Whatever You Do, Watch “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power”

 

 

Since its debut in the summer of 2018, “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” has subverted traditional expectations of what it means to be a ‘princess,’ and threw anything expected of one out the animated door. 

 

I knew about the show from the day the storyboard artist Noelle Stevenson, (Who you can find here at her twitter under https://twitter.com/gingerhazing) announced that she had accepted the role of storyboard artist for the rerun of the show that first premiered in 1985 in ‘She-Ra: Princess of Power.’ Noelle Stevenson is my favorite content creator and I have followed her work since I discovered her in 2014 with ‘Niomona,’ her first graphic novel based off of her webcomic at the time. She then went on to create ‘Lumberjanes’ which is my favorite comic book series of all time, so to absolutely no one's surprise I waited eagerly for the show!

 

And then didn’t watch it for a year due to the fear that I wouldn’t love it as much as I thought I would - gosh darn anxiety! 

 

But after a year of stressing over staying away from spoilers, I got wind that the show had plans to introduce not just one transgender charcter, but two, and one of them would be nonbinary. So I promptly sat down with a few pals and set off to watch, hopes high and eyes wide open; we ended up watching all three already aired seasons in one sitting. 

 

In “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power,” many of the most powerful warriors in the war over the fate of the universe are magical princesses. They are strong and they are brave, and you believe they’re going to win in the end. The beauty of this series is that the LGBTQ representation is not out of nowhere, the characters are coming into a world that has been flexing with gender norms and creating a more expansive understanding of gender from the get-go. 

 

From the pilot of this series, gender does not work in the same restrictive ways we’re used to it working. On Etheria, princesses are just as likely to be married to each other as they are to have boyfriends. Not even the most ruthless villain around has trouble remembering anybody’s pronouns. It’s a planet where gender isn’t constricted, heteronormativity does not exist, and queer people just get to be.

 

I don’t want to pretend as if animation and kids animation hasn’t been a source of gender play since its inception. There have been hundreds of gender nonconforming characters who have had unspecified genders or different genders or complicated genders across so many different shows. Queer and trans people have been working in animation and have been influencing how kids animation looks and what the worlds of kids animation are for a really, really long time. This is only an extension of all of that work. It’s the next step in a much longer journey.

 

So if you’re looking for an amazing show to check out, please do give ‘She-Ra and the Princesses of Power’ a look!