TV Shows From Your Childhood You Didn’t Realize Were Empowering

From one betch to all the betches out there, happy International Women’s Day! May we take no sh*t from men neither today nor any day! According to the UN, “International Women’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic, or political.” So basically, it is a day that women are actually acknowledged for being badass bosses, regardless of extenuating traits like race or politics. Recognition of women’s existence and achievements seems like it should be an everyday thing, but whatever, I’m not here to complain. On the contrary, I’m about to make y’all really happy with some flashback Friday feminist empowerment from our favorite television shows circa the ’90s and early 2000s.

That’s right, some of our favorite childhood shows made a legit and impactful effort to instill feminism in our young and impressionable minds so that we would be prepared to enter young adulthood with the betchy confidence of Angelica Pickles circa the early years. Let’s get to it.


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Happy International Women’s Day. ? May we lift each other up and champion one another. I love being a woman and I love you all. ?

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I’m going to start with Rugrats because it is the freshest in my memory. A few weeks ago, my roommate and I were watching that Friends episode guest starring Elizabeth Daily, AKA the voice of Tommy Pickles. (For those of you who are wondering, her actual real life voice is the literal same as that of Tommy Pickles.) So, like any sober 25-year-olds, we got nostalgic and wanted to relive the joy of a Rugrats episode, but because cartoon quality has gotten significantly more legit since the ’90s, Rugrats no longer graces our television screens via cable. It is, however, on available for purchase. So without hesitation, we threw our hard-earned dolla dolla bills at the entire first season of this show, and literally watched the entire thing within a week. I am not impressed with us, but I am impressed with the astute level of feminism in this gift to humanity.

For those of you who may have forgotten, Angelica is low-key the star of the show because she was bossy as hell, and I am here for it! How could she not be when her boss bitch mom actually uttered the words, “Angelica will make it in a male-dominated power structure.” Um, YES. Let’s not forget about DiDi Pickles, who was the glue that held her weird little fam together. Let’s face it, her hubs was a toy inventor with the mental capacity of a stale cracker, and Tommy is a textbook case of ADHD’s early symptoms. She was progressive af and we aren’t mad about it. Betty Deville is another top contender for most feminist queen of Rugrats. She was always donning her athleisure because she gotta #werk, raise a family, and crush souls of judgmental trolls all day everyday. Last but not least, Charlotte Pickles, who was gloriously terrifying and got whatever the f*ck she wanted. This human form of a power stance knew how to command a room and didn’t have time to deal with your sh*t. Claps for you, Charlotte.

‘The Amanda Show’

The Amanda Show was SNL for ’90s babies. She was Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Maya Rudolph, Leslie Jones and Tina Fey all rolled into one sassy betch. Because Amanda played upwards of 800 different characters in countless sketches on this blessing of a television show (#MoodysPoint), I just don’t have the time to go into all of them, and I refuse to focus on only a few because they all deserve recognition. So instead, I’m going to focus on the show in general. The Amanda Show made humor accessible. I know what you’re thinking, “What?” But think about it, The Amanda Show was just an endless sea of hilarious jokes from a group of really attractive kids who were not afraid to don heinously ugly wigs, outfits, or fake teeth for a laugh. I feel pretty confident in myself, but idk if I could have thrown on a pair of fugly overalls, a bucket hat and dentures in front of a 1) live studio audience and 2) millions of viewers at home. Kudos to you, Amanda. We love you!

‘The Powerpuff Girls’

I watched this show a looong time ago, so I’m going to keep this brief. If there is another definition of girl power that isn’t “Sugar, spice, and everything nice,” I don’t want to hear it. These were the ingredients chosen to create the perfect little girls, but Professor Utonium accidentally added an extra ingredient to the concoction: chemical X. Thus, the Powerpuff Girls were born using their ultra-superpowers. Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup have dedicated their lives to fighting crime and the forces of evil, and I’m impressed. These sister were like, what, seven years old and fighting crime? I can’t even find a dude who washes his hair, and these girls were out here making the world a safer place. Good for them.

‘The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air’

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Each of the three main women in this amazing show were absolute queens in their own right, but I am just going to focus on one, the matriarch and feminist icon, the OG Vivian Banks. (Not her replacement who looked literally nothing like her in any way, and I need an explanation from the producers for this abomination). Anyway, Vivian 1.0 showed all of us plebeians how to rock a mint green power suit and raise a family, both of which are impressive. So in like, basically every episode, Aunt Viv stood up to sexism, ageism, racism and a slew of other -isms, because she’s a hero who’s too stylish to wear a cape. Her education about cultural references was truly unparalleled. Let’s not forget her absolutely schooling Will when he acted like he was an expert in black history because he read Malcolm X’s autobiography. The exact quote was: “You can read that book, you can wear the t-shirt, you can put the posters up and shout the slogans, but unless you know all of the history behind it, you’re trivializing the entire struggle.” YAS, AUNT VIV, YAS. The bottom line is Vivian was a woman who was unabashed to speak her mind, especially when dealing with her moronic male counterparts. Sorry, Carlton, we love your mom and her dance moves more.

‘Sex and the City’

Ok, before everyone judges my mom for letting me watch this show, she didn’t know I binged harder on SATC than I did on Halloween candy. Skip your eye rolls and scoffs for calling this show feminist, but what would you call a squad of women who subconsciously discussed the bs behind the coveted fairytale ending and openly shut down slut-shaming? This group of revolutionary women (I’m a total Carrie) made it okay to engage in sex with guys you aren’t Facebook official with, to have fun without worrying about the haters and, of course, to prioritize Manolos over all else. Idk if this was intentional or not, but these four women make up one perfect betch: Charlotte is romantic, Miranda is brilliant, Carrie is funny, and Samantha is Samantha. Of course, no one woman is actually perfect, which is why all of these traits are separated into four individual women, but they are all great and I love them. On a side note: it truly breaks my heart that SJP and Kim Cattrall aren’t actually friends IRL, because their characters were the most likable on the show. Truly, no one could pull off jewel tones and feathered accessories like they could. I’m hoping that somewhere in lower Manhattan, Carrie and Samantha are getting afternoon cocktails rn.

‘Lizzie McGuire’

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When Lizzie McGuire would lose sight of reality, her BFF Miranda Sanchez was always there to keep her in check. (link in bio)⁣ .⁣ .⁣ .⁣ #lizziemcguire #mirandasanchez #throwback #disney

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This show was my life, and I have no shame in my game. Lizzie was a cultural icon who struggled between staying true to herself and wanting to fit in, but then she realized how much the popular kids sucked and got over it. Snaps. Lizzie’s main feminist feat is that she was not afraid to go through all of the same struggles all teenage girls go through: heartbreak, annoying siblings, eating issues, and, most iconically, bra shopping with your mom. Lizzie facing all of these preteen issues made all of us realize that these are just normal parts of life, and we shouldn’t feel embarrassed to be experiencing them. Lizzie came into her true feminist self in the final scene of the movie, though, when she chose herself and her hair extensions over a guy. Nevermind that he lied, cheated, and tried to pass Lizzie off as Brunette Lizzie Isabella, but he tried to play her for a fool, which just isn’t how you save your career, sweetie. Lizzie’s too smart for that sh*t, you Italian meatball!

Images: Nickelodeon; @stephdelucaaa, @freshprince.ig; @wearemitu / Instagram; Giphy (3)

‘Rugrats’ Characters Ranked By Betchiness

For this week’s TBT, we’re going to take a look into the lives of the most influential baby friend group of the ’90s. I’m talking, of course, about the Rugrats and, most importantly, how betchy or not betchy each Rugrat is. Is it polite to rank toddlers who have not yet learned to speak based on arbitrary social categories? Probs not. Is it fun? Fucking duh.

1. Cynthia

Cynthia Rugrats

Here’s what we know about Cynthia: 1) She’s a really cool dancer, 2) She’s got cool moves (as long as you move her arms and legs), 3) She’s movin’ out on the floor, 4) She’s ready to break some eggs (make an omelette Cynthia!) How do we know all this? We know it from her workout tape, which I am shocked has not been sampled by Avicii or Kanye or someone yet (don’t listen unless you want this song stuck in your head all day).

Cynthia’s resting bitch face is on point, and she manages to look great in her belted orange dress despite the fact that she is missing ⅕ of her hair. Cynthia didn’t say or do shit for all 9 seasons of Rugrats, yet she is still one of the show’s most memorable characters, and it is her ability to do no work and remain popular that has earned her the number one slot.

2. Susie Carmichael

Susie Carmichael is cool AF. Did Susie need to appear in every episode? No. Susie had other shit to do. She’ll check in every once in awhile to see what the babies are up to, teach them about Kwanzaa and generally let them know what’s good, before going back next door to hang with her real friends. Whenever she does come over, the babies flip out because they’re like, obsessed with her (everyone is). She’s also the only person who has absolutely no time for Angelica’s bullshit, probably because Susie has better hair, a better outfit, and wears a cool red bangle, which is more than Angelica could ever hope to have. Susie is three, which makes her older and wiser than most of the babies and probably accounts for the sheer lack of fucks she has to give. Did Susie get her ass lost in the woods when Dil was born? Fuck no, she was chilling in Paris getting turnt up with her older sister! Did Susie almost die with the Rugrats in EuroReptarland? No bitch, I just told you she’s already been to Paris! Susie Carmichael always comes correct, and that’s what earned her the number two spot.

3. Tommy Pickles

Tommy Pickles

Tommy Pickles is the star of the show, which virtually guarantees him betchiness. Tommy also has the whole dressing like a slut thing down and spends all nine seasons of Rugrats wearing nothing but a crop top and booty shorts. His outfit never stops him from leading his friend group on adventures, and you know once he can talk and operate a phone he’d be the person managing the group chat, suggesting what clubs and parties to go to, making sure everyone is getting the free shots they deserve, and seeing you into your Uber at the end of the night. The thing holding Tommy back from the top spot is that he’s too fucking nice. He’ll let any baby with shit in their diaper come hang with him (cough CHUCKIE cough), and that means his friend group is riddled with duds (HI CHUCKIE). Be a little more discerning about your friend group, Thomas, and maybe we’ll see you up at the top with Cynthia.

4. Angelica Pickles

Angelica Pickles

We can’t talk about Cynthia without getting to her BFF and designated Rugrat BSCB, Angelica Pickles. Angelica spent most of Rugrats torturing the “dumb babies” (who were really only like a year younger than her) and making them miserable, yet still somehow being invited to all the group hangs, play dates, and brunches. Angelica spends a lot of time telling everyone—including the adults—how beautiful she is and is absolutely desperate for attention, probably because her rich AF parents never pay attention to her. She’s your friend who cries and starts shit at the club anytime she feels like she’s not the hottest girl there (and she frequently is not—thanks Cynthia!) Also girl, lay off the cookies.

5. Charlotte Pickles

Charlotte Pickles

Charlotte Pickles is Angelica’s mom who is literally always on her phone. Like, always. Even in a time before cellphones could fit in your pocket, Charlotte is always on the phone with her assistant Jonathan (Cheban? We don’t know…) and ignores basically every member of her family to do so. When phones don’t work, Charlotte straight up makes her husband’s brother carry a fax machine around so she doesn’t miss any important texts. Charlotte alternates between a power suit and workout gear, always accompanied by an Ariana Grande level high ponytail. In All Grown Up, Charlotte displays clear signs of some seriously botched cosmetic surgery, which is what has dropped her down to slot #5. Never try to cut corners on botox, Charlotte! It’ll always go wrong. Honestly, Jonathan should have told you that.

6. Grandpa Lou

Grandpa Lou Rugrats

Grandpa Lou is another character who gives absolutely zero fucks and is down to hang. Much like Corinne, Lou loves naps and often falls asleep halfway through finishing his stories. Despite his old age, Lou is still a fuckboy, and is often seen hitting on women and generally trying to find ways to get laid. If Rugrats had taken place in 2017, Lou would have definitely had a Tinder and that Tinder definitely would have had a picture of him from 20+ years earlier. Lou is eventually successful in finding a new wife, Lulu, who he moves in with pretty fast after they start hooking up (risky choice, Lou!) Outside of his strangely active love life, Lou also has many frenemies, including his own cousin Miriam; his bowling rival, Billy “Strike” Maxwell; and some other wrestling guy named Conan McNulty. This proves that when push comes to shove, Lou is just not very popular and kind of an old perv. Sixth place for you, Lou.

7. Phil And Lil Deville

Phil And Lil DeVille

Okay I’m sorry, but Phil and Lil are fucking gross. Their diet is a mess, always eating fucking worms and mud and shit. Do you know how many calories are in a ball of worms, kids? Do you? Seriously. There is a Rugrats episode where Phil and Lil drink straight-up toilet water. What the fuck is that? Is that something babies do? Phil and Lil also have no creativity when it comes to fashion, and instead just dress alike every damn day in green—a color that is flattering on exactly 0 people. Their mom is a hardcore feminist, which is cool, but maybe the twins have been empowered to do a little bit too much. Like sure, Lil can do whatever she wants with her life, but maybe eating a giant pile of shit should not be one of those things? Idk. Seventh place.

8. Stu Pickles

Stu Pickles

Good Lord is Stu Pickles a sad man. Seriously. You have a beautiful house, two healthy babies, a cool Jewish wife who has managed to maintain her pre-baby body, and you’re still fucking complaining! Look around, asshole! You have all this shit despite the fact that your dumb ass hasn’t invented one successful toy. In fact, you haven’t even invented one toy that didn’t explode and almost kill your entire family. You are literally #blessed but you’re too blind to see it! The only thing keeping you from the bottom slot is this meme which, in the current political climate, is legit all of our lives right now:

Rugrats Chocolate Pudding Meme

9. Chuckie Finster

No. Just no. I’m sorry, but again, it’s gonna be a hard pass on Chuckie. Here are all the things Chuckie would have to improve if he ever even wanted to hope to be betchy. 1) His voice, which is terrible. Do you have a cold, Chuckie? Go to the damn doctor. It’s the ’90s. Hillary Clinton has passed the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan. You can go to the doctor. Go. 2) Grow. A. Pair. Dude. You know when Chuckie gets older he’s gonna be your friend who calls the cops on his own party for getting out of hand. He’s gonna be that guy who side eyes you for doing molly at Coachella, making weird comments under his breath about how you never know what’s “in that stuff” and generally bringing bad vibes despite the fact that Beyoncé is literally pregnant and dancing in front of you. 3) The hair is a problem. Comb it. Dye it. Do something. It’s a problem. 4) Tie your fucking shoes, dude. 9th place.

10. Chas Finster

There was no character on television from 1991-2004 that was less betchy than Chas Finster. He has all of Chuckie’s problems, but he is a fucking adult which means he has literally no excuse for being such a narc. Chas seems to be suffering from whatever health problems are affecting his son, and despite being a “bureaucrat,” apparently has no ability to get his ass to a doctor either. Like many sad old nerds, Chas must travel to a foreign country to find a wife, eventually convincing a way-too-hot-for-him Japanese woman to fly to America and be his Melania. Chas also has a double-Hitler mustache, which is 100% unacceptable, no matter what decade you live in. Sorry, Chas. Last place.