Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Where have the good heroines gone?
SOME might say I'm too young to complain about the degeneration of childrens' TV seeing as not five years ago I was a child, watching TV. But as I was reminiscing with a friend about the 90s I remembered a show unlike any other superhero action drama. A show that incorporated strong female leads, both with and without powers. That show was The Power Puff Girls. Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup are three artificially created girls made of sugar, spice, and everything nice with a kick of mystery chemical X that grants them super strength, speed and flight. And while the other female characters such as secretary to the mayor Sara Bellum or kindergarten teacher Ms. Keane possess stereotypically female jobs, Sara Bellum spends half her time cleaning up the Mayor's shenanigans, and the other half running the town. Ms. Keane (often randomly) displays knowledge of advanced physics, the theory of relativity, and quantum mechanics. But no good superhero or heroine is complete without a gaggle of nemeses, and one such nemesis is called Him. Clearly a bland name version of the devil, Him is extremely feminine, with high-heeled boots, a falsetto voice, and pink fur trimmed coat. This is an interesting subversion of a common tactic some women use to get ahead in business. Mimicking the opposite, more successful, gender. Business women of the 80s used shoulder pads to achieve a more masculine look, and Him wears effeminate clothing, subtly emulating his rivals, the Power Puff Girls, but also the more successful women of Townsville, Ms. Bellum and Ms. Keane. I remember watching the show as a girl and feeling like I too could fly and fight crime, which was a bit difficult from the second floor of an apartment in a crime free neighborhood. The Power Puff Girls represented a time in television where girls weren't afraid to kick bottom and didn't have to look sexy while doing it. Did I mention they are kindergartners?