New ‘SheZow’ Cartoon Pushes Boundaries By Featuring Boy Who Dresses Like A Girl

shezowpicWe’ve seen female characters and superheroes do masculine things for ages, but can you think of a single narrative in pop culture where it’s the other way around? Finally, we have one, and I’m really hoping this cartoon sticks around. It’s a kid’s show on The Hub called “SheZow,” featuring a boy who dresses like a girl and kicks ass.

From the Daily News:

The catch is that SheZow’s alter-ego is actually a 12-year-old boy named Guy, who transforms into a female costumed crime-fighter by uttering the phrase “You Go Girl!” and using a power ring inherited from his dead aunt.

“When I first heard about the show, my reaction was ‘Are you out of your minds?’” Hub CEO Margaret Loesch told the Los Angeles Times of the series created by “Julius & Friends’” Obie Scott Wade. “Then I looked at it, and I thought ‘This is just funny.’”

And the intro video is funny. But I don’t think it’s mocking “girly” things or transgender people, as some might believe. My take is that it’s just normalizing stereotypically female behavior for boys — pink, makeup, glitter, high heels. This is a huge leap for feminism, in my opinion, because encouraging little girls to pursue “male” activities is only half the battle. This show may help to fill in the gap by making it cool for boys to do girly things, too.

Of course, I can already hear the uproar from right-wingers. “SheZow will turn our sons gay! It’s an abomination!” But honestly, who doesn’t know a little boy or two who is attracted to the color pink or who enjoyed trying on his mom’s heels? And how many of these boys actually turned out to be gay? I’d be willing to wager that most boys, especially toddler-aged ones, have done feminine things at some point, but parents don’t discuss it because they’re ashamed or weirded out.

Maybe if this cartoon character was running around forcing all boys to dress like girls I might understand a protest from traditional parents. Although I don’t agree with it, I can understand why “SheZow” might make conservative parents uncomfortable. But from what I can see in the intro video, there’s nothing inherently sexual about this series, and anyone who reads into it that way is just projecting their own prejudices.

Normalizing something that already exists (boys playing dress up) by offering a new cartoon character isn’t a problem in itself. For the families like mine who are excited about this show, their children may really find joy in seeing a superhero who isn’t hyper-masculine. For those who thing it’s vulgar, hey, no one’s making you watch it.

(photo: YouTube)

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    • Blueathena623

      I feel iffy about this, and then I feel guilty for feeling iffy. My gut reaction when I saw it was “oh god, hot pink? A lipstick light saber? Glitter? No.” But then I realized that my reaction was why we need stuff like this. I consider myself pretty feminist, and even I have some internalized issues against stuff being too girly, and I need to get other that.

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        I love this thoughtful comment upvotes for you bunny

      • chickadee

        I too wish that the whole costume didn’t have to be pink, but I love that he inherited it from his aunt and accepts the constructs of the heroic identity.

    • http://sarahhollowell.com/ Sarah Hollowell

      Oh my god this looks amazing. I was definitely worried – before watching the intro – that it was going to be kind of exploitative, but it looks fantastic. We wouldn’t say anything about a show where a girl turned into a masculine superhero, and this looks like it’s just normalizing the reverse.

    • Kheldarson

      I’m just wondering why this is amazing? Sailor Moon did this with the Sailor Stars. Seriously. An entire rock band transformed into Sailor Scouts. Completely female.

      Granted, the later seasons of Sailor Moon were kinda strange…

      • meteor_echo

        The backstory for this season is kind of funny, though. In the manga, Sailor stars were women 100% of the time, but, to add suspense, the director of the 5th season ended up turning them into guys (also because there was no Mamoru in sigh, so he wanted the heroine to have a rivaling love interest – male, of course). I know that Naoko Takeuchi was really, really displeased with those changes; besides, the whole season never god dubbed into English because of this plot twist. So, it’s still awesome that SheZow is making it on North American TV a decade after Sailor Stars didn’t.
        /Sailor Moon geek

      • Tusconian

        Sailor Stars never aired in the United States for exactly that reason, so it’s not a valid comparison. The earlier seasons were also heavily censored in English in regards to the inclusion of a lesbian relationship, and an implied gay relationship that involved a man with long hair resulted in a complete gender change in the first season. Under the guise of “age inappropriate,” despite the fact that 13 and 14 year old girls routinely date college aged and older men without anyone changing THOSE details, despite how poorly they translate into American values. Plus, that was a foreign cartoon, released over 20 years ago. If you could find an American cartoon aimed at kids allowing a positive portrayal of a male doing overly feminine things, that would be more relevant. But it’s fairly difficult to find an American cartoon that positively portrays GIRL heroes being stereotypically feminine, and those that do are usually heavily criticized by parents and critics. Any “cross dressing” allowed would be a one-off joke. Honestly, the only show I can think of that portrays anything close to stereotypical femininity as heroic and positive, and isn’t the target of unreasonable rage, is Kim Possible. And she probably got away with it because she never wore pink. The fact that a boy, in an American children’s show, is doing “girly” things as anything more than a short lived joke at his own expense, it pretty revolutionary.

    • erckma

      Oh my gosh my 4 year old son will love this! He is very into pink, glitter and superheros so this is right up his alley. And he’s not gay. Or maybe he is, who cares? Right now he’s just four and he likes what he likes. Props to Hub for picking a show that’s not easy to pin into a predetermined box.

    • Lastango

      Pure shark-jumping. But that’s a good thing, in the sense it really helps rip the sheet off the gender deconstruction/reconstruction agenda in a way even underinformed people can clue into.

      If there’s finally a “last straw” for parents who don’t want collectivists to destroy the nuclear family and stuff kids into mental Mao-suits to be raised by the village, it will be this sort of very obvious subterfuge.

      Not everyone expects there will be a last straw. Mark Steyn, for one, seems to think it more likely we’ll stay the course and commit cultural suicide. That is, we’ll simply wreck our societal structures, and pass into history.

    • CrazyFor Kate

      Awesome. It’s just awesome. Now we just need Disney to introduce the first lesbian princesses and we’re golden.

    • a man

      wow,last thing i want is my nephew to be wanting to be a super girl for holoween,just shows the corruptness going all the way down to our kids cartoons. Cartoons aren’t even cartoons anymore.

    • Joshep

      Fuck all those people who thinks being gay is a good thing but no you thats not normal we have two different sex
      I really want to these “people” drop dead
      FUCK YOU!!!!!!!!