The Lara Croft thing?* It has pushed me over the edge of disgruntled, tactful silence. So I’m going to talk about She-Ra.
She-Ra is a fondly remembered cartoon from my childhood. The boys had He-Man, and occasionally, when there was room in the television programming schedule, us girls had She-Ra, He-Man’s super bad-ass twin sister. Or so I thought. I did watch He-Man, as well, but I was always really pleased when She-Ra episodes showed up. Beyond the show, I loved the She-Ra dolls. They had such cool costumes and head gear and hair. I still admire the dolls and their costumes.
About six months ago, I noticed that She-Ra was available on Netflix instant streaming. Joy! I could procrastinate on my writing by assuming blob-mode on the couch and watching nostalgic girl-power shows from my childhood. I picked a random episode. I don’t remember what happened in the episode. The villain was being all villainous and the bad-ass women were trying to overcome his evil plans. As we approached the end of the episode something happened that stunned me. I stared at the television outraged, mouth hanging open. You know what happened? The women could not triumph over evil, and He-Man and his company of men had to come in and save the day.
What. The. Fuck.
Girl-power show? No. I hereby revoke any claim She-Ra has to girl-power.
I understand the times were different when I was a child. That was a whole whopping 25 years ago. I was told by boys in my pre-school that girls couldn’t be doctors. Although, to be fair, I don’t talk to many kids, so maybe little boys still believe girls aren’t allowed to be doctors. I really hope not.
Still. I am horrified that the message that one of my most beloved childhood shows conveys is that girls can’t always save the day, but boys can. I can’t help but wonder how, if, that affected me growing up. How much did that reinforce or inform my perception of gender roles and abilities in the world.
*The Lara Croft thing is best introduced by Chuck Wendig in his post The Victimization of Lara Croft