Top 10 Women From The ’90s

1. Buffy Summers

Like a fine wine, Buffy The Vampire Slayer is a show that ages quite well. Living in a world of TV that’s still dominated by fat balding men and their beautiful nagging wives, one can’t help but pay tribute to how progressive and feminist Buffy actually was. Buffy Summers could’ve been soooooo bad — an airhead cheerleader who, like, totally killed vampires and stuff — but she was the exact opposite. Buffy was the right mixture of vulnerability and strength, all while remaining an authentic teenage girl. She was never the punchline to a joke. The creator Joss Whedon and their team of writers respected her too much to make her anything but complex. Whedon now talks openly about his deep roots in feminism and it’s evident when rewatching the show. If this had fallen into the hands of anyone else, Buffy could’ve easily become a parody of herself, much like she was in the original movie version.

2. Lorena Bobbit

I can’t look at the John and Lorena Bobbit Wikipedia page without dry heaving (the thought of castration makes me actually want to barf. Must be a GuY tHiNg, u KnOw?) but I still am in awe of Lorena and her remarkable set of balls. It was the slice heard around the world, a warning to all of those men who had been living la vida unfaithful: if you put your dick in a vagina that doesn’t belong to your wife, you might not have a penis for much longer. You go, Glen Coco! Cutting off your husband’s penis is very ’90s!

3. Brenda Walsh

Brenda Walsh from Beverly Hills, 90210 was the # 1 brat. I honestly can’t think of a surlier main female character than her. She was always having meltdowns and screaming at people which was apparently how Shannen Doherty behaved in real life. Maybe Doherty was just going Method though. Or maybe she was just straight up possessed by the spirit of Brenda. Whatever it was, we can’t blame Brenda for being a handful since her parents were so terrible at disciplining her. After disobeying her parents’ wishes to see 40-year-old surfer Dylan McKay, Brenda wasn’t punished for her bad behavior. She was simply sent off to Paris for the summer with her best friend! When you have consequences like that, why would someone ever get their crap together?!

4. Liz Phair

When Liz Phair released her record Exile In Guyville in 1993, it sent shockwaves through the music scene. Here was a woman with a guitar singing about blowjobs and enjoying sex, all while being smart and witty about it! She wasn’t going to be anyone’s blow up doll. If anything, she was going to objectify you and write a song about it. It’s a shame what happened to Liz (Wait, isn’t that a quote from Jawbreaker?). After establishing cool feminism cred, Phair threw it all away in the ’00s when she sold her soul to the pop music devil and recorded a record with The Matrix, Avril Lavigne’s producers. It was weird watching Phair dumb herself down in the same way that Jewel did with “Intuition.” I got the feeling that the record was supposed to be a “sort of” joke, except not really at all. If it had sold millions of records, it would’ve become deadly serious. Today Liz Phair raps on records that she releases for free on the Internet.

5. Daria

Rewatching Daria today, it’s hard to figure how this show ever got on the air with a network like MTV. It basically called BS on everything the network had been promoting and it did so with wit and smarts. There’s still the occasional “Anti-MTV” show that ends up there but it’s not nearly as funny or smart as Daria was. The writing was like Larry David for depressed teenage girls. When the show went off the air, it was like the last gasp of brilliance on MTV, the last funny inside joke about a network that had been dumbing itself down.

6. Alicia Silverstone

For a brief beautiful moment in the ’90s, Alicia Silverstone was the It Girl. After building her profile steadily with The Crush and those Aerosmith videos, she finally exploded by starring in everyone’s favorite movie, Clueless. Cher Horowitz was the ’90s. Those outrageous outfits, that naive optimism: she represented a decade in which the president admitted to smoking pot and everyone felt fine about it being the end of the world, as we knew it. Today Alicia Silverstone is famous for subsisting on a diet of organic feces and naming her dog, oops I mean son, Bear Baby Blu or something. Oh well. We’ll always have Cher.

7. Nicole Julian and Mary Cherry

Nicole Julian and Mary Cherry were the terrorizing teen twosome in WB’s short-lived but brilliant show, Popular. They were basically two gay men trapped in terrible ’90s girl outfits. They schemed against the unpopular girls, made constant digs at each other’s weight, and even kidnapped Gwyneth Paltrow’s personal shopper in one episode so they could try on the star’s designer duds. They were 100% campy Cheez-Whiz and I miss them more and more each day. I didn’t realize I was gay until I started imitating Nicole Julian at school by saying “Thank youuuu” after every time my name was called at attendance.

8. Monica Lewinsky

I’m O B S E S S E D with Monica Lewinsky. An affluent chubby Jewish girl from the Valley who had a penchant for wearing berets and sucking Presidential dick?! If that’s not a perfect slice of American pie, I don’t know what is!

9. Mary Camden

Mary Camden was the heart and soul of the downright bizarre Christian family drama, 7th Heaven! While her siblings were drinking the Jesus Kool-Aid, Mary decided to hang out with pot-smoking trailer trash and vandalize her school’s gym. She was blissfully sent away to Bad Girl Camp and now she’s dating Justin Timberlake. I mean, what?

10. Tonya Harding

Tonya Harding brought a major white trash vibe to the Olympics which I’ve always loved and been thankful to her for. Before she hired a hit on her competition Nancy Kerrigan’s knee, Harding was well-known for being a loose cannon who was chronically late to THE FREAKING OLYMPICS (who’s late to the Olympics? I mean, really…) and her struggles with asthma, despite being a noted smoker. When she made her bodyguard and ex-husband attack Kerrigan, she was merely fulfilling her destiny as an original Lifetime movie. Love her, need her, scared of her. TC mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


More From Thought Catalog

  • Gregory Costa

    Lucy Lawless.  Hell, yes.  She’s my woman…I loved Xena as a kid…no, I’m not a lesbian.

  • Josef

    The Jawbreaker quote about Liz Phair made my entire day.

  • Emily Anne

    Also, Alicia Silverstone feeds her son like they’re both birds – you know, she chews the food first and then transfers it to his mouth via her mouth. It looks like she’s making out with her toddler and it’s rather uncomfortable…there’s video of it online if anyone wants to see, though.

    • Guestropod

      why did I HAVE to youtube this… 

  • iris

    ally mcbeal.

    • MG

      Absolutely. Ally McBeal should be on this list.

  • Anonymous

     What about the Spice Girls?

  • Melvinjulia

    don’t forget Kelly Kapowski! 

  • jerry kelso

    wonder what it says about me that the only one’s I’m familiar with are Lorena Bobbitt, Monica Lewinsky, and Tonya Harding.

    And Alicia Silverstone, though I never really was a fan.

  • vom

    Lorena Bobbitt cut her husband’s penis off because he sexually and emotionally abused her, not because he was unfaithful. 

    • guest

      True story.

  • Anonymous

    no kelly kapowski? FOR SHAME

  • Deiu

    Stoped reading after you mocked Modern Family 5 words into the article. What a joke you are, dear sir. What a sad, sad joke. Also, your articles suck, like, SO MUCH ASS, it’s unbelievable how they still let you write here. Hands down – you don’t deserve it.

    • Deiu


    • Guestropod

      huh?  Modern Family what?

    • Guest

      If you hate Ryan’s articles so much, then just stop clicking on them. It’s really THAT simple.

      • Smokey Problemson

        He’s probably a rival from another site where he publishes one or more solid pieces of writing every single day, bringing in a large proportion of the site’s traffic. I mean, otherwise he’d just look like an insecure asshole ripping down the work of others because he doesn’t have the wherewithal to create and publish his own work. But that certainly doesn’t sound like something an anonymous commenter on the internet would do.

  • Adamcrittenden

    Haiku #15

    My internet me
    decided to kill the me me,
    but then he died too.

  • Smokey Problemson

    To my list I would add (or swap out) one or more of the following: Fiona Apple, Alanis Morissette, Suzanne Vega, Salt and/ or Pepa, T, L, and/or C, Brandy maybe?, and (as already suggested in the comments) Kelly Kapowski. Maybe one each from the folk/ grunge genre and one from the cheesy 90s R&B genre (I don’t even know why I’m calling it cheesy, I still pump those jams like all the time). But I didn’t watch Popular, Buffy, or 90210 (and turned out to be a full-on lesbian) so my list had some room.

    • Guestropod

      Salt and/ or Pepa”


      • Smokey Problemson

         An egregious omission, you’re absolutely right.

  • Brian


  • Rishtopher

    I think it’s a miracle enough that I know who Buffy and Daria are (I love them!) given my lack of awareness for pop culture stars. That said, how bad should I feel for not knowing who any of the others are?

  • MMBB1177

    Monica Lewinsky is from Brentwood, that is NOT the Valley. GASP.

  • Kai

    Buffy Summers was a shitty friend who was obsessed with boys to the point of putting everyone at risk to follow her heart.  I’ll never get the worship. 

    • Guestropod

      get thee behind me, satan

      • Kai

         Kristy Swanson was the best Buffy!

      • Bitch

        Kristy Swanson was a disgrace to Buffy, I’m sure you’ve been obsessed with a boy in your life, BTW someone that saves your life isn’t a shitty friend

      • Kai

         You can save someone’s life and still be a shitty friend. They aren’t mutually exclusive.

  • Tanya Salyers

    YAY for the Popular reference!

  • Glen

    great mean girls reference. four for you, glen coco!

  • Verified Realness

    No Pamela Anderson? Kill yourself!

  • Julian

    Would an article about women of the 90’s really be complete without a “Who was your favourite Spice Girl? ” conversation.

    Hint: There are right and wrong answers.

  • Evilguk

    Darleene from Roseanne
    Christina Applegate

    god I hate myself reading these endless American blogs about 90s nostalgia, nostalgia is so over :D

  • Ariel Wetzel


  • Cheyney

     I miss Popular every single fucking day. When that goes up on Netflix Instant, I will cease to exist until I finish the series.

  • sarahguan

    um melissa joan hart and angela chase. two teen ladies that had it all, if all was oversized flannel shirts and a lot of sass.

    honorable mentions: meg ryan, spice girls, alanis

  • Alvaral11

    Agree with your list!!

    Mine is:
    Fiona Apple
    Rose McGowan
    Gwen Stefani
    Courtney LoveDebra Messing
    Shirley Manson
    Tori Amos
    Lisa Kudrow

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