Production companies: Filmation Mattel, Dreamworks Animation Television, and NE4U
Creator: Noelle Stevenson
Voices: Aimee Carrero, Karen Fukuhara, AJ Michalka, Marcus Scribner, Reshma Shetty, Lorraine Toussaint, Lauren Ash, Christine Woods, Genesis Rodriguez, Vella Lovell, Merit Leighton, Adam Ray, Jordan Fisher, and Keston John
About: She-Ra, Princess of Power, leads a rebellion to free her land of Etheria from the monstrous invaders the Horde. (IMDb)
Thoughts: When She-Ra originally debuted I was a young girl in a world firmly rooted in the ideals of patriarchy with little representation outside of the American “ideal”. She-Ra emulated that thought process with her caring girl next door persona packed in a male pleasing shape. But none of that drew me in like the fact that a strong woman was being presented as a counter to the male dominated world of heroes. Like Wonder Woman, she seldom needed help saving herself or her world, and did it all with empathy, an attribute seemingly not worth attributing to male centered cartoon figures. I was fascinated and happy, but wanted more. It took 33 years but I finally got the She-Ra I wish I had when I was a kid, and just in time to make the impact needed in our next generation. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power introduces us to Adora from a place of conflict. Her life is dictated by the world she has known amongst the Hive and her relationship with Catra, her closest friend and, later, her arch nemesis. Her realization that the cause she was so invested in is actually a force of oppression awakens a new mentality for her, and a new power as She-Ra. It is the continuous self awareness she must maintain to bring forth the power of She-Ra that amplifies a storyline already rooted in its own vigilance. Each season brought more characters that redefine power in their defiance of social “norms”. From Bow’s ability to openly express all his emotions devoid of toxic masculinity, to Double Trouble’s effortless non-binary positioning in the storyline, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power’s triumphs in rewriting our expectations culminated to a bittersweet ending with season five. For as much as the first four seasons had prepared us for a battle that would leave us cheering over female empowerment, it also amplified the shows most powerful lesson; that nothing is won without empathy and unification. The final season magnifies the way each character is tied to another, and how they come to that understanding, and the ultimate impact of said ties. They learn the force of their empathy for each other, and for the Horde allies, ultimately opening themselves to the power they need to save their world.
Worth it? Necessary. From a cast reflective of the diversity amongst us, effortlessly presented as equally capable of love, anger, and all the emotions in between that make us human, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is worthy of all the praise. As a cartoon it holds the indelible quality of reflecting the strength in our differences while reminding us of our deep rooted ties to each other, all in a way that appeals to our children. It gives them the answers to the questions we don’t know they have, and weaves the ideals of empathy beyond the limitations of tolerance and acceptance, to build a new social “normal” of humanity.
Have you seen the last season? Want to talk to me about this show? Feel free to chat with me on Twitter or leave a comment below.