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What exactly is she protesting? It doesn't really matter.

"Do I hear the sound of butting in? It's gotta be little Lisa Simpson, Springfield's answer to a question no one asked!"

A child or teenager, almost Always Female, who cares deeply about all worthy causes. She wants to protect the environment from polluters, prove that women can be as good as men, and Free the Frogs. She is often the main character of the show, and spends a lot of time struggling with her idealism and whether it is too unrealistic.

Soap Box Sadie is usually a post-hippie, the sort of woman who would have been a hippie had she not been born in the wrong decade. And if it weren't for the fact that she's (usually) the heroine on a children's show and absolutely cannot be shown using drugs or engaging in "free love".

In most shows, she exists to teach children an Anvilicious lesson about the importance of the environment, feminism, and standing up for one's beliefs. If so, it is 100% guaranteed that at least one episode will teach her a Broken Aesop about how she shouldn't force her beliefs on others, completely contradicting every other episode of the show plus giving no regard to anyone else's unreasonable actions. (Yes, 100% guaranteed — there are no exceptions. If you haven't seen it happen in your favorite show yet, give it time.)

If she's not the main character, Soap Box Sadie is often the main character's best friend or a family member, played for laughs. She's always right, but because she's so self-righteous, the main character can ignore her without being punished by the Powers That Be. Note also that being always right within the show's parameters can easily turn her into a powerful irritant, and if she was seriously intended to be a mouthpiece for the writers, this often backfires rather spectacularly.

A variant is the angry, self-righteous activist Goth, who is much less likely to be a soapbox for the writers.

Compare Granola Girl, Straw Feminist, Strawman Political, Author Tract.

Examples of Soapbox Sadie include:


  • Fumu/Tiff from Kirby of the Stars has this tendency.
  • A male example is Lin/Lynn Kaifun of Super Dimension Fortress Macross. No sooner does he make his first appearance (during a Breather Episode in which his cousin Minmay is visiting home) than he gets on her escort, Humongous Mecha pilot Hikaru Ichijou's case for being in the military. He eventually accompanies them back to the titular spaceship/robot in order to watch out for Minmei at the request of her parents, spreading anti-military sentiment along the way. Throughout the entirety of the series, most of his time is spent either chiding the soldiers and military staff for fighting the Alien Invasion threatening Earth instead of trying to talk things out (despite the fact that most of the aliens do NOT have any intention of talking), or preaching to the civilians who call the ship home about how war and the military are bad. ...Despite the fact that the army is only fighting the aliens in the first place because they've been proven to be hostile.
    • His final appearance shows him having taken up as Minmay's talent manager on a ravaged, post-war Earth, drunkenly complaining that all the payment they received for her last show was a bag of groceries.
  • Nadia pretty much fits the trope and holds true to her beliefs even in the epilogue, although she does seem to act more forgiving towards people who disagree with her. Grandis DID tell her that she may end up growing out of it.
  • Based on flashbacks, Mermaid Queen Otohime of One Piece spent her life as one of these, constantly campaigning against her own people's Fantastic Racism against the humans (though she also opposed human racism against mermaids and fishmen) and going around harassing people to sign her petition. Her own people found her annoying, only putting up with her because she was the Queen and they knew her heart was in the right place.
    • Played for Drama: she's assassinated by a human, not long after finally getting people to sway with her opinions. Even in her dying breath, she tells her children not to let her death cause more anger in this world and continue to fuel the racism. Driven home when you realize that she, along with other Fishmen and mermaids, are Shout Outs to various black-freedom fighters, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X., and the Black Panthers.
      • Actually, that assassin was really just a random bystander. The real killer was Hodi Jones, a fishman supremacist.

Comic Books

  • One of the many one-dimensional characters in the old British comic Cheeky was Do-Good Dora, who always carried a placard with her latest cause written on it.
  • Animal Man is a rare male example of the trope, due to his ability to communicate with animals. At one point, Grant Morrison, the writer who made him that way, actually directly interacts with the character. Among other things, Morrison admits that he was using Animal Man as a mouthpiece for his own beliefs on animal cruelty and vegetarianism.
  • Fethry Duck in Disney comics is another male example, boasting numerous causes related to nature and society. Born in the days of hippies (1964), though long since transcended the movement. Also a male Granola Girl and eternal faddist; if not crusading for a cause, he typically has a new hobby or interest that he treats as a cause, religiously pushing it on others.
  • Betty Cooper of Archie Comics will take up whatever cause the plot dictates... and sometimes subvert the hell out of them just because.
  • Gert from Runaways.

Fan Works

  • A trend known as Issue Fic can turn any given character into this about real-world problems like racism, sexism, homophobia, rape, teen pregnancy, and all forms of abuse. Not surprisingly, fics like this can easily become Snark Bait unless done especially well.
  • The author SailorWednesdayMercury turned Alan and Anne Chan into a pair of Soapbox Sadies for healthful eating habits by having them lecture their older brother Stanley about the evils of junk food and bringing salads to school rather than eating the sugar and cholesterol-laden meals provided by the cafeteria.


  • The namesake for this trope is the character of Sadie Lowenstein, who had this nickname in the musical TV film Mrs. Santa Claus. Sadie was a young suffragette in 1910 Manhattan who literally got up on her soapbox (that is, she made her speeches atop a box marked "SOAP").
  • The main character's girlfriend in Orange County is a pretty cute use of this trope - she's always getting sentimental about baby seals, while the rest of the class try not to roll their eyes.
  • This is the entire character of Layla, the Unlucky Childhood Friend-turned-Love Interest with a Green Thumb in Disney's teen superhero movie Sky High
  • If you want to see a good pre-1960s example, look no further than the Marilyn Monroe classic The Seven Year Itch (1955). The main character, Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) is spending the summer at home while his family goes on vacation. His doctor informs him that eating a lot of meat isn't healthy in such hot weather, so Richard has dinner one night at a vegetarian restaurant. His waitress turns out to be an elderly radical who tries to convert him to the cause of nudism, claiming that if the entire human race was unclothed, everyone would look alike - "all brothers together" - and there would be no more war. This offhand reference to nudity obviously serves as a Foreshadowing of what is to come, but otherwise it's something of a Big Lipped Alligator Moment. However, it does fit the trope.


  • In Harry Potter, Hermione's pet project is bringing attention to the ill-treatment of House Elves after seeing the potential for nastier wizards to abuse them. Apparently, most of the wizards (and most of the actual House Elves, with the notable exception of Dobby) consider it an aberration and generally aren't interested in her cause; the ones who do show interest do so in exactly that: stopping the abuse of house elves. It's the other aspect she preaches (universal emancipation and applying human labor standards like wages and holidays) that even the house elves themselves don't like.
    • The thing she misses with regard to their emancipation is that for most, Dobby being the standout exception, they either cannot or will not make the distinction between being freed and being sacked in disgrace; most of the other elves consider Dobby to be at least a bit insane due to his insistence on being paid, having vacations (both extremely minimal) and actually wearing regular clothes.
    • And she is shown to gradually come to understand and accept the fact that house-elfs actually like caring for humans and receiving nothing in return except their kindness (on that note, Dobby's desire for payment, holidays and general freedom seems to be more to do with defiance against his former masters, seeing as he refused the opportunity for too much pay).
    • Her fears are vindicated in "Order of the Phoenix", as it is revealed that Kreacher's mistreatment indirectly led to Sirius' death since house elves expect to be treated like crap and are thus fanatically loyal to anyone that shows them even a sliver of kindness.
    • Hermione does eventually seem to grow out of the Soapbox Sadie behaviour and instead actually does something about the issues she's concerned about as Word of God says she joins the Ministry of Magic and helps eradicate laws that discriminate against magical creatures and Muggle-borns.
  • Main character Mia's best friend Lilly in The Princess Diaries, though she may better fit the "angry self-righteous activist Goth" description above.
  • In Bridget Jones's Diary and its sequel, although she's hardly a teenager, Bridget's best friend Shaz fits the trope admirably. This is especially true of the novels, where Shaz's almost constant righteous anger, expressed in politicised rants on a multitude of topics, is contrasted with Bridget's entertainingly patchy awareness of real-world politics.
  • A male example: For at least part of the book, Adam from Good Omens (by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, after being introduced to Age of Aquarius dogma, suddenly turns into the most militant environmentalist it's possible to be... considering he actually has the power to do something about it...
  • Another Pratchett mini-series, the Johnny books, features a character whose name is sometimes Kirsty or Kasandra (depending on her mood) who latches onto a particular cause du jour with all the tenacity of a white shark. Subverted in that Kirsty is anything but meek or flower-child-like; she's dismissive, sarcastic, and ruthlessly efficient.
  • The Baby Sitters Club:
    • Dawn's other defining trait, besides being automatically cool for being from California, was this. Amongst other things, she pretty much started a sermon whenever someone tried to eat meat and tried to get her middle school to change the script of their production of Peter Pan because she thought Wendy's (whom she was playing) role in it was sexist.
    • In Dawn Saves The Planet, her protesting reaches a point where she snaps at a girl for putting an aluminum can in the trash and has the Pike kids giving "environmental alerts" to anyone they catch using paper products. This could also count as a deconstruction, though, as Dawn's behavior comes back to bite her and she's forced to realize she went too far in her crusade.
  • Tara Finke is an example of this in Saving Francesca.
  • Evelyn in Saki (H. H. Munro)'s "The Forbidden Buzzards" is implied to be this by talking "chiefly about good and evil, and of how much one might accomplish in the way of regenerating the world if one was determined to do one's utmost."
  • In In the Time of The Butterflies, Minerva Mirabal (a real person) is this. A lot of what she does also counts as Values Dissonance, since the things she wants to do (such as going to college, waiting to get married, and wearing pants) aren't a big deal at all today.

Live-Action TV

  • Degrassi the Next Generation:
    • Emma Nelson in the first three seasons is the prime example. She mostly lost this afterwards, though she did climb back on the soapbox every now and then, most notably in the sixth-season episode "Love My Way." Her stepfather Snake, who is also her teacher, catches her buying birth control and gives her a hard time over it. In response, she gives a class presentation over how men are hostile toward female sexuality, which amazingly wins him over instead of making him angry.
    • In the seventh-season episode "Hungry Eyes", where, after initially taking a job as a spokesmodel for "Purple Dragon" energy drink in order to defuse criticism that she was too "predictable", takes a stand against, no, not the Sexual Objectification of the models (although she did have some criticism of that, too), but with the company's ideals. She does this by ripping off her Purple Dragon outfit on stage in front of the whole school. Best. Episode. Ever.
  • From Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High:
    • Caitlin Ryan, whose character Emma Nelson was very much a successor to. She fought against pollution, animal testing, Spike's expulsion from school because she was pregnant with Emma, and later nuclear missile production (in Canada!).
    • Also Liz, Spike's best friend, who was the angry Goth version.
    • At times, Lucy could fit this, though her causes were more focused on feminism and equality.
  • Nikki from Good Morning Miss Bliss.
    • And her successor, Jessie Spano, on Saved by the Bell. This one is particularly delicious as the actress is otherwise best known for playing the lead role in the legendary sleazefest Showgirls.
  • For one episode of House MD, Thirteen comes across as this, constantly scoffing at her teammates for not understanding the work of the performance artist whom they are treating. Doesn't really show up otherwise.
  • Nicole from The Secret World of Alex Mack.
  • The female Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. It seems almost every episode they were volunteering with kids, cleaning up a park, or participating in some charity. The male Rangers were a Gender Flip of this, but not as extreme. Trini might have been the best example.
  • Lily Esposito from Popular, especially regarding animal rights/vegetarianism.
  • From Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Willow edges onto this trope now and then, at the whim of whoever's writing the current episode. The most obvious case was probably in the 4th-season episode "Pangs," in which she rants against the evils of Thanksgiving. In "The Freshman" she says jocularly that she's heard about five different issues and is angry about each and every one of them.
    • Her mother seems to be this in her one appearance on the show where Willow remarks that the longest conversation they ever had was about the supposed patriarchal bias of the Mr Rogers Show.
  • Maya on Just Shoot Me is the grown-up version.
  • Carmen Lopez in the two episodes of George Lopez "guest starring" George W. Bush. Thankfully, to tone down the preachy aspect of Soap Box Sadie, she only fits this archetype for those two episodes and it never happens again.
  • Surprisingly, Doug Heffernan in The King of Queens episode "Offensive Fowl". In this episode, Doug becomes a vegetarian after almost running over a chicken with his truck. Carrie gets tired of having to eat meat in private when he forces his new beliefs onto her. At the episode's end, let's just say thank God for status quo.
  • Phoebe from Friends slips into this. She vocally criticizes her friends when they do anything that she disapproves of, even when she does them herself.
  • Rik from The Young Ones is a particularly vicious parody of a male version of this trope; the 'right-on' leftie student activist who, despite coming from an upper-middle class background, has half-read the works of Trotsky and Marx and decided that he represents the working class. Rik is also convinced that he's a ground-breaking poet who, as the 'People's Poet', is an important voice in revolutionary politics and the fight against Margaret Thatcher, and is well-liked and admired by everyone around him. He's wrong on all counts.
  • Amy Jellicoe from Enlightened definitely qualifies. She is presented compassionately, though. She can be irritating, but she does genuinely care.
  • New Daily Show correspondent Kristen Schaal seems to have a new cause every time she appears. Due to the show's high cynicism rating, she is also The Woobie as the reality of the situation crushes whatever ideal she starts out with.
  • A male example can be found in the show Unfabulous in the form of Zach Carter-Schwartz, one of the main character's best friends.
  • Linda from Round the Twist. At first this was just one facet of her character - later she suffered Flanderization and was turned into an annoying example of the trope while simultaneously losing her judo-fighting badassitude.
  • Mokey once convinced everyone in Fraggle Rock to stop eating Doozer constructions before learning the hard way that Doozers don't build their constructions for any purpose other than needing to build; without the Fraggles eating them, Doozer buildings began to take over the rock until the Doozers were planning to leave. To really drive the point home, they lamented (within earshot of Mokey, no less) how cruel the Fraggles were to stop eating their towers for absolutely no reason. Hermione definitely should have watched that episode.
  • Z.Z. from the Nickelodeon sitcom Salute Your Shorts.
  • Kat Stratford in 10 Things I Hate About You, a more extreme version of the Kat Stratford from the 1999 film.
  • "Saint" Sarah from Hannah Montana, crusading for such worthy causes as the California Low-Flow Toilet Initiative.
  • Kerry from 8 Simple Rules falls into this on occasion.
  • Britta Perry from Community. She invoked the Freedom of Information Act to request a copy of a friend's notes. It goes back and forth over whether Britta genuinely believes in her causes but is just a Failure Hero or whether she just wants the attention that comes from being at the front of the protests.
  • Roxie from Sabrina the Teenage Witch. She is also The Snark Knight.
  • Hayley Shanowki from Hope And Faith.
  • Some early episodes of Seinfeld have Elaine as one, though it seems that she just uses it as an excuse to argue with people.
  • Darlene on Roseanne occasionally slipped into this after becoming a vegetarian. Thankfully, it was downplayed compared to her snarky Goth nature, and she did face the consequences when one of her crusades against meat threatened the family's business.
    • She has a few moments in The Conners, even shaming a boyfriend of hers into not ordering shrimp tacos because of how unethically the shrimp are farmed. At the end of the episode she tries this on a prospect new love interest, who instantly shuts it down.
  • Randy Taylor became a male version in some later episodes of Home Improvement. One episode even had Tim fearing he'd become an extremist when Randy reported Binford Tools as one of the biggest polluters in Detroit in an article for his school paper, causing massive backlash towards the company.
  • Oddly enough, Topanga Lawrence averts this trope despite starting out as a Granola Girl and later becoming a sharp-tongued, burgeoning career woman.
    • Her daughter Riley in the sequel series, Girl Meets World, becomes one for a single episode, feeling that girls aren't taken as seriously in STEM fields.


  • "The Angry Young Man" by Billy Joel is about an older, male version of these:

 And there's always a place for the angry young man,

With his fist in the air and his head in the sand.

And he's never been able to learn from mistakes,

He can't understand why his heart always breaks.

His honor is pure and his courage as well,

He's fair and he's true and he's boring as hell!

And he'll go to the grave as an angry old man.



 Whoa, and there's always a place for the angry young man

With his working class ties and his radical plans

He refuses to bend, he refuses to crawl,

And e's always at home with his back to the wall.

And he's proud of his scars and the battles he's lost,

And he struggles and bleeds 'til he hangs on his cross

And he likes to be known as the angry young man.


  • To a point, Alissa White-Gluz of The Agonist. She's a straight-edge vegan animal rights activist who writes songs about humans being bastards who need to show more respect for each other and the environment.
  • "Angry Young Man" by Styx is basically a request for this sort of character to calm down a little. "Why must you be such an angry young man?/Your future looks quite bright to me."

Newspaper Comics

  • Pretty much everyone in Doonesbury takes a turn on the soapbox.
  • The titular character from Mafalda.
  • Nemi, from the Norwegian comic strip by the same name. When she's had a bit to drink she turns into a Cloudcuckoolander Goth. When she hasn't, she is very likely to give you a long Anvilicious speech on everything that is wrong with this world.


Video Games

  • Edna Strickland from Back to the Future: The Game is an odd deconstruction. In 1931 she's a crusader for moral and social causes, opposing the speakeasy run by Kid Tannen both because of the alcohol and the sultry singer. She even burned down the first speakeasy. Thanks to Marty's alterations to the timeline, Edna falls for a young Doc Brown and, by 1986, she's used his scientific advances to turn Hill Valley into an Orwellian state where "bad behavior" is controlled via brainwashing.
  • Nalia De'Arnise from Baldurs Gate 2 is an adult version of this trope, and something of a Base Breaker within the fandom.


Web Original

Western Animation

  • Lisa Simpson of The Simpsons is probably the best-known example. In "Bart Star", her soapbox was deflated, as she tried to join the pee-wee football team. "That's right. A girl who wants to play football. How about that?" After it was revealed that there were four girls already on the team, she tries to raise a fuss about the fact that footballs are made from pigskin. She then learns that the balls are synthetic and with each purchase, money is donated to Amnesty International. From Season 9, which had "Bart Star" in it, until, but not including, The Simpsons Movie, this attitude was taken to extremes before it was mercifully dialed down to more realistic levels.
  • Brian from Family Guy following Season 7, delivering liberal and atheist aesops left and right. A few of them made perfect sense (Don't discriminate against gay people, dial back on the overt commercialism at Christmas, don't deprive child actors of their childhood). But some rushed writing and Brian's Hair-Trigger Temper causes a few to be morphed into angry rants. For example, Brian has tried to argue that you don't need religion to feel good about yourself and that people can be kind to others without it, but it came across to the audience more as "Belief Makes You Stupid". In "Road to the North Pole", Lois outright told Brian to "get off your soapbox" when he called out the family's greed.
  • In one episode of Kevin Spencer, a worker hired to tear down the park equipment is met with an angry group of people. The worker thinks they're this, but it turns out that they're just drug dealers, and they wanted the space to deal drugs.
  • Sam Manson from Danny Phantom, pictured above, is an example of the angry Goth; she once put up an entire protest in a single night to counter Tucker's views (though he did the same). In another episode she both complained about people not accepting her for herself and fought to force the whole school to go vegan.
  • Ophelia on The Life and Times of Juniper Lee is a comic example of the angry Goth. When June wants to keep people out of a particular forest, she simply makes up a new endangered species that lives there, and Ophelia, like a flash, is barricading the forest off.
  • The title character of Daria is an exception: While she is very self-righteous about her chosen causes, and often wonders whether she's forcing her beliefs on others, the fact that she doesn't seem to care much whether she actually has any influence on others means she does not fit the standard two types very well. This gradually subverted in the last season episode "Fizz Ed," when she is convinced she has to personally take action against the school's soda pop contracting and succeeds in reining it back.
    • Worth noting that even when she did take action in "Fizz Ed", Daria didn't actually get the results she was after. It took the school's principal suffering a Freak-Out brought on by stress and high amounts of caffeine, followed by district's superintendent walking in and witnessing the proverbial carnage. It's actually noted at the end of the episode that the scaling-back of the contract couldn't be traced to her.
  • Subverted two ways by Bobby Hill from King of the Hill. The first being that he's a boy, the second being -more importantly- that while he frequently invests himself in various social causes, he's more like a real adolescent in his approach: very self-righteous and emotional, but also very ill-informed and myopic; usually just buying right into whatever his teachers or peers tell him without thinking it through.

 Joseph: Did you ask her out yet?

Bobby: I tried to, but she's too busy trying to save the world.

  • Another episode has him fall sway to a fire and brimstone style preacher which leads him to stand in the mall calling everyone around him a fornicator. His highest point of religious zeal is destroying his dads paper mache statue of Uncle Sam because Hank was worshiping "false idols".
    • On the other hand, this was nicely subverted in one of the later episodes of the series where he goes through a green-phase due to a movement at school. Hank thinks it's stupid at first, but soon learns much of it is common sense and small, reasonable sacrifices. It's shown that many other people in the green movement (who fit more into the usual Soapbox Sadies) are only in it because it's "hip" though, including Hank's boss, who only does it to bed women. After Bobby grows disillusioned with so many people being interested in going green because it's a fad, Hank ends the episode by helping him plant a tree in their yard and telling him he's doing something good and not to let the people who're only on the bandwagon get to him.
  • Hayley Smith in American Dad!, usually in defiance of her dad.
    • Parodied in the episode "Camp Refoogee":

Stan: I hate the last day of camp. You better write me when you get home.

Hot Rod: We do not have homes. The rebels destroyed them all.

Stan: Oh yeah. Guess I don't like thinking about the horrible situation you people live in.

      • Kid sets a literal soapbox in front of him, Stan steps onto it, looking straight at the camera*

Stan: Just like the rest of the world. Shame on you!

  • Skye Blue from Carl Squared.
  • Alyssa from My Dad the Rock Star fits the trope in that she campaigns for nature and individuality, but mostly not to an obnoxious level.
  • Done by Jenny in My Life as a Teenage Robot in a one-off episode involving "Wiggly World", where robots were "slaves" by her estimation. She frees them to disastrous results - including one blowing up because it couldn't do its job.
  • Courtney from Total Drama Island qualifies: she does genuinely try to be a polite girl, and thanks to some character development in the first half of season 3 she does come across as genuinely nice at times. At the same time, she's overly preachy, blindly follows the rules, and tends to be rather condescending; Duncan also shows her that being evil is also kind of fun. Hell she's even written a BOOK SERIES on how to be a successful teen.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Feeling Pinkie Keen", Pinkie Pie has an ability to 'predict' the future that Twilight Sparkle can't seem to explain rationally. When Pinkie asks what the difference is between her ability and Twilight's magic, Twilight stands on a literal soapbox and lectures Pinkie on how magic is practiced and codified, while her "Pinkie Sense" is random and unexplainable. However, by the end of the episode, Twilight learns that just because you can't explain something doesn't mean it's not real, as she's forced by experience to concede that Pinkie's powers are real.
  • Miss Grotke from Recess can be this in her lessons at times, and a rare example of not being a teenager/child, as she's roughly in her thirties somewhere.
  • Jean from X-Men: Evolution could tip into this, what with her speeches on mutant pride and mutant/human equality. It was even lampshaded at one point, in which she gears herself up for a lecture: "And I for one, am very proud of the fact..." only to be yanked off-screen by Scott.
  • Wendy Testaburger from South Park. Sometimes Played for Laughs (unsurprising, given the nature of the show) but there have been frequent moments where Matt & Trey have used her for delivering legitimate liberal Aesops and Author Tracts.
  • Dan of Dan Vs.: "Say no to parenthood!"