Surprise – gender-bending SheZow does not bring about apocalypse and end of childhood
Last night saw the premiere episode “SheZow Happens” of the contentious gender-bending show SheZow. If you haven’t heard of the it: Guy is typical teenage boy who inherits a power ring that turns him into female superhero SheZow.
In the week before the premiere, various media outlets began to debate the child appropriateness of SheZow. Things kicked off with show Breitbart News’s Editor-At-Large Ben Shapiro posted, “the Hub […] is trotting out its latest soon-to-be-dud, SheZow. […] The chief executive of the Hub, who may or may not have been high (and leftist) when she green lit this project, is Margaret Loesch.” The top rated comment on the article reads “Why is the left determined to pollute the minds of our children?”
Then, the New York Daily News quoted GLAAD’s Rich Ferraro saying, “This Breitbard News article is just a laughable attempt at attention seeking, comparable to Jerry Falwell attacking the Teletubbies, and demonstrates a profound ignorance of transgender people since this show doesn’t include any.”
i09 recently spoke to the show’s creator Obie Scott Wade, who was surprised by the reactions. Wade insisted that he had no political agenda with the creation of the show, and that the show, “is more about the responsibility that he has to take on, and less about gender.”
Gender-bending isn’t anything new in media, from Mrs. Doubtfire to White Chicks. Although there is the expected comedy on gender paradigms, when well done gender swapping is simply another medium for the main character to discover him/herself. And that’s what we saw in last night’s episode.
The 30-minute premiere simply saw a young boy come to grips with a new power – SheZow – while discovering a handy-dandy supercomputer, transforming car and a sidekick in his sister. Nowhere in the episode was there any mention of gender normative roles, sexism, feminism, transgender or any of the big issues that Ben Shapiro foretold would bring about the end of childhood. The fact that SheZow is a female superhero is mentioned and laughed at but never becomes a serious problem. Because, guess what, being a girl really isn’t that tragic. Like Ben Ten or Danny Phantom, Guy is just another Cartoon Network boy transforming into a superhero that he’s trying to understand. Yes, the superhero happens to be female, but just because Ben Ten turns into aliens doesn’t mean he wants to topple all religious dogma. The premiere episode showed readers what we all knew, SheZow is just another Cartoon Network series (with a bit of a gender spin) and Ben Shapiro’s just another homophobe with a soapbox.
Image via DeviantArt