Friday, April 29, 2011

What 80s and 90s Cartoons Taught Us About Nerdy Girls

Ok so I was doing a little research for fun. I thought it would be funny to point out some of the stereotypes of the smart female characters of the 80s and 90s...the fact that I actually grew up on these characters makes me sad. Most of the characters have large glasses, are shy, klutzy, desperate for love...and even at one time a man and no one seemed to notice their huge transformation? I know...right? Some of them have their better qualities sometimes I mean they're all quite smart or at least leave something to the imagination with their ensembles. Oh I also noticed that a vast majority of them either wear blue or purple or even have blue hair. Coincidence? Probably not, it's most likely just the characters I chose. Anyways here's a few pix of the characters with little write ups about them*:

Shy Violet from Strawberry Shortcake:

"Shy Violet is a studious little girl with the mind of a genius. She wears great big glasses and looks just as intelligent as she is. Most of the time, Violet can be found reading or writing or working on her theories about color. She is Rainbow Brite's problem-solver and can always be counted upon for quick answers to difficult questions. Though Violet is very shy, she never hesitates to speak up to offer advice. And when she speaks, everybody listens because she's always right! Hers is the color of wisdom and enlightenment, so when she's not busy offering advice, she's managing the work of the violet Sprites, supplying violet colors to our world." ~Quote brought to you by:

Plum Pudding from Rainbow Brite:

This one shocked me a bit too, but I also find it somewhat amusing: "The last of Strawberry Shortcake's original 1980s friends, Plum Puddin' was the bespectacled genius of the group. A surprisingly non-token second male character in Strawberry's early adventures, Plum Puddin' vanished from Strawberryland in 1982, only to return to the series in 1984 as a brainy female. Strawberry Shortcake seemed not to notice. Plum remained Strawberry Shortcake's scientific advisor through the franchise's disbanding in 1985."~Quote courtesy of:

Jeanette from Alvin and the Chipmunks:

Now I dunno about you but I watched a lot of the Chipmunks as a kid, it just always seemed to be on. I noticed later on that Jeanette slightly resembled Irma from Ninja Turtles. Anyway, here's another quote from Wickipedia: "Jeanette Miller is the tallest of the Chipettes. She is the female counterpart of Simon. She is the middle sister of the Chipettes. Jeanette has a high amount of intellect which she is often not afraid to use, and is considered the lovable klutz of the Chipettes. Her klutzy personality is shown in her outfits, and is often seen with her shoelaces untied, a strap on her dress shoulder crooked, etc.. She wears glasses due to extremely poor eyesight. Jeanette has brown hair in a bun, green eyes, and her signature colors are royal blue and purple. In the 2009 film, Jeanette is voiced by Anna Faris.~

Irma from Ninja Turtles:

Is it me or is there a striking resemblance between Jeanette? It's uncanny! "Irma Langinstein is the bespectacled, dorky best friend, and colleague of April O'Neil at Channel Six, where she serves as Burne Thompson's secretary in the 1987 series and Archie Comics." ~

Janine from The Real Ghostbusters:

"Janine's character was changed at the suggestion of consultants, who said that they wanted to change the shape of Janine's glasses (which they thought would frighten children), and change her from a feisty character to the "mother" of the Ghostbusters group as they felt she was "too abrasive". Additionally, the Brooklyn accent was discarded with a change in voice actresses. This, among other reasons, was why writer J. Michael Straczynski left The Real Ghostbusters." Quote found and additional info about this can be found at:

Ami Mizuno/Sailor Mercury from Sailor Moon:

"A quiet, fourteen-year-old bookworm in Usagi's class. Highly intelligent with a rumored IQ of 300, she can transform into Sailor Mercury, Soldier of Water and Wisdom. Ami's shy exterior masks a passion for knowledge and for taking care of the people around her. She hopes to become a doctor one day, like her mother, and tends to be the practical one in the group. Secretly, she is also a fan of pop culture and romance novels, and becomes embarrassed whenever this is pointed out. Ami would also be considered the "tech girl" of the group, Utilizing her mini data computer, which is capable of scanning and detecting virtually anything she needs." ~More info as well as this can be found at:

So what have we learned here today? I personally have learned that smart girls (at least in cartoon land) are often reserved and shy, with head buried in a book while toting laptops and wearing their hair either really short or in a convenient ponytail.

*Note: Most of these characters are obviously from girly cartoons or shows that drew an equal male/female audience...with possibly the exception of The Real Ghostbusters and Ninja Turtles.