Or ‘Sheila’ as a younger version of myself originally misheard. Yes, you can imagine my Mother’s amusement as her young daughter ran around the living room squeaking about how she was now SHEEEEEIIILAAAAAA, the Princess of Power.
The 1980s really was a golden age of overblown children’s television and I am so glad that I grew up with it.
Hopefully, these incredibly informative opening titles have caught up anyone unlucky enough to have missed She-Ra from their cultural Rolodex. He-Man was a beefcake toy invented for little boys who was effectively sold through his own Saturday morning cartoon. She-Ra was created as his female counterpart – a way to sell action toys to little girls – and the formula worked again.
Of course, very few toys and concepts are gender exclusive (listen up) and I adored He-Man. I loved to watch his adventures and, being something of a strange child, I particularly liked Skeletor the baddie. He was so deliciously evil, like a pantomime villain to be booed at but secretly loved. My Dad could do the best impression of his sneering voice – well, I thought it was the best. Here’s the real deal for you:
She-Ra WAS something different though; she was a girl like I was a girl. Her sidekicks were mostly also girls and they all kicked ass and defeated the bad guys. 1980s She-Ra may be far from woke but the overall image of a woman saving the day was a good one to grow up on.
One difference that I have been mulling over for the past few days is the difference in the language used between the battle cries of She-Ra and He-Man which, given the intended gendering of their audiences is important. The boys watching He-Man were taught to raise their sword aloft ‘By the POWER of Greyskull’ and the girls were taught to raise their sword ‘For the HONOUR of Greyskull.’ It’s a subtle difference. Did you spot it?
We could dissect the differences between the two cartoons and how they were both shaped to fit their intended audiences and how these choices then impacted the little powerful little boys and honour-bound little girls of the 1980s but I think that this would be much more fun done over a few glasses of wine and reminiscence of our analogue childhoods.
I am as chuffed as little mint balls that She-Ra has now been rebooted for a whole new generation. The lovely people at Netflix have created a whole new cartoon, where the princesses are still freedom fighters with a new modern aspect, diverse characters, and outfits that look a little more like asses could be kicked in them rather than flashed in them.
We must be STRONG! I love this. I’ve watched a few episodes and really enjoyed them.
There are of course a handful of those who are not happy with the reimagined She-Ra. Sadly, an awful lot of these objections have come from those who think that She-Ra should look more like this.
If you need to get off to a cartoon. Don’t get me wrong, I think this pic is fab but it’s not something that I would want a younger audience confronted with over their cereal.
Do kids still watch cartoons in the morning with their cereal? That was when the cartoons were on in my day. I’m sure that’s why I am a natural morning person – all the really weird cartoons were on at around 6am, remember Sharky & George?
The new She-Ra is ready and waiting on Netflix to inspire a whole new generation to value STRENGTH. I like this message because strength is not just a capability to smash things up but an ability to stand up to bullies, to persevere when things get tough, to be there for your friends. There are so many positive messages that come from ‘We must be STRONG’.
I would love to bake a cake for She-Ra for all of those Saturday mornings and after-school cartoons; for showing a little girl that a woman can wield a sword and fight for what is right.