There are plenty of people out there that believe anime does nothing but objectify women. Scantily-clad ladies running around acting stupid, throwing their 'assets' in the face of any male that's around. Now, we all know that there are anime features that are like this...just like there are live-action American TV shows that do the same. Personally, I think there are more anime features that portray women in smart, strong female leads. Traditional TV shows should take notice!
Major Kusanagi is just one example of a very strong female lead. While she does have some sex appeal, that mostly comes from her strong will, ability to handle herself and her great mind. She's not out to flaunt what she has, nor is she going to take any crap from anyone. This is one lady that really knows how to lead, and she carries the weight of the entire Ghost in the Shell series on her shoulders. Without a doubt, this is one female lead that women can look up to.
Another strong female personality is Holo the Wise Wolf from Spice and Wolf. I think the creators of this anime did a wonderful job with building a truly deep, layered female personality. She's definitely the lead character in this series, and there's a lot more than meets the eye. Holo has her moments where she uses her looks to get what she wants, but she does this all in a calculated manner. The more you watch the show, the more you see just how calculated she is. Above all, Holo is one powerful and smart woman...goddess...wolf...thing!
What other anime features have you seen that feature strong female leads? I've just barely touched upon what's out there, and I'd love to hear what you guys have to say.