Who are the best female cartoon characters of the 90’s? It’s a tough question, I know, but one that’s a lot of fun to take on. From villainesses to superheroes and some of the cutest cartoon characters of all time, this list is a colorful mix of many of the female stars from some of our favorite 90’s animated series. So get ready to take a trip back to the decade of girl power with these great cartoons:
Dot from ‘Animaniacs’ – Definitely one of the cutest female cartoon characters of all time, Dot always managed to amaze us with classic good looks, her ability to put up with her nurse-ogling brothers, and that mysterious pet of hers. Plus you’ve got to love her real name: Princess Angelina Contessa Louisa Francesca Banana Fanna Bo Besca the Third.
Minerva Mink from ‘Animaniacs’ – And here’s one of the best female cartoon characters of the 90’s who may have been a bit too hot for TV, as the mink version of Jessica Rabbit made her fair share of anthropomorphic woodland critters melt. She didn’t have much screen time on the show, but she makes the list thanks to her bizarrely out-of-place, sexually-charged skits.
Hello Nurse from ‘Animaniacs’ – Well, here’s one more from ‘Animaniacs’; I just couldn’t resist putting the object of Wakko and Yakko’s affection on this list. She may be little more than a running gag on the show, but she can’t help it; she’s just drawn that way.
Sandy Cheeks from ‘Spongebob Squarepants’ – Sandy Cheeks definitely ain’t no girly-girl; she’s a tough Texan and proud of it. What makes her one of the best female cartoon characters from one of the best animated series born in the 90’s is that she’s strong, smart, and a super friend. She can hog-tie giant sea worms, build a rocket ship, and manage to save Spongebob and Patrick from themselves on a day-to-day basis (plus her Tree Dome home is pretty awesome).
Rogue from ‘X-Men’ – As a girl growing up in the 90’s, I wasn’t too into all the superhero-themed animated series until I started watching one of my brother’s favorite shows. I immediately fell in love with one of the best female cartoon characters of the 90’s, a sweet, upbeat mutant with a Southern accent and a superpower that made relationships all but impossible. She was one of the female characters from the show with the most personality, and it’s a real shame we don’t see more superhero cartoon characters like her in animated series.
Leela from ‘Futurama’ – Here’s another of the best female cartoon characters of the 90’s that’s a mutant. Unfortunately, all Leela got from being born as a mutant was one large Cyclops-style eyeball instead of superpowers. But that hasn’t stopped his purple-haired tough gal from kicking butt. And so for being the smartest, sexiest (sorry, Amy) and strongest member of the Planet Express crew, she’s our favorite female character from the future (and it’s super-exciting that we’ll get to see more of her when one of the best animated series of the 90’s returns on Comedy Central!).
Lois Griffin from ‘Family Guy’ – This saucy redhead is one of the best female cartoon characters of the 90’s starring in one of the funniest animated series of the decade, impressing us all with her amazing ability to put up with her manchild of a husband’s selfish and destructive antics. She may seem like your typical housewife, but Lois definitely has a colorful past (which includes drug use and dating rock stars), and sometimes her wild side still comes out (she’s become a kleptomaniac, made out with daughter Meg’s boyfriend, and had a short-lived affair with Bill Clinton, for example). So for being the only woman on the planet that could put up with Peter and still manage to enjoy life, Lois is definitely one of the best female cartoon characters of the 90’s.
Miss Frizzle from ‘The Magic School Bus’ – So what makes a teacher one of the best female cartoon characters of the 90’s? This one really does know how to make learning fun! With the help of her magic school bus, Miss Frizzle took her lucky class (who were way too whiny, for the most part) on amazing adventures through space, the human body, and more. Plus the quirky teacher, while sometimes putting her students’ lives in danger, never gave anyone detention or slapped them with rulers. Could a teacher be any cooler?
Babs Bunny from ‘Tiny Toon Adventures’ – What makes Babs one of the best female cartoon characters of the 90’s is her amazing ability to do impressions of female icons like Joan Rivers, Cher, and, well, the other Babs. Plus her constant clowning around is a great contrast to Buster Bunny (no relation), the cooler straight man of the two. Oh yeah, she’s also pink, which definitely appealed to my 9-year-old self.
Elmyra from ‘Tiny Toon Adventures’ – Babs may be able to fool us with her impersonations, but she’s still got to watch out for this animal lover with a killer vice-grip of a hug. Elmyra wears a cryptic little skull in her hair bow, a warning to all unsuspecting cute critters that cross her path. But while she’s dangerous, she’s also rather dumb, so at least she’s not too big of a threat.
Helga from ‘Hey Arnold!’ – She’s definitely one of the strangest female cartoon characters of the 90’s with her unibrow and chewing-gum statute of her crush, easygoing Arnold, hidden in her closet, but there’s still something likable about this blonde bully. Sure Helga can be crude and rude, but that might just have something to do with having a too-perfect older sister. But being flawed (while seeming to be good deep-down) helps make her one of the best female cartoon characters of the 90’s.
Martha Generic from ‘Bobby’s World’ – Bobby’s mom is definitely one of the most unforgettable female cartoon characters of the 90’s thanks to her heavy North Central American accent that she constantly punctuated with “gee golly” and “don’t cha know”. In fact, the first time I heard Sarah Palin speak, I immediately thought of Bobby’s mom. So while this was one of the 90’s animated series that tortured me (since it came on before I went to school), Bobby’s mom is definitely one of the most memorable female cartoon characters of the 90’s.
Harley Quinn from ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ – You’ve got to love this coo-coo cutie’s love for her Mr. J, as well as that creative harlequin costume and abrasive accent. She may just be an abused sidekick, but Harley Quinn always managed to steal the show in any episode she was in.
Poison Ivy from ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ – Harley Quinn and this venomous vixen have teamed up in the past on one of my favorite animated series of the 90’s in what has to be my favorite episode. You’ve got to love her passion for saving plants, even if she does take it too far sometimes, and it’s a real shame she and Harley haven’t earned their own show.
Catwoman from ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ – As one of Batman’s love interests, this cat burglar could easily steal a man’s heart, whether she’s dressed in her catsuit or as the lovely Selina Kyle. Either way, she’s graceful, clever, and a bit playful, with moves and mannerisms that definitely mimic those of a cat. Plus you’ve got to lover her for being an avid animal rights activist, a trait that makes her one of the best female cartoon characters of the 90’s in my book.
Bubbles from ‘The Powerpuff Girls’ – Blossom may have been the leader and Buttercup was tough, but I always preferred the cutest (and sweetest!) of the trio of kindergarten superheroes, thanks to her love of all things girly and cute, including unicorns and cute animals (which she can communicate with). She may be the “baby” of the group, but she’s also the most loving and caring, which makes her one of the best female cartoon characters of the 90’s (plus she stills knows how to fight when she needs to).
Angelica from ‘Rugrats’ – As a spoiled brat always picking on babies, Angelica was definitely one of the best female cartoon characters of the 90’s when it came to villains, and ‘Rugrats’ was definitely one of my favorite animated series. Spoiled Angelica torments her baby cousins to no end, lying to them, playing tricks on them, and constantly referring to them as dumb. As spoiled as she is (she gets almost every toy she wants), her Barbie-style doll that’s missing most of its hair seems to be her favorite companion. But it’s hard to completely hate Angelica; she will defends the babies every now and then (namely when a new bully steps in to try and take her place), and her behavior could be partly to blame on a doting daddy and a mom who talks to her cell phone more than her daughter. But it’s still her bad behavior that makes her one of the best female cartoon characters of the 90’s.
Raven from ‘Teen Titans’ – And here’s one of the best goth female cartoon characters of the 90’s, a meditating superhero with the power of telekinesis and awesome blue-violet hair. She’s secretive, studies spells and the occult, has an incredible array of mystical superpowers. She definitely stands out on one of the best animated TV series of the 90’s, and it’s always nice to see a different kind of female superhero save the day.
Daria from ‘Daria’ – With her sardonic, monotone voice and high I.Q., Daria was one of the strongest female cartoon characters of the 90’s. Her big glasses and clunky boots were far from stylish, making it seem as if she had “nerd” written all over her, but she never let her air-headed classmates get her down. She said the things that the non-shallow of us that didn’t fit in during high school always wanted to say, and for that she’s not just one of the most admired female cartoon characters of the 90’s; her animated TV series is one of the best of all time.
Peggy Hill from ‘King of the Hill’ – Peggy may not be perfect, but you can’t help but love her. This substitute teacher is proud of her skills when it comes to speaking Espanol, even if she doesn’t always know what she’s talking about, but she’s definitely an expert at Boggle. She’s got a bit of an ego; has a somewhat feminist side; and sometimes has a difficult time dealing with a husband that doesn’t do well with emotions or new ideas. She’s also opinionated and believes that she can accomplish almost anything she puts her mind to (which sometimes ends disastrously). However, she’s got one big weak spot: her big feet. Her know-it-all attitude may be a little annoying, but you’ve still got to admit this tenacious Texan is definitely one of the most colorful female cartoon characters of the 90’s.
American Maid from ‘The Tick’ – ‘The Tick’ is one of the animated series from the 90’s that I’d love to see make a comeback, thanks to incredible superhero spoofs like American Maid. She was actually the most talented superhero on the show, using her amazing acrobatic skills, stilettos, and tiara to take down bad guys. She was a combination of Wonder Woman and Captain America, but donned a maid costume covered in stars and stripes. American Maid also wasn’t the biggest fan of superhero Tick at first, thanks to his bumbling ways, but she did team up with him sometimes to help save the day. So for cleaning up crime better than boys, this star-spangled crimefighter definitely deserves a spot on this list of the best female cartoon characters of the 90’s.
Liane Cartman from ‘South Park’ – From the town’s tall tale that she was a hermaphrodite to her promiscuous behavior and spoiling of her little boy, Cartman’s mom is one of the female cartoon characters of the 90’s that’s hard to forget. ‘South Park’ is one of the animated TV series of the 90’s that didn’t have a lot of strong female characters, but Mrs. Cartman’s soothing, sweet voice and ability to put up with her son’s antics and demands without snapping made her stand out. She’s definitely not one of the best female role models here, but her character is still one of the most entertaining.
Gaia from ‘Captain Planet and the Planeteers’ – Forget Captain Planet and the Planeteers from all over the globe; I was always more intrigued by beautiful spirit of the Earth Gaia. She was like some mysterious and beautiful goddess who would only occasionally appear on the show, a spirit that the Planeteers had to help keep alive by keeping the Earth healthy. So for her all-important role in saving our planet, Gaia is one of the most important female cartoon characters of the 90’s.
Lisa Simpson from ‘The Simpsons’ – While ‘The Simpsons’ technically started at the end of the 80’s, it was so close to the beginning of the 90’s that I had to include one of the best female cartoon characters gracing the small screen from that era. Luckily for us, smarty-pants Lisa continues to be one of the most intelligent female cartoon characters on TV, refusing to compromise her beliefs and working hard as the member of the Simpsons family most likely to succeed. Throughout the years she’s renounced Christianity; explored Buddhism; and become a vegetarian and fought for animals’ rights. In short, there just aren’t any other female cartoon characters on TV like her (although there definitely needs to be!).
Dee Dee from ‘Dexter’s Laboratory’ – Dee Dee is one of the best female cartoon characters of the 90’s because she so perfectly portrays the typical sister stereotype: hyperactive, curious, and destructive. Her love of all things whimsical, magical and pink clashes with her brother’s analytical personality and love of science, and her interest in his secret experiments almost always spells disaster for the budding scientist. She may not be the smartest of the female cartoon characters of the 90’s, but at least she knows how to have fun.
So from good girls to bad girls to everywhere in between, it’s a shame that most of the best female cartoon characters of the 90’s have ended their reigns as colorful queens of the small screen.