10 Female 80s Cartoons That Ushered Us Into Manhood
Throughout the history of TV, cartoons have always been able to get away with a little more than their live action counterparts. That insulating shield of paint and ink seems to give the creators license to stretch, and sometimes to downright goatse, our notions of decency. The first show on TV to show a young boy spewing diarrhea onto his mother’s face was South Park, and there’s a reason for that. It just wouldn’t work on The Drew Carey Show, not even during their April Fool’s Day special. It's the same reason the Road Runner cartoons of the 60's sold so much better than actual footage of coyotes getting mangled to death. Enter the late 80's. It was a tender time in a young boy's life. Our bodies were changing in strange, unsettling ways, and our parents, as usual, had failed us at every turn. Luckily, Television was there to do their job for them. Inside that glowing box we found a bounty of fictional vixen, drawn to exacting specifications and designed to fill us with feelings we wouldn't understand until years later, when we spent the night at the house of the kid whose parents had the Spice Channel.
Look at her tiny little aviator goggles! They’re adorable!
She’s probably the only female on this list who would have found our 11-year-old junk imponderably huge.
10. Gadget from Chip N’ Dale’s Rescue RangersThe Show: A group of rodents living in the park solve major crimes throughout the city, and believe it or not, you’re not huffing glue. Well, maybe you are, but the show was real, and Chip wore an awesome bomber jacket. The Object Of Our Misguided Affection: Gadget Hackwrench was a brilliant inventor, pilot, and mechanic who also happened to be a field mouse. A field mouse that seemed to have fashioned a tiny auburn wig out of locks of human hair, and whose ability to turn discarded soda cans into airplanes put MacGyver to shame. Perks:
9. April from The Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesThe Show: TMNT introduced us to a giant ninja rat, a man-sized alligator, a clan of feet, a guy who was a brain inside a jar inside another guy, and all other manner of mutated horror we had no way of understanding. But God bless us, we begged our parents to buy it all anyway.
8. Cover Girl from G.I. JoeThe Show: The least realistic, but most effective Army recruitment video ever made, G.I. Joe taught us about the inherent goodness of American values and the inherent evil of foreigners and people with lisps. The Object Of Our Misguided Affection: Cover Girl, like most of the Joes, was named after her occupational specialty. Once a supermodel, Cover left the sexist world of high fashion behind to get grunted at by a bunch of testosterone-fueled, sweaty guys who haven’t had sex for two years. Perks:
7. Cheetara from ThundercatsThe Show: Take some Superman mythology, the Herculoids milieu, some He-Man mentality and a bunch of cats, and you’re halfway there. The other half involves a demonic mummy god, yeti knights, robo-bears and a heaping helping of Snarf. The Object Of Our Misguided Affection: Cheetara, the only adult female Thundercat, served as the outlet for our pubescent needs. The fact that she was often depicted wielding a staff that grew when she held it didn’t hurt either.
6. Tarra from The Herculoids
5. Smurfette from The SmurfsThe Show: A French cartoon about little blue people who live in mushroom houses, have a nearly one-word vocabulary, and do…actually I’m not sure what they do. Harvest things? Make shoes? They’re blue. I think I said that already. Moving on.
4 and 3. Daphne and Velma from Scooby DooThe Show: A group of kids who should be in College are instead tooling around the country in a van (occasionally with the Harlem Globe Trotters or Marx Brothers) in an attempt to eat giant sandwiches and prove that monsters are really just old men in masks.
2. Wonder Woman from Super FriendsThe Show: A group of superheroes who are also best friends gather for weekly parties and to politely pretend like Superman couldn’t do everything himself. This tree fort-like scenario also attracted two bumbling teens and their dog, whose presence is never fully explained. I think they may have been auxiliary Robins Batman was hanging on to just in case. The Object Of Our Misguided Affection: Wonder Woman was a goddess who came from a race of Amazons as an ambassador to man’s world. In order to establish a precedent of proud femininity, she flounced around in a corset and flew by squatting in an invisible plane above people’s heads.
1. Jessica Rabbit from Who Framed Roger Rabbit?The Show: Okay, it’s actually a movie, but it did come out in the 80’s. And when it did, it represented not just the pinnacle of sexy cartoon ladies, but their uncomfortable emergence into the world of actual eroticism. I’m pretty sure there were just as many dads sweating to frames of Jessica as there were kids wondering why they were no longer concerned about the dangers of cooties at all.
When not examining the details of his own perversions, Michael serves as head writer for and co-founder of Those Aren't Muskets!