If you’re looking for some tough heroes in female-led cartoons, look no further!
After reading our take on the top ten best female-led cartoons, you’ll be chanting right along with us! Across multiple networks and spanning many genres and decades, we’ve rounded up the most empowering female cartoon icons heading up their own shows! Bonus thumbs up to an extraordinary young woman with some seriously spiky hair — we love us some Lisa Simpson, of course, but since she isn’t the lead on her show, we couldn’t give her her own entry. Read on to be inspired and motivated by these strong and successful cartoon figures!
Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup; Powerpuff Girls
Initially entitled Whoopa** Girls, Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup put the POW in Powerpuff Girls (we can see why they changed the name)! These three little ladies might only be in kindergarten, but they take on their city’s villains with a lot of courage and heart. Professor Utonium’s attempt at creating the perfect little girl resulted in the creation of three tough -yet tender- superheroes thanks to Chemical X and of course, a combination of sugar, spice, and everything nice. We watched the girls take on giant monsters, and sometimes each other, for six seasons, (not to mention the reboot) and we’ll watch them into rerun perpetuity!
Elena; Elena of Avalor
What’s better than being a teen princess? Being the princess of a magical kingdom! In Disney’s Elena of Avalor, the title character, a Latina princess, not only saves her kingdom, she is on a mission to rule as a fair and compassionate monarch. She’s a role model we can all look up to! She’s not perfect, she has trouble taking advice, but she’s always striving to be better. Luckily, the Crown Princess of Avalor has the support of the Grand Council to guide her decision making. In her imperfectness, Elena is perfect!
Doc McStuffins; Doc McStuffins: Toy Hospital
The Doc is in, and she’ll fix you up! If you’re into medical procedurals and strong female characters, you’re in luck. Doc McStuffins might be a toy doctor, but her infectious sweet personality will appeal to parents too! Together with her toy besties brought to life by a magical stethoscope, this young African-American doctor makes injured and sick toys all better again. With a little help from The Big Book of Boo Boos, our favorite compassionate doctor tends to toys and toy animals alike, and we’re thankful she graced our TV screens for five seasons. Thanks, Doc!
Kim Possible; Kim Possible
So, what’s the sitch? Well, it’s just Kim Possible, an awesome butt-kicking American teenager, saving the day again! With her awkward bestie Ron and his naked pet mole rat, and techie friend Wade, they take on evil villains AND your standard adolescent troubles. Disney knocked it out of the park with this girl-led crime-fighting drama. Kim is cool and tough, and we’re here for it. We’re definitely Team Possible! Go, Kim!
Star; Star vs. the Forces of Evil
It’s gonna get a little weird, gonna get a little wild– if you watch this show! Star’s not from around here; in fact, she’s from another dimension! Star has two times the girl power in her show. For one, this magical girl is trying to right wrongs across our (and her) dimension — and learning to stand up for anyone in need, even if they are not at all like her. Also, the show is the first on Disney XD that was written and directed by a woman! It’s definitely weird and definitely wild, and she’s not perfect– but she does her best as she learns to be the queen of her home dimension. The best news of all? It’s still airing, so you can get your fix on Disney XD!
Daria Morgendorffer; Daria
Daria might be a cartoon, but she was never intended for children. Originally appearing on Beavis and Butthead, she earned her own spin-off thanks to her sharp personality. Armed with neither superpowers nor magic, Daria Morgendorffer is an American high school student just trying to get through daily suburban life in Lawndale. As a smart female character, she strongly appealed to MTV’s female demographic. Daria actually became so popular she spawned two TV movies and TV specials. The iconic late 90’s/early ‘00’s series may have ended with the movie Is It College Yet? but we have our fingers crossed for a reboot with an adult Daria!
Miss Frizzle; Magic School Bus
Valerie Frizzle, aka Miss Frizzle, aka The Frizz, is probably the world’s greatest third-grade teacher — ever! Not only is she extremely good-natured, but she also takes her students on unparalleled field trips aboard a magic school bus they will never forget. Miss Frizzle wears her lesson plan theme on her sleeve – literally! Her wacky and colorful outfits always display the episode’s theme in fun bright colors. The Frizz takes charge of her classroom and our imagination. WAHOOOO!
She-Ra; She-Ra: Princess of Power
Created way back in 1985, Princess Adora has been Queen of our hearts ever since. More than just the long lost twin sister of He-Man, She-Ra is a complete character on her own! Kidnapped as a baby by the evil Horde, she is trained in battle and has excellent combat skills. Despite her rough beginnings, She-Ra uses her extreme strength and speed to defend her kingdom against evil. Not all brute force, she also has a nurturing side and can telepathically communicate with animals. She-Ra also has a totally rad talking unicorn to ride! Despite her superhuman strength and skill, she only enters into battle as a last resort. She-Ra is so awesome, in fact, she’s coming back in a rebooted series on Netflix to empower a new generation of women!
Jem; Jem and the Holograms
Fans of the ‘80’s cartoon may also know Jem as her secret identity, Jerrica Benton, but we all know her as awesomely amazing! By day she’s the owner/manager of Starlight Music, but at night, with the help of a computer named Synergy, she transforms into the ultimate rock star: Jem! Although she technically doesn’t have magical powers, her holograph projector earrings protect her secret identity. Jem “battles” it out with two rival bands — but this wholesome show is more drama than combat.
Eliza Thornberry; The Wild Thornberrys
This is Eliza Thornberry, part of your (not so) average family. She has a dad, a mom, and a sister. And between you and us, she’s the best! Endowed with the ability to secretly communicate with animals, she travels around the world with her family filming a nature show. This curious young woman makes friends with wild animals and learns valuable life lessons along the way. She might only be ten years old, but she’s got a big, big, big heart for helping animals and an unquenchable thirst for adventure. Younguns’ (and the young at heart) will be inspired by these fabulous ladies to live our best lives!