Classic 80s Girl Cartoons: That’s What She Watched

Many of the most popular cartoons of all time were built for a general kid audience — think Scooby-Doo and Smurfs, for example. But some shows targeting a particular demographic took on a life of their own despite a seemingly smaller audience base. These classic 80s girl cartoons fit that bill because, though they have a feminine bent, they’re completely unforgettable … no matter who you are!

* My Little Pony: This show has enjoyed tremendous success across generations with both girls and boys. It features six ponies that each have different personalities, which makes for some interesting storylines and adventures. The show ran from 1983 to 1986 with the original voice cast of Tara Strong as Twilight Sparkle, Nicole Oliver as Princess Celestia, Claire Corlett as Sweetie Belle, Madeleine Peters (Pinky Pie), Andrea Libman (Applejack), and Tabitha St. Germain (Rarity).

* Rainbow Brite: This show ran from 1984 to 1989 with the voice cast of Bridgit Mendler as Wisp, Tara Strong as Twink, Evan Rachel Wood as Sprite and Darlene Vogelmann (Rainbow Brite) who also played Stormy, Tinky Winkle, Sparky, Kitten and Zippy.

* Strawberry Shortcake: This show ran from 1985 to 1989 with the voice cast of Madeline Queripel as Berrykin Bloom (Strawberry Shortcake), Tara Strong as Pupcake (Penny) and Claire Corlett who played mischievous Lemon Meringue.

*It’s Punky Brewster

This show ran from 1984 to 1986 with the voice cast of Soleil Moon Frye as Punky Brewster, Danna McGovern as Janie and Judy Strangis (Willow) as Vicky. In this show, Punky was an orphan who ran away from a bad foster home and was adopted by a widower named Henry.

One character who is new to the cartoon and wasn’t in the original Punky Brewster series is Glomer, who brings magical powers from the other end of the rainbow (yeah, I know, but it was the eighties).

*The Care Bears: The original voices were Cathy Cavadini as Cheer Bear, Freda Thornton-Webb (Daffney from Jem) as Grumpy Bear, the late Pat Parris (Mrs. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus) as Wish Bear and Laurie O’Brien-Moore (Sally in Scooby Doo).

The Care Bears were responsible for spreading bright feelings to children who had been bullied or felt sad.

*Muppet Babies

The Muppet Babies were — you guessed it — the baby versions of Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and all their friends. Set in the babies’ nursery, the show was intended to provide a safe space for young viewers, and the format has since been replicated in shows like Baby Looney Tunes.

Each episode saw the babies embark on an adventure of their own imagining, but always ending up safe at home where they started … without ever having actually left.

Truth be told, plenty of boys loved this show, too!


She-Ra was a spin-off of He-Man. This show starred She-Ra, Princess Adora to Eternia’s King Randor (and later Prince Adam), as she left for Etheria to fight Hordak and his evil Horde.

The protagonist had her Sword of Protection, her horse Spirit, and an assortment of powers to help vanquish the forces from Etheria.

This show was something girls could watch that wasn’t just about fashion or make-ups!

*Jem and the Holograms

In this show, Jem (Jerrica Benton) is a young rock star who leads her band The Holograms. They have to balance their own career with managing Jerrica’s business … and all the drama that comes from being in such close quarters.

This was an empowering show for girls because it showed how hard it is to balance having a career and being in an all-female band.


MoonDreamers was a show about a group of kids who get transported to the Dream Realm and have adventures there.

It ran from 1985-1987, was an animated series with live action elements, and lasted for 39 episodes! It featured some pretty cool fashion–especially when it came time for battle (or “Dreaming,” as they called it).

*Maxie’s World

Maxie’s World is about a high school girl who is both a straight-A student and the host of her own talk show focused on investigative reporting — yes, it’s called “Maxie’s World.”

(Like 80s Girl Cartoons? Then you might like our Female Cartoon Characters from the 70s, click here. Or how about 80s Boy Cartoons, click here.)

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