Monday, May 2, 2011

Feminist Flashback: She-Ra

Thinking along the lines of previous posts such as Designing Me and Might Last A Day; Mine Is Forever, I was inspired to write about another piece of pop culture that shaped my childhood.

I fucking loved She-Ra. In kindergarten, I had the bright yellow lunchbox with her posse on front, several action figures, that pink-ass castle and even a talking toothbrush. For Christmas one year, my parents got me this “She-Ra set,” consisting of her bronzey plastic headdress (which left awful indentations on the sides of my face) and her sword. As a cape, I’d tie my Rainbow Brite beach towel around my neck, and proceed to repeatedly leap off the coffee table (oh, my poor mother).

At face value, She-Ra is a strong chick who kicks ass (He-Man’s sister, if you’re not familiar). Yay 80s for giving us such a cartoon heroine, especially for us girls who weren’t all that into My Little Pony.

A few years ago, I actually found (and bought) Season 1 of the series – but, when my friend and I sat down to watch it, we couldn’t get past the first episode. It was….kinda boring, with a lot of sci-fi mumbo jumbo. How did we ever follow this as children?? I kept telling myself that maybe the first season wasn’t the one I remember…it must get better…I have yet to seek out the second (and final) season. Maybe it’s because I’m not a big fan of all that is sci-fi. Seriously, read the Wikipedia page with She-Ra’s full bio. Leeetle crazy. Maybe some childhood loves should be left in childhood; to relive them is to destroy their magic.

Anyway, thinking about the series now – as an adult with a little more life experience than when I was, uh, 5 – I can see how maybe it wasn’t quite the feminist utopia I fondly remember.

One could argue that She-Ra was just a glorified Barbie. She was blonde, white, slender and wore one of those getups you couldn’t possibly fight in (how does her ample bosom stay in there?!). And riding a horse in a skirt? Please.

The Crystal Castle I had was a bright pink jewel resting atop some clouds – but it was really nothing more than a “dream house” without the modern efficiencies.

And come to think of it, everyone on that show was white. Contrary to popular belief: women with red, blue and purple hair do not count as “diversity.”

Shortcomings aside, at least She-Ra did shit other than drive a 57 Chevy, eat ice cream and hang out with Skipper and Midge. I’m no guru of present-day kids’ shows, but in terms of kick-ass female heroine shows in the likeness of She-Ra, no names come easily to mind. She-Ra was a heroine I was (and still am) happy to have had in my formative years. I can only hope we will see a new heroine – one even more kick-ass, who knows the meaning of “justice,” who has a diverse posse, fighting issues that are the underlying cause of our world’s decline – inspire current and future generations of young girls everywhere. Maybe two heroines? Yes, two or three would be cool. Too much to ask?

Oh my holy crap, this brings back memories:

1 comment:

Holly said...

Awwww, this is bringing back such fond memories for me, as well! I lovvvvvved She-Ra, too--even if the show was totally problematic (which--holy whiteness, it totally was, I'd forgotten just how bad her merry band of slim, white ladies was)--as you say, still nice to see a lady heroine actually DOING stuff.

On another note, I also loved Jem, despite the massively crazy gender and sexual politics on display there.