Why Do We Need More Representation Like The She-Ra Reboot?
If you’re like me, you get overwhelmed quite easily with the ridiculous amount of choices for online streaming. With so many options, it’s often difficult to choose just one or two shows. Honestly, though? If you haven’t watched the 2018 reboot of She-Ra, I highly suggest you do if you like animated shows. Thank me later.
What’s so great about the reboot, you ask? The short answer is: everything. The longer answer? Well, besides the witty humor, amazing cast, fun character interactions, and emotional story, I personally loved how effortlessly inclusive She-Ra was
Representation in body types
Many of the characters, both main and minor, have diverse body types. As a fat person, I was delighted to be constantly seeing people with physiques similar to mine on screen. Their bodies are never brought up or made fun of, either. It was a breath of fresh air.
Additionally, the men and women of the show don’t fall into certain body types simply because of their gender. For example, one of my favorite characters, Scorpia, is tall with muscles and broad shoulders despite being a woman. Many of the men, on the other hand, aren’t stereotypically musclebound meatheads just because they’re men, either.
Representation in race
Most of the main characters are technically Etherian, not human, but many of them are basically identical to humans, including the different races. The main character, Adora, is white, but most of the princesses are not.
For example, Mermista, the princess of Salineas, appears to be coded as South Asian. Netossa, another princess, is coded to be black. We also get to see characters outside of the princesses, such as Bow, who is black. He has two dads, who are both also black.
Representation in gender and sexuality
Speaking of two dads, Bow’s dads are only one example of gay representation in She-Ra. The aforementioned Netossa has a wife, Spinarella, and we get to see them snuggle, kiss, and call each other pet names. There is one more blatant example of gay representation in the show, but I won’t name it due to spoilers. However, rest assured that this couple say they love each other and kiss on screen, so their romance is neither subtextual nor deniable.
There is even at least one canonically nonbinary character in the show, Double Trouble, who goes by they/them pronouns. None of the characters question this or find it strange, which is another breath of fresh air in the show.
None of the representation in the show feels “unnatural” (since that is a thing some people try to argue with certain media), but it’s not the only good thing about She-Ra. In my opinion, the storyline and humor are top-notch. And yes, I did cry more times than I care to remember during my watch of this show. It’s one of those shows I wish I could completely forget just to be able to rewatch it all from scratch.
I’m glad that more cartoons like She-Ra and The Owl House are bringing us diversity and representation. It’s important for children, teenagers, and young people in general to be able to identify with characters they see on screen. I know I would have greatly appreciated commonly seeing myself positively represented as a child in shows like She-Ra, but better late than never!
Hopefully, these recent cartoons are only one step towards making media more inclusive for everyone.
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