To the Fictional Ladies I Called Cool When I Meant Girl Crush
Oh so THAT'S why I wrote your name in my notebook with a heart
I grew up watching a lot of cool women, y’all.
When it came to the cartoons I watched or the video games I played I immediately gravitated toward women. I spent years telling myself that it was because they were cool, and well, they were, but hindsight is a real “you like girls, sweetie,” so I’m fairly certain I was harboring some major girl crushes in my preteen/high school days.
And considering the characters in this list I’m putting together, I think my younger self, unconsciously, had some primo tastes in her girl crushes. This list isn’t in any particular order, I had enough room in my heart for everyone, so please enjoy some cool girls (but also my adolescent “I won’t say it’s love but it is” picks).
- Chun-Li and Cammy – Street Fighter
A crush that stands the test of time, these two ladies have been such a big part of my love for fighting games. I spent so much time playing Street Fighter II, and when Super was released and introduced Cammy, I would go between her and Chun-Li, determined to master each woman so I could decimate my opponents.
Like um, damn. Yes ma’am.
- Jessica Rabbit – Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
I feel like this doesn’t need any explanation.
Honestly, though? I’ve always kinda thought it was adorable that she liked Roger because he could make her laugh.
- Cheetara – Thundercats
These few seconds of animation in the opening continue to live rent-free in my head. The opening already pumped my child self up, then suddenly there was this lightning-fast, hair-spotted woman with a bo staff.
No further questions, your honor.
- Storm and Rogue – X-Men
To this day, whenever someone mentions Storm, this is the exact image that springs to mind. The transformation. The power. Hell, I still remember this woman’s VOICE and how dignified she sounded every time she spoke.
I’ve often credited this scene as the moment when I realized that Black women could be heroes, too, but you know what? This Storm? Could’ve made a dramatic speech about my trapper keeper and I would’ve listened to every word.
Then there’s, happy sigh, ROGUE!
Speaking of the 90s animated X-Men, lord did I love me some Rogue and all of her southern charm. Also, I have great respect for a woman who could benchpress my entire pink bedroom with her index finger.
- Sailor Mars – Sailor Moon
Over time I’d come to love the entire team, but right off the bat Sailor Mars was the one who did it for me. The dark hair. The red heels. The fire. She also felt so mature to me, back in the day, and despite the number of times she bickered with Usagi/Serena, she clearly cared a great deal for her and the rest of the team.
Also. Like. This girl CHEERFULLY ran off to fight a battle that she knew she was gonna lose to make sure Sailor Moon could move forward to fight Queen Beryl. I still think about that today.
- Lola Bunny – Space Jam
Lola was introduced in peak “I’m always rooting for the girl” years for me. If it was a form of media that I liked that had mostly men in it, my eyes went straight to the girl. Lola was legitimately cool to me, able to play as well as the boys (or better) while bringing this “don’t ever call me doll” narrative.
I was destined to love her from the start.
- Max – Batman Beyond
I’m not gonna lie to y’all. The Black girl rocking the pink hair did it for me. Oh, and she was voiced by Cree Summer?
That’s all she wrote.
(Also Max ended up helping Terry tremendously throughout the series, which I also liked, I’m just saying that as soon as I saw her on-screen I was hooked)
- Roxanne – A Goofy Movie
I get it, Max.
I really do.
I’d put on an elaborate concert on the last day of school, too.
- Gadget – Chip ‘n Dale’s Rescue Rangers
Not only was Gadget a cutie, but she was a quirky, easily excitable inventor who spoke to my nerd girl heart. Sure, not all of her gadgets (har har) work, but she keeps trying, and she takes pride in what she does. An easy addition to my beaten-up Mead Composition Notebook of girl crushes.
- Princess Jasmine – Aladdin
I was a fan of many of the Disney princesses and their stories, but Jasmine was the first one I remember liking A LOT. On top of that, she snuck out of the palace, ran through the streets with Aladdin, and told her father (and everyone else) off. That was a big deal to my 9-year-old self.
- Sonic SatAM Girls
Listen. I’m still mad they aren’t in the video games. I waited for so long for them to make an appearance before I realized, oh, they’re just in this ONE animated series and the comics. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but since I played so many Sonic games I wanted them to be added to the roster.
- So many animated DC women
They knew what they were doing when they drew these women.
And there are so many to choose from.
And so many of them were likable, whether they were villainesses, heroines, or… whatever Catwoman decided to be that day.
Then Justice League happened and … aaaaah.
- Mortal Kombat ladies
This is the fighting game franchise that keeps blessing us with amazing women. I’ve really spent decades being in love with so many of the female characters, watching them go from 2D animated sprites with text-based backstories to this:
Being a fan of kombat is the best.
- Android 18 – Dragon Ball Z
She beat Vegeta.
There aren’t many female fighters in the Dragon Ball Z universe. Chi-Chi can fight but we don’t see much of it, and Bulma is a tech genius who will slap a bitch, but as far as full-on battles? Not many ladies do that.
Then Android 18 came around.
And I know she was a villain when she showed up, but…
- Mai Shiranui – Fatal Fury
Specifically, Mai from the Fatal Fury OVAs, which was the first time I saw her. I still adore her transformation sequence (and how it had to be censored when it aired on TV) and her unapologetic flirtiness toward Andy.
No one’s as cute as Andy.
- Ryoko – Tenchi Muyo!
I’m not the biggest fan of Tenchi Muyo! as a series, but I ADORED the first OVA, which is how I met the cast and, more importantly, the space pirate Ryoko.
And that’s it! Are any of the ladies on this list responsible for a childhood (or present day, let’s be honest) girl crush? Whose last name did you add to your name along with a bunch of multi-colored hearts? And, more importantly, who was the, quote, “cool” character in your life when you actually meant crush?
(Image: Disney/DC/Netherrealm Studios/Capcom)
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