The Powerpuff Girls’ reboot has generated a lot of interest because of the show’s feminist values. In her article about the show return, Hannah Steinkopf-Frank says: “The core ideas of the show are intact. More than just besting their enemies, the girls prove they can also defy the stereotypes placed on them by the older population of Townsville and its mostly male authority figures.”
Steinkopf-Frank continues exploring the reboot—which is keeping up to date with the modern world—and the new cool theme song does the perfect job: “The sisters have aged, and the show clearly exists in 2016. The girls and townspeople have smartphones, and there is an app to find monsters for hire in your area.”
Once Upon a time, it wasn’t all rainbows and unicorns…
However, I was a young child way before the internet and the social media. There was no Elsa abandoning her Royal duties to be true to herself. There was no Merida fighting for her own freedom. And there was certainly no Tiana working her butt off to make her dream of owning a restaurant come true—even though it was a real representation of a hard-working young woman.
When I was a kid, I loved and watched many cartoons, although most of them didn’t necessarily require saving the world from evil. I grew up learning that the road to success was layered with pain and tears, and sometimes even blood.
Kozue Ayuhara’s—of the Japanese Anime Attack No. 1—dream was to be a volleyball star, but she literally went through hell before she could be the absolute best player of all. Chains at her ankles and constant volley balls’ blows to several body parts were part of her everyday training.
Glass Mask’s Maya wanted to be a professional stage actress, and had to endure a lot of beatings by one of her teachers during her learning process.
Image: Attack No1/TMS Entertainment
We are strong and independent
It wasn’t always like that, though. The Rose of Versailles showed that women are perfectly capable of doing a man’s job—as that’s how being a guard was perceived back then, and the Kisugi sisters from Cat’s Eye showed that you can perfectly manage fighting crime while also running a business. And Little Pollon taught us that good deeds can get you where you want in life.
The ‘90s brought a different generation of Anime, but with slightly different ideals. As Sailor Moon teaches us, you don’t have to be the most popular, or the most beautiful, or even the smartest girl to be special. Usagi was a middle-school clumsy girl who wasn’t doing so good in school, but somehow was destined to become Sailor Moon and fight the forces of evil.
Image: Sailor Moon/Toei Animation
One way or another, we’ve always been taught how to be strong, independent women, and standing up for ourselves is the right way for us to be heard. Even Disney has kept up with the trends, and teaches young girls they don’t always have to be the damsels in distress.
Young girls can learn a lot from recent cartoons, but also really old ones, and there is something they should always remember: never be afraid to be who you want to be.
Let us know your favourite feminist cartoons in the comments below or on Twitter @KettleMag!