She-Ra: Princess of Power has become one of the most popular cartoons in America in about a month. With only one season, but so many reasons to love it, the fan base is huge and many people adore it for a good reason.
She-Ra: Princess of Power is a reboot to a show in the 1980s by the same title. The show follows the adventures of a girl named Adora, as she rebels against an evil organization named the Horde and their leader, Hordak.
We have seen many shows have their own reboots, to the point that it has become somewhat common to see reboots. For example, the finished series Voltron: Legendary Defenders is a reboot of a show by the same name.
I have not seen the original She-Ra, so I can’t say whether the two are similar or not, but what I can say is that this American cartoon is one of the most hard-hitting, LGBT and racially inclusive shows I’ve seen in a while.
The only season the show has is made up of 13 episodes, each one about 24 minutes long, including the opening theme song.
While binge-watching the cute series, it was obvious who the target audience was: little kids. It was quite funny for me, a 15 year old, to watch it and enjoy it, too. This show targets children, but it also carries a message of acceptance other shows might not.
While watching the show, the viewer is introduced to a diverse cast of females, and some men, which is a breath of fresh air. I personally was tired of seeing heroes instead of heroines, and I was also fed up with men having to save the damsel in distress.
These females also vary in skin color, superpowers, sexualities, and so on. Mermista, a princess with the ability to control water, has a romantic relationship with a sea captain named Sea Hawk.
Scorpia, a princess who decided to side with the Horde, shows signs of being a butch lesbian. She shows extreme interest in Adora’s ex-best friend and now rival, Catra.
Glimmer, Adora’s now best friend, is also part of the LGBT community, according to many theorists.
Bow, a person of color with no magical abilities who is also friends with Adora and Glimmer, gives off a “bisexual aura”, according to many. He shows a deep adoration towards Sea Hawk but also attends the Princess Ball with Perfuma, a princess with the power over nature.
The show tries its best to represent the LGBT community and it also includes many POC in its episodes. Although it is still a kid show, as one can tell by the wackiness of some characters; scenes; and episodes, it touches on subjects that many other shows might not.
I feel that symbolism is a big deal when it comes to this show.
When Adora finds the sword she uses to transform, I feel that it symbolizes becoming a new person and shaping yourself after escaping from a toxic household. It might also symbolize the sort of rebirth or rediscovery a member of the LGBT community goes through when they find out what their true sexuality is.
The series also touches on the struggles of having a family member missing from your life. We don’t like what happened to Adora’s parents, but we do see the effects Shadow Weaver had on Adora and Catra. Glimmer, whose father died in battle, struggles to have a good relationship with her mother, possibly due to how the death affected both of them.
A character that caught my interest was Princess Frosta, a very powerful princess with the ability to control ice. She is only about 12 years old, but she is so cold-hearted, at least until the end of the show.
She is tasked to care for her kingdom, and she had to fight for many to respect her, which might’ve caused her heart to freeze over. I was left wondering where her parents were, or if they raised her to be cold-hearted and strict, as she was portrayed.
Throughout the show, you see the tension and the conflict rise and shake between Catra and Adora. Many see them as a couple, but I see them as siblings.
Siblings who grew up in an abusive household.
The show hints that the Horde was an abusive home for the two, and you can see the effects a toxic household might have on different people. While Adora rose above it, rebelled, left the home, and found better people who helped her flourish, Catra was left to suffer.
An episode that caught my attention was Episode 7, “In The Shadows of Mystacor”. The episode follows Adora and her paranoia and fear of Shadow Weaver stalking the trio and coming after her to hurt her and her friends. If you pay close attention, you can see that this is how many victims of abuse behave after they escape.
Once victims of domestic abuse, or abuse in general, are able to escape the toxic situations, they are plagued by paranoia. They fear that the person will come back to take them away or ruin their lives again. Many abusers tend to threaten victims by threatening to find them, hurt their loved ones, or other horrid things.
Adora shows signs of having PTSD from living in the confines of the Horde, under Shadow Weaver’s abusive parenting. She sees “shadows” of the sorceress, which may hint at abuse victims having hallucinations and panic attacks at the memory of their abuser. She can’t refer to Shadow Weaver as a mother, she calls her a “commanding officer” in the same episode.
A line that convinced me that this was the symbolism behind the episode was a line said by Bow.
“Sounds like this Shadow Weaver really did a number on you growing up. But you’re okay now. You got away from her.”
Those words said by the bisexual person of color were the ones that made me realize that Adora wasn’t just running from evil, she was running from an abusive household.
There is another episode that further pushes this theory. An episode highlighting Catra, Scorpia, and Entrapta’s plan to harm the Rebellion.
In Episode 12, “Light Hope”, Shadow Weaver throws a fit in anger after Hordak entrusts Catra with the experiment on the Black Garnet instead of her. Catra and she have a small battle, but the words Catra says to her struck me in my heart. It really shows the effect an abusive parent can have on a child.
While Shadow Weaver insults Catra, calls her a disappointment, and other hurtful things, Catra skillfully doges all her throws and magic spells. In my eyes, this is very saddening. Catra is so used to being physically abused by Shadow Weaver that she had learned how to dodge her and fight back.
“How to predict when you’ll strike. How to dodge, how to resist.”, says Catra. “You thought you were punishing me all these years? Wrong.”
“You were training me for this day!”, she finishes as she destroys Shadow Weaver’s power source, which is located on her forehead.
After years of withstanding all that abuse, physical and emotional, Catra finally fights back and wins.
We see how a family is torn apart due to a toxic family member. How Catra feels second best due to Adora being treated better than her. We see how they care for each other, but jealousy and habits that Catra picked up from Shadow Weaver destroy any hopes of reconciling.
Although the show does have its flaws, just like any other show, I feel that this series did Dreamworks justice after the company became infamous for queerbaiting in their reboot of Voltron. With a beautiful art style, amazing symbolism, and flawed characters, the show is fun but relatable, which is probably why any of all ages sat down to enjoy it.
Hopefully, a second season comes out soon.
I just want readers to know that this is entirely a theory of mine. I have read up on toxic households and abusive relationships and I saw some signs of that in the show and in the main characters, Adora and Catra. If you disagree, that is totally fine.
I’ll probably release a review on the final season of Voltron. Thank you for reading!