I recently bought a Netflix subscription, so I have been watching some television series I never got around to watching and also re-watching shows from my youth. One of the shows I found on the site, She-Ra: Princess of Power, I used to watch with my older sister. Even though she was a much bigger fan than I was (she being an 80s child, me being a 90s child), we watched the show together growing up and were mesmerized by the strong female character of She-Ra who fought for everything good and just, using the power of Grayskull alongside her group of friends and equally strong brother He-Man. Plus, there were a lot of sparkles, techno 80s dance music, and a flying unicorn, Swiftwind.
What young girl wouldn’t want to watch that?
Seriously, watch the intro.
I think it is the perfect balance of male and female strength and power. Equality without any sort of submission or superiority. And as I re-watched some She-Ra episodes, I wondered what modern cartoon shows have both a strong female character like She-Ra AND a strong male character like He-Man together?
I thought of Kim Possible first since she is a strong female character on TV today. However, Ron Stoppable, her sidekick is far from a strong male character. He overindulges in burritos, is clumsy, mediocre in looks, and not exactly a quick-thinker. Kim on the other hand, has it all – looks, athletics, smarts, and she can kick butt.
Going through some of the other TV shows I know of, I could not think of a She-Ra/He-Man duo. So why is there such an imbalance in male and female characters on TV today?
It seems as though there was a brief moment after the late 1970s where men and women were equal. Obviously women could vote, many were going to college, and a majority were pursuing professional careers. However, while riding on the wave of equality, radical feminists pushed for more claiming they were still being prevented from being equal to men.
Unfortunately, their model was patriarchy; a practice which I believe was on its way out in the 1980s and 1990s if it were not for the radical feminist movement. In essence, radical feminists revitalized patriarchy in the opposite direction. One might call it “matriarchy.” Instead of men playing the dominant role, radical feminists believed (and still do today) that they only way women can be equal, is to be like misogynistic men from the days when patriarchy dominated. This is certainly a twisted view, but accurate based on society today.
Female superiority is everywhere in today’s society. See “Are Guys Stupid? How Media and Pop Culture Tells Women That They Are.”
So what can we NeW ladies do to change female superiority?
Write a cartoon obviously (I want more She-Ra!). But in all seriousness, NeW ladies need to be on the lookout for good examples of strong female characters paired with strong male characters or to be one yourself when you interact with men. Present other women with an alternative to the strong woman/clumsy male duo. Isn’t it better to have the best of both worlds rather than show strong women settling with clumsy men? After all, it is possible for men and women to be strong at the same time. They should be shown that way in pop culture and real life.
Strive for that duo, NeW ladies, and I think feminist superiority will be a thing of the past.
Also, go watch She-Ra on Netflix.