Nickelodeon at times seems solely responsible for raising millennials. People talk about these classic characters like they played a huge part in their childhood, which for many of us, they did. Shows like Hey, Arnold! or Rugrats dealt with some very important issues and didn’t shelter kids from experiences the way some TV networks do today. But while their older animations really put this kids TV network on the map, Nickelodeon has still managed to produce some quality shows in recent years, such as The Loud House and Harvey Beaks. Then there are the shows like SpongeBob SquarePants and Fairly OddParents. On one hand, no, they’re not as good as they used to be, but they’re still pretty good for shows that have been on the air for as long as they had and when the time comes for us to say goodbye, we’ll probably still be sad.
When shows become as popular as Nick shows have done, fans like to honor them with their fanart. Whether they are reimagining existing episodes of the show or creating new scenarios for their favorite characters, it’s always interesting to see new versions of fun characters, especially genderswaps! This way, we as fans get to see a whole new side of the character, look at them with some more depth, and see them in a fun new outfit! Whatever reasons you have for liking genderswaps, they always pose an interesting new spin on the character.
25 Linka’s House
The Loud House is probably the most popular current NickToon show. It’s also one of the most relatable. Sure, we don’t all know what it’s like to live as a sea sponge in a pineapple, but almost all of us have had to deal with annoying siblings. Lincoln Loud sure does, being the middle child and a family of eleven children.
A significant theme of the show is that, out of the eleven children, Lincoln is the only boy.
While this probably would be a difficult position for any eleven-year-old, despite the variety of personalities his sisters have, the show does do a very good job of showing how gender doesn’t matter. This was the first Nick show to feature a confirmed gay couple and none of the sisters conform to stereotypical feminine gender roles, instead of having their own unique interests. What makes this reimagining so amazing is that it shows how little difference it would make to Link's life if he identified as a girl rather than a boy. Mostly, that he would still be good friends with Clyde! His bedroom is a little more femme, with hearts and fluffy things, but the important thing is that this friendship doesn’t end.
Artwork by CoyoteRom.
24 She Still Cares
Hey, Arnold!, was a really emotional show, particularly when it came to Helga. Helga was an angry young girl who frequently bullied other students for very small things, including the main character Arnold. However, her treatment of Arnold is due to her very intense crush on him, with her carrying a heart-shaped picture of him and going into long monologues about how he makes her feel. In this gender-swap, we see Arnold reimagined as a girl, reciprocating Helga’s feelings, but Helga as her original gender. This is something I adore.
We learn during a flashback episode that Helga’s crush on Arnold started because he was the first person to show her any act of kindness. Neglected by her parents, all Helga wanted was to feel cared for. I don’t think that would change if Arnold was a girl.
We know from scientific studies that gender and attraction aren’t as binary as we once thought, but are instead on a spectrum. Given that Helga’s feelings are more about Arnold as a person than his appearance, if he were a girl instead, I don’t think those feelings would change. Helga still has anger in her eyes here, but alongside it is affection and love.
Artwork by pixels01.
23 A Different Planet
Oh my gosh, this show. This show was one of the best things Nick ever came up with, and I’m so happy it existed. It was gross, creepy, and very weird, but it was funny and creative. The sequel can’t come soon enough. These two were very interesting characters. They had this rivalry based on Dib’s desire to expose Zim, and Zim’s desire to stop him.
But it so quickly turned into an obsession they both had for the other. No wonder so many people ship them!
During The Frycook What Came from All That Space, Dib casually goes to Zim’s house to ask where he is, and in a canceled episode, The Mopiness of Doom, the two become incredibly lost when they put an end to their rivalry. The point of the matter is, even when reimagined as girls, these two still need to throw insults back and forth at each other. Given Jhonen Vasquez’s often well-developed female characters, this is one cartoon relationship that would have been the same had the main characters been the opposite gender. The intensity of their fights and the tension between them, would have stayed the same.
Artwork by Zamayn.
22 The Other Rats
This is a show that actively defied gender roles in the nineties, giving powerful messages to both girls and boys. Mothers on the show were often the breadwinner and discouraged the enforcement of gender stereotypes, while the fathers helped around the house and put an equal effort into parenting their children. During a season four-episode, Clan of the Duck, Phil and Chuckie decide to wear dresses, with Phil deciding that if girls could wear what they liked then so could boys. They discover the advantages of wearing dresses and decide that there is no good reason for stopping boys from wearing them.
This genderswap fan art shows what the memorable Rugrats would be like, as the opposite gender. The differences are subtle, which is how they should be for young kids. There is no way to tell a boy baby from a girl baby if you just looked at one in their crib. They just look like babies.
The twins are very good here. They just look like the twins, except now I guess that the one we know as Phil is Lil and the one we knew as Lil is Phil. Given their similar behavior and outfits, I doubt this is a change at all. Except for the ghost Phil behind boy-Kimi!
Artwork by Jamalpettiway.
21 Sister Sponge
I’m not going to lie, when I first saw SpongeBob SquarePants as a small child, I thought he was a girl! I don’t think I realized he wasn’t until I was about twelve (granted, there was a period when I didn’t watch the show before then). By the rules of animation, to distinguish something as male or female, females are usually given eyelashes, rosy cheeks, and shiny eyes. I didn’t make these rules up, I know they are stupid, but that’s usually how it goes. Given that SpongeBob had all these things, my young brain decided he was a girl.
Overall, this show doesn’t put a great deal of effort into gendering its characters. All the fish just look like fish. I do wonder why they have hair here though. These characters don’t normally have hair, so why would they have hair now as women? I’ve seen plenty of starfish, both male and female, and none of them have hair. Hair is a very selective thing in the SpongeBob world. Few characters have it and it’s very random, but I suppose more female characters have friends than male. “Squidwand” is the best thing about this though. She still just wants her quiet time.
Artwork by 8-Bit-Britt.
20 The Other Bugs
It’s always exciting to talk about Bugs Bunny, with him being one of the cartoon characters that changed the face of animation. Very few shows have run for as long as Looney Toons did, the short films being produced for almost forty years. Even now, new cartoons with the same characters are being made for new viewers, including The Bugs Bunny Show, which airs on NickToons. I don’t know if this fan art was specifically made for that, but it’s a portrayal of Bugs Bunny, a memorable and important cartoon character, so let’s talk about him! Or in this case her.
Looney Toons was another case of “women are more likely to have hair.”
Granted, a few male characters have hair, and there are a few bald female characters, but didn’t Lola Bunny have that weird fringe thing? Her ears were pulled back into a ponytail style, but this was like a weird puff thing at the front which bugs didn’t have. Although this could well be a wig since Bugs doesn’t have ears here. Either way, it’s a really interesting outfit! She looks good for someone in their eighties.
Artwork by Ashleylex.
19 Meet Timantha
Genderswap fan arts have been pretty popular for the classic Nickelodeon cartoon Fairly OddParents, since the cartoon went ahead and did it for them! In season two's The Boy Who Would Be Queen, after Timmy accidentally wishes he could be a girl to find out what his crush Trixie Tang wanted for her birthday. It certainly is an interesting take on the idea of gender, portraying gender as a purely biological matter. I’m also confused as to why Trixie didn’t recognize Timantha, since she looks exactly like Timmy, just in a dress, with lipstick on and a bow in his hair. Even so, it’s a great episode and boys and girls interests, showing that kids should just like whatever they want.
This version of Timantha is a little older than the one we were introduced to in season two but is dressed a lot more Timmy-esque. Perhaps Timmy wanted to reunite Trixie with her old friend, perhaps to gain more information on her. Maybe it was a way to disguise himself to spy on someone who wasn’t too observant. Alternatively, she just missed Timantha and wanted to explore who she was. You do you, Timantha!
Artwork by Zutcha.
18 Different Kind Of Enemy
If you remember Doug, you’ve got to admit that it was a bit of a weird cartoon. For one, why did the vast majority of the cast have oddly colored skin, but some didn’t? Doesn’t Doug ever wonder why so many of his classmates have jaundice, extreme nausea, or are part Smurf! That sounds like one pretty self-involved kid.
Maybe in his world, Doug was the weird one, which might have been why Roger Klotz bullies him so much. Roger Klotz being the main antagonist of the series, often bullying or picking on Doug.
Despite being this stereotypical tough guy from the rough background, I think Roger looks better as a girl. Maybe it’s just me, but her hair looks better here, just a longer style that Roger’s original, and that leather jacket is being pulled off way better by girl Roger than original Roger. She would still be the same person, picking on Doug and trying to make him look stupid in front of his crush. Maybe she would have the upper hand now and could convince Patti to trust her, spreading rumors about Doug amongst the girls. Also, those ear piercings are perfect. I certainly wouldn’t mess with her.
17 A Girly Robot
Zim and Dib weren’t the only memorable characters in this classic Nick cartoon! When you have a show where people get their brains put into the bodies of squids, where children are taken to have happy implants put into their brains and where children literally have their organs harvested by an alien trying to fool the school nurse, you need to throw in a little comic relief. That’s what GIR did for Invader Zim.
Not knowing what the “G” stood for in his brain, GIR was literally made of garbage and often accidentally ruins Zim’s plans or was of little help, preferring to eat tacos and watch TV.
While GIR was referred to with male pronouns, did he ever really have a gender?
All Irken robots looked the same and were just built to help the Irkin invaders. So, I suppose it would be up to the Irkin to whom they were assigned what gender they would be referred to. If Zim started referring to GIR with female pronouns and gave him pink eyes instead of blue, she’d still be the GIR we all know and love. She’s still be called GIR, sing the doom song and keep sandwiches in her head.
Artwork by Nickental.
16 Turtle Gals
There have been so many adaptations about these wonderful, pizza-loving turtles, over the years. What’s not to love? They’re teenagers, they’re turtles, and there is plenty of ninja actions. Although one does wonder why they’re still teenagers after all this time! Personally, I thought the Nickelodeon series was better than the 2003 series. The other one had a lot of explosions and ninja action, which is great for some, I just found the Nickelodeon series a lot more charming and funny. I really can’t wait to see the new series in September!
I put it to you that you wouldn’t be able to tell and boy turtle from a girl turtle. If you saw a turtle, you’d just think it was a turtle. So, with a genderswap like this, it’s all in the mannerisms and how they carry themselves. Mikey just looks like… well, Mikey. She may have eyelashes now, but she’s just as excited as she normally is. Same goes for Raph’s attitude. Mind you, there is something about Leo that’s a little different. Not sure if he would have posed like that before! Donny also looks a lot more confident than before. Take that how you will.
Artwork by MidoriEyes.
15 Girl And Snake
This was one of those Nick shows that you either got or you didn’t. There were some sweet moments and a few good jokes, but mostly it was just a bunch of gross-out jokes and toilet humor. If you’re entertained by that kind of thing, then fine, if not you probably won’t like it.
But it does entertain the question: what would the show be like if it had been about a young girl and her snake?
I don’t think the gender of the snake would have changed much. Animals aren’t as obsessed with the gender binary as humans. But you don’t get many gross-out shows with female protagonists. This is probably since we see gross-out humor as a mostly male viewed area of comedy, although personally, I’ve met just as many women who liked Ren and Stimpy or Rick and Morty as men. Part of it has to be because of what we see as acceptable for young girls and young boys. Girls are told off for immature behavior, but boys are allowed to carry it on well into adulthood. The differences here are so subtle, but they could have changed this show completely. That’s gross!
Artwork by AllyPrincessGirl101.
14 Her BFF
Gerald was a regular character on the classic NickToons show, Hey, Arnold!, serving as the titular character's best friend. I just always remembered him as the boy who stole Marge Simpson’s hair style!
Here she’s gone for a bit more of an original style and it suits her a lot better. At least it’s less creepy. Before that tall hair just looked like it could be part of his skull! This way, Helga certainly can’t call her “tall hair girl,” although she’d probably think of something different and meaner.
I love that this style reflects the original Gerald. She still proudly wears the number thirty-three, which I suppose is significant of some kind of sport, and her outfit looks loose and easy to move in. What does bother me a little bit is that the outfit has stayed mostly the same, except it’s changed to pink. The move feels a little stereotypical and unnecessary. Girls can wear red just as boys can wear pink. If the original Gerald liked pink he would wear pink. Even so, the face is very happy and familiar. Plus, that hair has to be easier to manage than the original.
Artwork by Loredanne.
13 Above The Sea
Since gendering sea creatures can be an almost impossible task, sometimes it’s better to take an original approach when reimagining SpongeBob and best buddy Patrick.
These two fish friends sometimes feel like goals for adult life. Sure, they’re both incredibly stupid, and Patrick becomes very horrid and malicious in the later seasons, but it’s wonderful how carefree they are. I’d love to carry on eating ice-cream and laughing at stupid stuff for the rest of my life. Although one does wonder how these two pay for things.
SpongeBob doesn’t earn much money at the Krusty Krab and Patrick certainly doesn’t do anything.
If you saw these two girls at the beach, you’d surely know who they were (or at least observe that they looked like or reminded you of SpongeBob and Patrick). The silly grins and enthusiasm in their faces say more than their hair or outfits do. Although I do wonder where you would be to see someone in a dress like this and another in a shirt and tie. Maybe we don’t question this when they both live under the sea, but when they are standing next to one another on dry land it would raise a few eyebrows. How many fry-cooks do you know who wear a tie to work anyway?
Artwork by SB99stuff.
12 Better Breadwinners
I never really watched this show personally, but I hear a lot of mixed reviews about it. Some people really seem to passionately hate it, calling it annoying and loud, filled with stupid jokes. Others seem to really love it and will defend it for its life. I’m not here to tell anyone what to think; my only thoughts about this show is I wonder what the target audience would be. There are some jokes in the show that seem a little too specific for very young children, as well as the occasional violence, but it also looked very silly for a show for older children. But the show had two seasons and has inspired plenty of fan art, so they must have been doing something right.
I love that the outfits are feminine styles of their original clothing, although I’m not sure those heels are practical for driving a rocket van. Their bodies do look a little different though. Buhdeuce looks more rectangular than round for some reason. Maybe that’s how girl ducks are. (This does make you wonder if a show where the two main characters shake their behinds during the opening titles would have been commissioned were they girls.)
Artwork by Pastel-demon.
This show was always a little questionable to me, but then again, I completely missed the demographic for it. I suppose it’s loud and colorful, all the things the kids like, filled with silly humor and superhero references. It’s not exactly terrible but… winner of five Emmys? Really?
I’m not really trying to bully it. It was just a sweet little show for kids on Nickelodeon. The animation was pleasing in any case.
Although like Breadwinners, I can’t help but wonder if Fanboy and Chum Chum would have had the same reception if it had been two young girls showing everyone their underwear during the title sequence. Both girls and boys do silly crazy things when they are young, but for some reason, it’s funny when boys do it and inappropriate when girls do it. I love these uniforms; I love that Fanboy’s (Fangirl’s?) uniform looks like a Disney Princess version of a superhero costume, with the puffy sleeves and upturned collar. But it would have somewhat better if they had been wearing girl’s underwear over their costumes. At least funnier. It’s interesting that their hair color has changed though, or at least become more obvious. I never saw them without their costumes, so many Fanboy does have blond hair underneath. Especially since those eyebrows are on top of his mask!
Artwork by OliveApple.
10 Little Miss Beaks
This show was certainly something special. Only NickToons could have a cartoon about three anthropomorphic animals who live in a magical forest and make it appeal to both adults and kids! The writing was so sweet, the characters were very relatable and understandable, despite being animals.
One of the things I quite liked about Harvey Beaks was that the main character was a boy. You expect shows with gross-out humor or shows with silly jokes to have male protagonists, but not cute shows about friendship and fun. Harvey didn’t fit into the box of how boys were supposed to be, and I admired the creators for that.
Even so, the show would have been just as great had it featured a female protagonist. If these three had been the characters leading the show, would it really have changed that much? I can’t think of anything that would have been hugely different? That’s shown in the subtle difference in this fanart. Sure, Hayley’s style is a little more femme, but they are still the same recognizable characters. My only real point would be that her skirt looks a little too conservative for a ten-year-old. You can’t play outside in a skirt like that!
Artwork by Linsanna.
9 Queen Zim
Series creator Jhonen Vasquez confirmed that, eventually, Zim does take over planet Earth. He’s also said that The Tallest would probably just turn the planet into a parking lot, having no real use for it, but that Zim could be the parking lot manager. Given Zim’s obsession with power and being the greatest, I can totally imagine this being how the “Parking Lot Manager” chooses to dress and spend his time. Regardless of being male or female.
As the art style and themes of Invader Zim are often compared to those of Tim Burton, I love that this exists.
Both styles use a lot of dark themes and build a bizarre world with its own rules. This fan-art, inspired by the Burton-directed adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, shows Vasquez’s creepy and bizarre characters in the creepy bizarre world of Tim Burton. It’s also amazing that, even in this world where Zim is the Queen of Hearts with her comically big head, Dib is still known as the “big-headed boy.” Hang in there, Dib! I love that his t-shirt design is on his apron. Plus, doesn’t GIR just look super adorable? I’ve never seen a robot wearing a dog costume wearing a bunny costume before.
Artwork by Spectra22.
8 A Turtle Kunoichi
It’s always been really amazing how much these guys embrace being who they are. Sure, being a turtle is all they’ve ever known, but if I had to live in a sewer, knowing that there were people in New York who were allowed to live in nice, warm houses that didn’t smell bad, I’d be pretty bummed. Also, that, most of the time, they love being turtles and would rather be turtles than humans. It must be pretty awesome to have a hard shell if you’re a ninja, but I’d still rather be a human. Still, they managed to get TVs, video games, and pizza down in the sewer, that’s got to make things a lot more manageable.
My first thought when I saw this is that turtles do not have chests. Maybe mutant turtles do, so I’m not going to argue about it, but Mikey is certainly a well-developed turtle here. I love the ninja masks being used to represent hair though. Raphael and Leo having high, long ponytails, Donny’s long ponytail and, of course, Mikey’s hair bow. Is it just established that if she were a girl, that’s how cute she would be? If so I completely agree. (He was cute anyway, but the bow is adorable. Boy Mikey should give it a try.)
Artwork by Zoe Henry.
7 Sponge Girl!
Sometimes, you just need a quiet moment under the sea.
SpongeBob being a bizarre sponge creature is probably the reason why the show works so well. (Duh.) For a show to pull off the same amount of bizarre, unexplainable events that it does, you have to start with a very random and somewhat confusing premise. Such as an anthropomorphic sea-sponge, that looks more like a household sponge, he lives in a pineapple under the sea and works at a fast-food restaurant. Now all the bizarre stuff that happens to SpongeBob, all the weird things he does and the way he can manipulate his body, all makes sense because he’s a sponge.
But looking at this fan art, you see more than a gender-swapped sea-sponge, you see an alternative world. A happy person having a moment under the sea.
Despite this being a female human, she does look like SpongeBob, just relaxing and blowing bubbles under the sea. Maybe she’ll get into some wacky hijinx later, but for now, she’s just having a peaceful moment. I could question why a human still lives underwater, but I won’t, I like that she is surrounded by the memorable flowers of Bikini Bottom!
Artwork by Torimani.
6 Young Ms Shortman
This is just completely adorable. It’s always great when artists adapt their favorite characters into their own styles, giving it a slightly unique edge. This does just that. This is some cute sort of “chibi Arnold.” I admit that the TV show wouldn’t have worked with this kind of art style. There are too many serious plot lines, like Mr. Hyunh leaving his daughter during the Vietnam war so she could be safe, or the Pigeon Man episode, Helga’s family issues, and all the backstory with Arnold’s family. It would be a lot harder to take it seriously if all the characters were this adorable, but it certainly makes for a good fan art.
I’ll admit to being one of the people who thought that Arnold’s plaid shirt was actually a kilt. I did think it was an odd style choice for a city kid in America to wear but given its length and style, it made sense. Besides, we didn’t know about a lot of his backstory- one of his parents could have been Scottish. Even so, I love it being adapted into a cute plaid skirt for this gender-swap. Or perhaps it’s a plaid dress given the collar.
Artwork by Pokediged.
5 Normal Teenage Girl
While I have focused on genderbends for the majority of this list, the actual promise here is “characters reimagined as girls.” This could mean boys gender-swapped, grown women reimagined as young girls, or robots reimagined as human girls.
I think what made My Life as a Teenage Robot so popular was because it sort of had everything. It had space fights and violence, robots destroying everything and saving the world. But it also had feelings. Jenny showed a lot of relatable teenage angst. It’s hard being a teenager, there are a lot of pressures and you don’t get a lot of slack, especially as you’ve been designed to save the world.
So, what if, just for a little while, Jenny could be a normal teenage girl?
It might not be as cool as being a huge robot designed to save the world, but she’d be able to live life without one of her biggest pressures and have a lot of fun. Granted as a robot who was created, she wouldn’t be alive had she not been a robot, but she does look cute reimagined as a human. I love that she is ginger. It suits her almost as much as her blue metal body.
Artwork by Brokenlynx21.
4 The Other Chipettes
At the risk of being destroyed in the comments section, I never saw the appeal of these guys. I’ve been sympathetic to a lot of shows on this list, but I need to draw the line here. Their voices were just too annoying for me, even as a kid. I would have liked to just appreciate their cute fluffiness and their fun singing, but nope, they were just far too annoying.
But I completely appreciate that I am in the minority here. I don’t know how long these Chipmunks have been around, but I know that it’s been a very long time, longer than I’ve been alive. The Chipmunks were brought back a few years ago with the film franchise starting in 2017, which eventually lead to the NickToons series in 2015. The animation looks very pleasing, and I’m sure it’s a cute film for little kids, but those voices are still too annoying for me.
This is a very cute fanart and I’m not knocking the artist's talents, but it does showcase how uninspired the original design for the Chipettes was. But at least these girls have original hairstyles and similar attitudes to their inspiration.
Artwork by DeadlyNova.
3 Another Wish
Hey, that can’t be Timmy Turner! Where is her pink hat?
The future of Fairly OddParents is currently on hiatus, given its original creator Butch Hartman’s departure from Nickelodeon. If they make the decision to cancel it, I’m pretty sure most fans would be okay with this. The show has brought us some great moments and we’re all happy it happened, but it’s certainly not as good as it used to be. It has to end sometime, so it’s best just to let it happen now than to force it to carry on without the original creators.
But even if the show finishes, I always hope for more fanart of Timantha. It was a great episode of the show and I would have liked to see a few more with Timantha. Not to overdo her, but just to give her a little more representation. But even so, fans didn’t forget her and won’t. My favorite thing about her is that she dresses in a feminine style. Even when Timmy accidentally wished to be Timantha, there was nothing saying he had to wear girl’s clothes. That was entirely his decision. A good one too, that’s a very cute outfit!
Artwork by Kimbawest.
2 Lady Loud
This is by far my favorite genderbend of Lincoln Loud. I like it when artists edit clothes during a gender-swap, switching out their clothes for a more feminine style, making them more fitted or adding feminine colors. But this is done to distinguish that the character is actually a girl when the differences between male and female in the cartoon as so subtle. It can also be done to distinguish a new side of the character or to see them in a different style.
But given the type of program The Loud House is, you can’t really saw the same things about a gender-swapped Lincoln. The Loud House shows us the variety of personalities different people can have regardless of gender. And frequently forgets to draw eyelashes on characters of both genders.
If Lincoln were a girl, I’m sure that she would be the same person with the same personality. So I love that she’s been presented as such here, wearing the same clothes that she does on the show, just with a feminine body and long hair. Sure, long hair isn’t a sign of gender, but this Lincoln is a little older than the one in the show. Maybe when he gets a bit older he experiments with his hair.
Artwork by Cherry-Arts.
1 Dame Thornberry
How can I finish this list without throwing this character in? I love that years after The Wild Thornberrys finished, it’s still part of popular culture through memes and gifs. Every time I see a Disney version of Sir Nigel Thornberry, I remember how good the show was and watch it a few times. It’s still funny and it still holds up.
Nigel was a hilarious character. His voice is one that we will never forget and one we’ll all hear in our minds every time we see one of his memes.
This is hilarious and incredibly well drawn. I don’t know what it is, but you can never imagine Nigel Thornberry without his mustache. Even as a woman, she would still grow a rocking mustache and rock the heck out of it! I would completely watch her nature shows, knowing that they would be educational and hilarious every single time. Mind you, now that I’ve seen this image, I don’t think I’ll ever get it out of my head. Every time I think of it, it makes me smile, but I suppose at some point it’ll be invading my nightmares. Thank you Nigella, you go girl!
Artwork by MankyMind.