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Eight Lesbian Cartoons You Grew Up With (but never realized)

A glass door closet if there ever was one

I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling like there weren’t very many queer role models when we were growing up–at least, not very many obvious ones.  Many of my contemporaries would recall feeling as children that there was no one in the world who looked like them, or expressed themselves the way they did.  Now, as an adult,  I cannot help but raise an eyebrow as I ponder the odd behavior of a number of cartoon characters.  Now I realize I wasn’t so alone after all.  Obviously, it’s the guys who get outed the most–America loves a good gay scandal. But what about the ladies? In a completely arbitrary order here are eight lesbian cartoons I watched as kid.  Though some may surprise you, I actually expect a lot “ah, duhhhh” responses.  I guess I do tend to be the last to know…

Peppermint Patty and Marcie (Peanuts)

The classic lesbian pioneers if you will.  They deserve a better spot, were they not so overrated.  Honestly, I remember wondering whether Patty was actually a boy or a girl.  The flip flops, shorts, button up shirt, and crisp haircut all hint at the flannel and combat boots that are to come.  What’s that you say? She had a crush on “Chuck”? Get real.  Patty was into beating boys at sports, actually just plain dominating them and Charlie Brown was just the most submissive in the playground.  But Patty’s heart belonged to best gal pal Marcie, why else would the bespectacled girl refer to her master as “sir”?

Someone ask Snoopy for a leash.

Wilma Flintstone and Betty Rubble (The Flintstones)

Someone explain to me why these two knockout babes would marry two oafs with toes that resembled gourd potatoes?  Well, back in the stone age some things were still taboo (although the person who takes offense at the thought of these two getting it on is beyond me….).  So they did the next best thing, marry two guys who spend half their day at work and the other half with each other.  Wilma and Betty could spend their days in each other’s company, gossiping, exchanging recipes, complaining about the ineptitude of their husbands without raising any suspicion.

Pass the lipstick please.

Didi Pickles and Betty Deville (Rugrats)

Kids of the nineties remember this couple.  Actually they don’t, I mean who would have guessed, these two have nothing in common!  Bingo.  Strong, empowered Betty and meek, prissy Didi barely got along as friends, let alone secret lovers.  That’s exactly what they want you to think.  Fact, their husbands are shmucks, one is locked all day in the basement, the other in the kitchen.  Fact, their children have daily play dates, while their mothers are in the house, but nowhere to be seen.

How long can two women drink coffee?

Francine Frensky and Muffy Crosswire (Arthur)

So am I saying that just because two girls are best friends they have to be lesbians? Not necessarily, but our next couple does pile up the evidence…  Francine is as butch as they get; sports, drums, scraped knees, baggy jeans, you name it, and if you ask me, Francine is definitely into Muffy’s muffin.  Muffy is a different case, as girly as can be, this pillow princess hangs out with Frankie just to tick off daddy.  She’s totally straight, this is just a special friendship.

Who you think you’re fooling, Muffy?

Helga Pataki and Phoebe Heyerdahl (Hey Arnold!)

You got to be kidding right? Helga, who’s sole purpose in life is her love for Arnold? I don’t doubt Helga is obsessed with Arnold, but I also don’t doubt that her feelings are very much unrequited.  What is a lovesick unibrowed tomboy to do but find comfort in her steadfast best friend: quiet, bookish Phoebe. She listens to Helga’s rants, she puts up with her tantrums, she dries her tears with gentle hands.  And she asks for nothing in return.  Helga might just be frustrated, but Phoebe is definitely in love.

Buttercup (The Powerpuff Girls)

Well, Duh.  This chick’s tough, easily the strongest of her sisters.  She wants not to kiss boys but beat them up.  And she’s angry, really angry.   Maybe she just hasn’t found the right guy?

Try saying that to her face and see what happens…

Velma Dinkley (Scooby Doo)

Doesn’t she kind of look like Marcie? Is it the thick glasses? The ‘unique’ fashion’ sense? The unfortunate haircut? The fact that she is strong enough to carry three adults and a great dane on her shoulders? Not really.  The real evidence has flaming red hair and is so hot, most of us still have an embarrassing crush on her: Daphne Blake.  Why else would a human computer hang around 3 idiots and a mangy dog but for the opportunity to look for her glasses under a babe’s skirts?  Scooby Doo’s mysteries were the stage for one of the most uncomfortable love triangles on television.  Velma had eyes only for Daphne, Daphne had eyes only for Fred and Fred had eyes for no one but himself.

whoever said orange was the new pink was seriously Velma.

Sandy Cheeks (Spongebob Squarepants)

It’s all right if you didn’t notice, what with Spongebob and Patrick holding hands and skipping around and all.  But level-headed Sandy is pretty out there too; and she makes a good role model.  The strongest, smartest and furriest critter in Bikini Bottom, Sandy is into contact sports, marine biology and bull riding.

Plus I’m not really sure she is aware Spongebob is a boy.

16 Comments

  1. sally says

    There NOT lesbians, this is a classic case of sexism girls can be tough too!

  2. Knock off the phony feminist outrage. There’s nothing sexist about this. Chill out and shave your legs!

  3. I mean, I guess it would be cool to find lesbians in our old kid’s shows but in these cases I feel like this list is nothing but hopeful ships. Like in the case of the first one, perhaps Party’s a transgender kid? That’s what I thought, anyways. Buttercup’s a tomboy, and I have had my suspicions that Betty was either a lesbian who fell in love with a man or a bisexual with a huge preference for women. Either way I can’t say I agree with the Rugrats or Flintstones ships but I do appreciate the effort you put in the list.

  4. Jazz says

    What a pile of crap. NONE of these women were lesbians! Just because some of them were close friends, doesn’t make them lesbians off the bat. Just because some of them were tough gals, doesn’t make them lesbians either! I’m a tomboy and am pretty aggressive, but that doesn’t make me a lesbian!

    Whoever wrote this list is an idiot.

    • Patrick Vickson says

      I agree. Women can be tough without being perceived as a lesbian or without being one. About a quarter way down I started to realize how bogus this list is.

    • Meagan says

      save for the married ladies on here u have absolutely no reason to think any of these chicks AREN’T gay. us homos make up around 10% of the population so it’s more likely than not that there are at least a few gay characters. don’t worry, 90% of the population is still hetero no need to try and force your straight agenda on everyone. i think what u meant is that YOU don’t want these people to be gay.

      • Where did you get those figures from? (10% is gay. 90% is hetero)… What about bisexuals?

  5. Knees says

    lmfao @ all the homophobes in the comments. please kill yourselves.

    • Patrick Vickson says

      Umm, it’s not about being a homphobe. It’s about setting the record straight. None of those characters are lesbians. Plain and simple. And if that sounds homophobic to you then I just don’t know what to say. And it’s not homophobic to be a straight person and not want people to percieve you as gay. I am staright and I would not want people to percieve me as gay. Women can do things outside of their stereotypical gender roles and not be gay. That’s the only point we are making. Hope this helps?

      • Meagan says

        yes it is homophobic. on these given shows do they ever say EXPLICITLY that any of these characters don’t like women? no. so why would you say “none of these characters are lesbians”. i’m a lesbian but i don’t walk around wearing a big sign, and i look “straight”, but im a big old homo rest assured. you can’t just assume everybody is straight, that is called heteronormativity and it really sucks turning on the tv and not seeing anyone u can relate to on that level. cuz seriously, a lot more of the population is part of the LGBTQ community than u think. there are enough straight characters to go around, like almost all of them. why can’t there be any lesbians? yes there are plenty of women who are “tomboys” who aren’t gay but honestly there’s many more tomboys who are gay so what is your point exactly? also velma is confirmed gay by james gunn so what’s really good?

  6. Meagan says

    ok i know i’ve commented twice already on this post that’s months old but it makes me really sad to see all you people saying there’s no way any of these characters can be gay. really there’s no way? really? do the math, statistically speaking these characters are perfectly likely to be queer. even on shows where the characters are *confirmed* as liking women, i’ll see in comment sections there are sooo many people who will say they aren’t actually into women or that it doesn’t make sense. most people don’t want to think of themselves as being homophobic, but that’s exactly what yall are being. not everyone is just like you sweeties. also again velma is confirmed gay by james gunn the screenplay writer so suck on that straights

  7. they could probably be lesbian characters, but the reasons that the writer is listing to say so are extremely sexist and anti-feminist. For example,
    when she described buttercup she said, ”this chicks tough, easily the strongest of her sisters” she is portraying the idea that a women can only be a strong female character IF she is a lesbian. You should not determine a characters sexuality based on stereotypical gender roles. I could be a tomboy that is straight, as there is plenty of chance for a lesbian to be into more girly things. We should allow all women to be badass on the screen, and not rapidly determine they are either lesbian or straight.

  8. Chris says

    I think that, while it would be cool if some of these characters were gay, they probably aren’t.

    The important thing to remember here is that a lot of these shows (Flinstones, Scooby Doo, Peanuts, etc) were written during a time when being gay was extremely taboo. These characters are just that, characters, not real people. I highly doubt that they were written as gay originally just considering the time period and intended audience.

    I suppose contemporary writers could write them as gay, but I doubt any of them were originally intended to actually be gay sad to say.

    But who knows, maybe I’m wrong.

  9. sarah says

    Buttercup is 5. Of course she hates boys. My sister is a tomboy but she’s obsessed with guys. This is sexist. Ship characters if you want but it doesn’t make them lesbians.

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