things about other books by Astrid Lindgren as well, though I'm not sure the best age range for those. Or Pippi for that matter! It's been so long so please forgive me if it actually isn't all that nonsexist. I'm pretty sure the character Pippi is good, but no idea about the other characters!
ETA: I did some searching and found this:
I think a lot of the movies listed have been mentioned here, but there are more.
I found a picture book for DD called "Tough Chicks." It is about chicks in a barnyard who are told to be cute & quiet, but they don't, and they end up saving the day. My 3 year old likes it.
She also likes Ponyo & Totoro, as others have mentioned, and LOVES Wonder Pets (although I have to admit I saw it probably 20 times before I realized it was Linny, not Lenny).
A couple chapter books I've read since this thread was up --
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon (Lin) - great story set in China with a girl who goes on a journey.
Night Fairy (about a fairy (female) - mix of male and female characters otherwise; if your dd is old enough to listen to chapter books, this is fine for a 4-6 year old easily.
Nory Ryan's Song (for older girls, it's about the Irish Potato Famine - probably 3rd grade?)
....When she gets just a little older, she actually reaches the point where many, many of the books have female rather than male protagonists. It's weird that way. But there are more and more good books as she grows older.
I'm glad you found Totoro and enjoyed it. This thread was where I heard about it, and our girls love it too - to the extent that dd2's Christmas gift was a Totoro, and the girls are lobbying hard for a Cat Bus, and the blue and white totoros next. We have also enjoyed Ponyo (ordering it for our own collection now), although we liked Kiki's Delivery Service, we didn't like it enough to order it.
We watched The Sound of Music awhile ago, and really the nuns and Maria do most of the rescuing in that movie ....?
Also there used to be a cartoon that dh liked to watch when dd1 was a baby - with a girl superhero - Kim Possible? She was pretty independent and strong. I didn't pay a lot of attention to the show, so it could use some previewing before you try it out with dds ..... (Here's a wiki link about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Possible ). My memory of it was that she wasn't really 'sexy' or anything but it's been quite some time sine I've watched it.