Tuesday, June 12, 2007

By the honor of Greyskull, she has no power

This is my contribution to the excellent Action Heroines Blog-a-thon going on over at Film Experience.

When I was a child I watched way too much television. I used to have fits of kicking and screaming whenever they tried to tell me to go to bed when I wanted to watch The Muppet Show or Fraggle Rock. I was so unhappy with the world of divorce and mean stepdad that I needed some kind of escape, and Jim Henson was it. Red the Fraggle was always my favorite. She was a tomboy, like me.

But when I started spending all day and night in front of the magic box my parents decided that was it. No more TV. From the time I was six until I was 14 I was only allowed two shows: the news and Twin Peaks.

I know, right?

Anyway, I'm a defiant girl and a bit on the aggressive side. So when you tell me I can't do something I immediately try to find a way to do it whether I want to or not. Although I threw myself into books, I still wanted to piss my stepdad off as much as possible by watching TV as much as I could.

The only time I could do this was between the time I got my latchkey ass home from school and when my parents came home an hour or two later.

My stepdad got wise after a while. He started to feel the TV when he came in to see if it was warm. So I learned to turn it off during commercials and let it cool down. It was always a damn one-upmanship game at my house. But I digress.

My point is, the only shows that were usually on at the time of day when I could watch TV were Thundercats, He-Man and She-Ra. I adore the Thundercats. I'm not overly fond of He-Man since I could never quite shake my irritation of the way nobody seemed to notice that delicate Prince Adam was never around when his overly masculine twin was saving everybody on his large pussy with his phallic sword. He has the power indeed.

Which brings me to She-Ra, who most definitely does not have the power. Did you notice? She wears a skimpy outfit and spends way too much time on her hair and makeup and carries sort of a preppy glittery Barbie-meets-Cameron-Diaz-on-steroids vibe about her. And she's the worst action heroine ever.

Sure, she's great at making us all talk about our feelings. And she could heal and do magic spells and make her hair grow longer at will - always a plus for those days when you just want to feel princessy.

But whenever there was a real problem in the forest kingdom she had to call for help. She's supposed to be some badass tomboy with her fancy sword but if the shit really hit the fan she immediately called her manly brother to come save her with his penis power. Or she hollered at her friendly woodland creatures who all rushed in to save the day.

I was a badass tomboy. I certainly never dressed like that. For Christ's sake, look at how short her skirt is. And her nails are freshly manicured. And her chest is big enough to support a strapless top. And what is up with that stupid hat?

When I was a little girl I needed a heroine. I needed a girl who could take care of herself and fight all the forces of dark around her the way I wanted to fight against the forces of dark around me. I needed Sydney and Buffy and Xena and Aeryn and Ripley. But back then all they gave my elementary school ass was a girlie girl who thinks bunnies and glitter will save the world.

No thanks.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I had a She-ra lunchbox all through elementary school...never watched the show...just thought she was pretty so I chose that one. No powers huh? She must have been created by men!

  3. Oh, Emily, you're the best! You made me get tears in my eyes reading this, half laughing and half glory. Sydney and Buffy and Aeryn and Scully and Ripley and Veronica Mars. And my beloved Starbuck and Laura "throw them out the airlock" Roslin!

  4. Anonymous4:37 PM

    "She must have been created by men! "

    A man created Buffy. Also, I believe a man created the new version of Battlestar Galactica, with the female Starbuck. Oh, and possibly a man created Veronica Mars, and Ripley, and Scully, and Sydney from Alias.


  5. Anonymous4:59 PM

    Love the post...

    “I've never been to New Zealand before. But one of my role models, Xena, the warrior princess, comes from there.”
    --Madeleine Albright


  6. I don't know She-Ra - thank god! based on how you described her. Horrors. Yeah - the great female "role models" we had to suffer through. And it's still not that great for girls today - most kid/teen programming is still mostly about hero boys and whiny girls.

    Sigh - good post.

  7. My brothers loved He-Man. My sisters and I would fight over who got to be She-Ra when we played with them.

    By the power of Grayskull!

  8. I'm with Matt--some of the most amazing women in lit were created by men and some of the most amazing men created by women.

    I think it has a lot more to do with not being a horrific sexist bonehead or a stupid person with severely limited grasp of human nature. No matter what flavor you are.

  9. I played with She-Ra loads! Never saw the cartoon, but preferred She-Ra as you could do her hair. The only two women in the He-Man collection (the Scorceress and Teela) has plastic hair.
    Of the trgedy of the gay boy.

  10. I, for one, hate "wimpy" women. I like em with muscles and brains. Maybe that's why I read so many Marvel Comics.

    I REALLY hate those damsel in distress type flicks. But then I'd like to have a beautiful abusive female boss so I may not be the best person to ask.

  11. I don't know about action heroes, but I LOVED me some Twin Peaks.


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