She-Ra is the new LGBT cartoon series we love
Netflix has been hitting it out of the park lately with shows that feature LGBT themes and characters, and the rebooted She-Ra cartoon series is one more coming out of the streaming service.
What’s more, our favorite creator, Noelle Stevenson, is at the helm of this series, dubbed “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power”!
Updating She-Ra for the modern times
The new She-Ra cartoon series is based on the 1985 Filmation cartoon series “She-Ra: Princess of Power,” so as to push a female toy line version of the “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” for girls.
But with Stephenson– well-known for her creations “Nimona” and “Lumberjanes” that feature LGBT characters– as showrunner and executive producer of the Netflix reboot, She-Ra has become more than just a marketing tool.
In the 1985 series, She-Ra is Princess Adora, the twin sister of He-Man who was kidnapped and raised by the evil Horde trying to conquer the world of Etheria.
When she meets He-Man and acquires the Sword of Power, she rebels and becomes a freedom-fighter together with other allies.
In the new series, Adora is a recruit of the Horde to become one of its leaders. She’s never known any other life outside of the evil army.
But when she meets the rebels Princess Glimmer and Bow and finds the Sword of Power, she realizes the truth outside her closed-in world and calls on the other princesses of the world to unite against the Horde.
She-Ra and LGBT representation
With the new She-Ra, there’s also LGBT representation present in this show. For example, two of the characters– mistress of nets Netossa and tornado-weaver Spinnerella– are shown to be visibly in love.
Meanwhile, Bow the archer supposedly has two dads (though they never show up). While he dresses up in heart-printed midriffs, he still kicks ass against robot spiders and he also shows some interest in the pirate captain Sea Hawk.
Adora herself seems to have some romantic tension with former bestfriend and nemesis, Catra, a fellow soldier in the Horde. The two had grown up together and both feel betrayed by each other’s actions.
What’s also important to remember that all the princesses aren’t your regular damsels in distress. Their sexuality covers the spectrum as well.
This can be seen in the final battle, when the princesses use their powers to fire a rainbow of light to blast the evil army.
LGBT presentation in She-Ra
The LGBT presentation in a children’s cartoon show can be a bit subtle. As some writers noted, this can be both pleasing for the LGBT community and a sad view of reality.
Writing for CBR, Renaldo Matadeen noted that the relationship of Netossa and Spinnerella was only shown in the final episode: “Again, subtlety is the key, allowing the series to get its message of awareness across, reminding us that we live in a rainbow world where heterosexuality doesn’t necessarily have to be the norm.”
“This series reiterates this by painting the universe as a kaleidoscope with LGBTQ characters living in harmony with each other, with their sexual preference no big deal at all, aka, the way it should be,” Matadeen pointed out.
Meanwhile, Heather Hogan of Autostraddle said: “Really, there’s no way to overstate how brilliantly Stevenson has honored the original series while molding this reboot in her own image. It’s so clear she was adamant about trying to scrub toxic masculinity, gay panic, racism, and honestly even heteronormativity from Etheria.”
“It’s obvious that she’s well-versed in the discourse, aware of where other TV shows, especially animated ones, have succeeded and failed in pushing the conversation forward,” Hogan wrote.
On the other hand, Samantha Puc of Comics Beat liked the series but said the LGBT representation should be a bit more obvious. She pointed out that while Bow supposedly has two gay dads, they aren’t shown in the show.
Puc noted: “To normalize queerness across the spectrum, for all ages, it has to be present. It has to be talked about in the same way that heterosexuality is present and talked about.”
For a taste of what to expect, check out the trailer of the show below: