"We never considered or wrote for She-Ra as 'the ideal woman.'"
July 20, 2018 3:45 PM   Subscribe

Recently, Lumberjanes writer Noelle Stevenson tweeted a set of images showing off the art style for her latest project: a reboot of the classic cartoon series She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. While the new designs got rave reviews from many fans, a vocal contingent complained that the designs were not "appealing" enough, with some even attacking Stevenson herself over the redesign. In turn, other fans have been fighting back, pointing out how disturbing and creepy their argument really is.

The lede comes from a Twitter thread by She-Ra co-creator J. Michael Straczynski, in which he discusses his intent behind the character, and how misguided the critics are.
posted by NoxAeternum (94 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
I did not realize this was a Noelle Stevenson initiative! I'd not been super interested since I never got into She-Ra, etc, as a child but now I'm interested.
posted by Frowner at 3:48 PM on July 20, 2018 [8 favorites]


The funny thing is that I remember skimming an article about the She Ra reboot and not being that interested. But now that I've seen the art I'm all in!
posted by selfnoise at 3:52 PM on July 20, 2018 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I think the design is well done, and actually representative of the character (remember, Adora is supposed to be 16.) Which is why the argument that she's not "attractive" (read: sexualized) enough has me just cringing and wishing the animation fandom was less fucking creepy.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:56 PM on July 20, 2018 [28 favorites]


It's mentioned twice that the reboot is targeted to a "younger" audience. I'm thinking both were and are targeted to the same age demographic.
posted by Brocktoon at 3:57 PM on July 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


I've watched all of She-Ra fairly recently and she struck me as looking older than she behaved. It was hard to imagine an adult acting the way she does. This is perfect.
posted by tofu_crouton at 4:03 PM on July 20, 2018


Why is everything so, so, so stupid
posted by JamesBay at 4:04 PM on July 20, 2018 [54 favorites]


Is this the thing where we take the most ridiculous view of 1 weirdo, and use it to paint the other 99 weirdos with the broadest strokes possible?

and use those 100 weirdos as evidence of some big problem?

There are 1 billion english language speakers on the internet. It doesn't really mean anything when a handful of them have opinions on things you wish they didn't.

That being said, the art style is nice. Not every cartoon body has to be a caricature.
posted by KBGB at 4:06 PM on July 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


Is this the thing where we take the most ridiculous view of 1 weirdo, and use it to paint the other 99 weirdos with the broadest strokes possible?

No.
posted by Revvy at 4:08 PM on July 20, 2018 [68 favorites]


This is a thing where I heard about it because the "1 weirdo" was organizing the usual misogynist hate-brigade to harass women because having, like, a TV show that isn't about his childhood proto-pants-feelings is a huge injury. If it were one weirdo who kept his feelings to himself, it wouldn't matter. I mean, I absolutely loathe [redacted popular and beloved recent science fiction artifact], for instance, but I don't think it's my job to make the people who like it miserable and fearful.
posted by Frowner at 4:11 PM on July 20, 2018 [60 favorites]


And it's specifically a thing where the misogynist hate-brigade is attacking women, if you'll read the article, on basis of changing the art of a specific character aimed at children to look more like a teenager and less sexy. It's men being pissed at media for girls--little girls--for not being sexy enough, and organizing to throw homophobic and misogynist commentary at a popular female creator attached to the show.

I mean, if it doesn't matter to you that's fine, but I've been seeing this in my twitter feeds for a few days now. When I see people being shitheads to people like me and not receiving censure for it, I think something about the acceptability of that behavior. One dude with a bad opinion is one thing; a lot of dudes with a shitty opinion who are making damn sure that everyone hears about their opinions are something else, especially if no one else responds to tell them it's shitty.
posted by sciatrix at 4:18 PM on July 20, 2018 [68 favorites]


I didn't expect to hear the pro-weirdo argument here, but sure, let's talk about it. It's easy to take campaigns like this and dismiss them saying "It's only a few weirdos" or "Everyone has opinions you don't like." But that's not really what's happening here.

There's a lot of people on the internet, but it's easy for one person to be louder than another person on the internet, and it's easy for a few loud people on the internet to make themselves seem like a lot of loud people, and it's easy for a lot of loud people to make a few undeserving people really miserable on the internet by funneling hate and abuse at them.

It's not 100 weirdos expressing their opinion, it's a large group of hateful jerks painting a target on someone they perceive as worthy of their scorn, and spreading their argument with insincere "concerns" about the "quality" of the production. To say anything less is to belittle the experience of the Noelle Stevenson and the other people working on the show. For heavens' sake the show hasn't even been revealed beyond a few images and already people have opinions and even more people are riding to the defense of these opinions. These opinions are rooted in transphobia and misogyny and don't deserve any defense.

I think the show looks great. If they can make something cool for kids out of She-Ra of all things, I'm for it.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:19 PM on July 20, 2018 [18 favorites]


sorry to derail the conversation,

but I still come here because I am very much interested in mountains, but every time I set out to to climb a mountain mentioned here I find a mole hill.

I tried to find the controversy so that I could understand where the critics were coming from, and try to understand better how they saw the world, and I couldn't find anything.
posted by KBGB at 4:20 PM on July 20, 2018


I'm willing to bet 99% of the men raising a big stink about She-Ra had absolutely ZERO opinions about the original cartoon until these images dropped. This is just another excuse for all the petulant little manchildren to saddle up and harass another female creator into silence for being a woman.
posted by SansPoint at 4:21 PM on July 20, 2018 [51 favorites]


"I tried to find the controversy so that I could understand where the critics were coming from, and try to understand better how they saw the world, and I couldn't find anything."

We Hunted the Mammoth has you covered.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:24 PM on July 20, 2018 [52 favorites]


I think the design is well done, and actually representative of the character (remember, Adora is supposed to be 16.)

I think it’s...complicated? Like, I support heroines being drawn a lot of different ways whether I like the designs or not, but the argument it’s actually representative to have a flatter chest whereas a curvier She-Ra would not be kind of doesn’t jive with my reality as a large breasted teenager.

Honestly if I had my druthers I would put She-Ra in a middling figure and sometimes she would wear sexy clothing because teenagers do sometimes do that thing, and sometimes she would wear frumpy armor or loungewear and it just wouldn’t matter because she would be badass all the time, and people would just treat her like an actual teenager.
posted by corb at 4:31 PM on July 20, 2018 [9 favorites]


I hadn’t read enough Reddit to know that it’s cool in some circles to tacitly admit that you get off on cartoons of underage children, but ew.
posted by mantecol at 4:32 PM on July 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


I mean, I was once a little girl who was a huge fan of She-Ra, and I was both puzzled and disappointed by the sketches I’ve seen of the reboot. I will say, I like the defined delts on the new She-Ra! It’s awesome that she looks strong. But this She-Ra looks pretty androgynous to me, and as a little girl, I really liked that She-Ra was in some ways a stereotypical pretty princess, because she was the ONLY “pretty pretty princess” on TV at that time who could kick ass — and it was important to me to see that, that girly girls could kick ass too. (NB: we did briefly also have a kickass princess on the Thundercats — and I adored her.)

But I’m not understanding why it’s controversy, obviously reboots will do things differently, otherwise what’s the point?
posted by mylittlepoppet at 4:34 PM on July 20, 2018 [13 favorites]


It's mentioned twice that the reboot is targeted to a "younger" audience. I'm thinking both were and are targeted to the same age demographic.

Yeah. It’s probably fair to assume they mean “younger” than the audience who watched She-Ra in 1987 is now.

Because, um, we were in kindergarten, y’all. Just old enough to beg for the toys, and just young enough not to understand the concept of “No.” He-Man and She-Ra were made for the exact same demographic as the Care Bears and the Smurfs, complete with explicitly spelled-out hand-holding moral-of-the-story segments at the end. Complete failure to understand (or concede) that they were cartoons for very young children has sunk every MOTU project ever since.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:35 PM on July 20, 2018 [15 favorites]


i'm so confused by this tweet...is it sarcastic? is it serious? please let it not be a serious tweet by someone named Diversity & Comics


help
posted by capnsue at 4:37 PM on July 20, 2018 [5 favorites]


if they'd stop rebooting things we wouldn't have so many of our stupid calcified adult opinions screwing up things that are supposed to be for kids because we can't fucking let go

I mean for fucks sake what giant media properties do Kids These Days even have that's their own?

fucking Minecraft?

I'm sorry, kids. I'm sorry. We should have grown the fuck up and made new things for you.

n.b. I like the new She-Ra
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:38 PM on July 20, 2018 [29 favorites]


Just old enough to beg for the toys, and just young enough not to understand the concept of “No.”

So what, you're saying these assholes are in the target demographic?
posted by biogeo at 4:41 PM on July 20, 2018 [12 favorites]


What I find funny is last month, the reboot fervor was about how everything is Calarts and looks the same, and now it's that she-ra looks too different.
posted by dinty_moore at 4:41 PM on July 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


(That was sarcasm directed towards the man-children, in case it wasn't clear.)
posted by biogeo at 4:42 PM on July 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


This is the most insane and bind-boggling of all the comments from the he-babies:

Boyish lesbian re-imagines SHE-RA as a boyish lesbian. The utter selfishness and egotism of this is astounding.

Yeah, SHE'S the one being selfish, the artist doing the actual fucking work. Not the angry manchild who thinks that everything should cater to him.
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:49 PM on July 20, 2018 [55 favorites]


Someone in the previous Sailor Moon thread mentioned that the majority of CalArts animation grads in 2012 were women. Now those women are starting to get positions and influence and LO AND BEHOLD CalArts style is widely considered to be a cancer and the newest target of the gators. They'd piss themselves if Noelle Stevenson were doing this in her unfiltered personal style.

Fuck you for everything, John K.

I was the biggest She-Ra fan you could ask for as a kid, and I never even knew that She-Ra was supposed to be a teenager. I had very hazy ideas about the line between teenagers and grownups, but I knew that Skipper was a teen and Barbie was a grownup. Nobody in the original She-Ra lineup looked like a Skipper.
posted by Countess Elena at 4:53 PM on July 20, 2018 [34 favorites]


That tweet ain’t the half of it. Dude has a video devoted to it on his YouTube channel of the same name. It is half an hour long. Plenty of others with “SJW” in the title. I don’t think this guy is celebrating diversity in comics.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:56 PM on July 20, 2018 [5 favorites]


Fuck you for everything, John K.

Yeah, it's worth remembering that the "CalArts style" slur comes from a predatory pedophile who has been a cancer in Western animation from the get-go.
posted by NoxAeternum at 4:58 PM on July 20, 2018 [18 favorites]


There's so much that is bad and gross and wrong about this but possibly most baffling is how many men seem to believe women in the real world voluntarily select their breast size as a reflection of their sexual orientations? Or possibly, that women choose their orientations to suit their breast size?

.... that's ... not how this works, that's not how any of this works.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 5:04 PM on July 20, 2018 [54 favorites]


("this" = the idiots upset by a new She-Ra, of course. Not the new design, which is awesome.)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 5:05 PM on July 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


I watched both He-Man and She-Ra as a young boy. I assure you that any guy my age complaining about this She-Ra reboot now absolutely hated the show as a kid. I couldn't count how many times I was picked on for enjoying She-Ra. This "outrage" is 100% about it being created by women.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 5:05 PM on July 20, 2018 [36 favorites]


I wish the MGTOW contingent would just GO already.
posted by kalessin at 5:08 PM on July 20, 2018 [7 favorites]


And the outrage is being allowed to eat itself on Twitter, which somehow we just expect to happen. People have always gotten unreasonably het up about fictional characters, but we really don't have to live in a world where a comics writer needs a bodyguard to go to a con. That happened to the guy who wrote the Batman wedding arc, and now I expect something similarly awful will be brought home to poor Noelle Stevenson, too, who only ever brought light into the world with her drawings.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:12 PM on July 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


I was the biggest She-Ra fan you could ask for as a kid, and I never even knew that She-Ra was supposed to be a teenager. I had very hazy ideas about the line between teenagers and grownups, but I knew that Skipper was a teen and Barbie was a grownup. Nobody in the original She-Ra lineup looked like a Skipper.

Ditto. It didn’t help that all the middle-aged voice actors (there were four of them, for a cast of thousands) sounded even older than they already were.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:14 PM on July 20, 2018 [7 favorites]


I'm sorry, kids. I'm sorry. We should have grown the fuck up and made new things for you.

My dude. My dude. Do you even television, my dude?

Steven Universe. Gravity Falls. Adventure Time. Star vs. the Forces of Evil.

We are at this very moment at an amazing high water mark of children's animated television. There are a number of properties that are rad as heck and made of brand spanking new IP. Plus, the rebooted programs are often really, really good. MLP: Friendship is Magic and Star Wars: Rebels spring immediately to mind.

And it's not as though rebooted properties are a new phenomenon. When I was a kid watching cartoons twenty-five to thirty years ago the hottest animated television was repackaged Disney and Warner Bros. characters that were forty to fifty years old (Ducktales, Batman: The Animated Series, Tiny Toon Adventures, etc.).

When I was a kid I felt bad for previous generations because my cartoons were so much better than theirs. Thirty years later I look at what the kids are getting and I am mad jealous.

Kids, you can thank us later.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 5:19 PM on July 20, 2018 [33 favorites]


The Diversity & Comics guy is a gamergate-style racist and sexist dude but for comics.
posted by Mavri at 5:24 PM on July 20, 2018 [13 favorites]


Walk into a toy store and see how many times you could fit all of the combined merch from those shows you mentioned into the Marvel section

I'm aware of that quality cartoons exist but literally every Steven Universe fan I've ever encountered has been a grown-ass adult
posted by prize bull octorok at 5:30 PM on July 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


To digress for a moment from the dreadfulness of this dreadful world, what I really want from Noelle Stephenson though is an animated Broship of the Rings.

When I am alone and feeling bad, sometimes I say to myself, I am no bro!!! and feel a little better.
posted by Frowner at 5:47 PM on July 20, 2018 [8 favorites]


I do think that a lot of newer cartoon properties vary by the age range of the kids. I don’t know any kids under the age of nine who watch Steven Universe, but every kid I know ages ten through adult does. I know a kid who is currently six who was four when he became an enormous Gravity Falls fan, to the point that his family opted to detour their vacation road trip by several hours to find the petrified Bill Cipher.

And yeah, the series’ that I mentioned do seem less likely (I believe by design) to sell massive numbers of toys. Everyone can decide for themselves whether or not that is a problem but toys stores have for the most part not seemed to me like places interested in selling to kids for about the last decade.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 5:49 PM on July 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also maybe some of these people should get, like, honor guards at cons. Nimona and Broship both cheered me up at a time when I was really, really pretty down, and if Noelle is somehow going to be hassled at cons, surely we could all just form, like, a gladsome mob to carry her in to panels on a wave of enthusiasm.
posted by Frowner at 5:49 PM on July 20, 2018 [18 favorites]


i'm so confused by this tweet...is it sarcastic? is it serious? please let it not be a serious tweet by someone named Diversity & Comics

“Diversity & Comics” is at the lead of something calling itself “comicsgate” and, as you would expect from that, a Nazi account.
posted by Artw at 5:50 PM on July 20, 2018 [8 favorites]


Lumberjanes is great, but I really liked the subversive humor of Nimona. Nimona shows up at a supervillain's lair and declares herself his sidekick. He is surprisingly chill with this. Both books could serve as classes in how to do Strong Female Characters without falling into outmoded tropes.

From her track record, I expect She-Ra will rule.
posted by zompist at 5:55 PM on July 20, 2018 [13 favorites]


but toys stores have for the most part not seemed to me like places interested in selling to kids for about the last decade.

Which kind of speaks to my point that adult geek culture is a suffocating influence over entertainment properties that are supposed to be for kids
posted by prize bull octorok at 5:58 PM on July 20, 2018 [11 favorites]


Possibly because gross incel mall ninja culture has created a generation of manchildren who don’t have anything to spend their money on except Funko Pops of media properties from their childhood, so they expect that all children’s media continue to be aimed at them.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:14 PM on July 20, 2018 [7 favorites]


I was officially "outgrown cartoons" when He-Man and She-Ra first appeared, hated everything from Filmation except the animated Star Trek, and assumed everything about those shows were supposed to be 'toyetic', i.e. supporting the related action figures, so She-Ra's body had to resemble Barbie's.

Still, if I had known J. Michael Straczynski's first TV break was with She-Ra, I'd have been much more skeptical of Babylon 5... his prior credits on Murder She Wrote were problematic enough.

But I thoroughly support Noelle Stevenson's rebooting, since Nimona is on my shelf of webcomic hardcopies, right between Digger and A Redtail's Dream.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:16 PM on July 20, 2018


Also maybe some of these people should get, like, honor guards at cons. Nimona and Broship both cheered me up at a time when I was really, really pretty down, and if Noelle is somehow going to be hassled at cons, surely we could all just form, like, a gladsome mob to carry her in to panels on a wave of enthusiasm.

Read today that one of the guys involved in the forthcoming Batman wedding story is touring Comic Con with a bodyguard because of somewhat credible death threats.

I'd buy the "It's the art style" rationalization if similar levels of hate were directed at other series also using a cartoony style. (Or characterization, or script, or game mechanics, or just about every other case where something "coincidentally" featuring women, POC, or LGBTQ people gets brigaded.)
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 6:19 PM on July 20, 2018 [4 favorites]


This is so cool. I’m an uber She-Ra fangirl (Jen, too) and the new style looks so cool. I love how expressive everything is. Also, did they really make Bo a POC? If so, awesome!!!!!
posted by Deoridhe at 6:21 PM on July 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


dipshits:
1985: She-Ra sucks!
2018: OMG you ruined She-Ra!

fuck off dipshits, this looks p.awesome to me.
posted by Sternmeyer at 6:22 PM on July 20, 2018 [9 favorites]


I know a kid who is currently six who was four when he became an enormous Gravity Falls fan, to the point that his family opted to detour their vacation road trip by several hours to find the petrified Bill Cipher.

Wait, what? There's a petrified Bill Cipher out there that one could actually find, presumably in Oregon somewhere?

Because, um, I might know someone who also needs to detour a vacation road trip to find it. A friend. Yeah.
posted by wildblueyonder at 6:40 PM on July 20, 2018 [4 favorites]


The art style has a bit of Miyazaki to me, which everyone should appreciate, and Noelle Stevenson is a goddamn treasure. These guys (of course they’re guys) should be fired from internetting.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:42 PM on July 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


But is the story any good? Seriously, that's all I care about. I liked the look of the old She-Ra. I like the look of the new.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:59 PM on July 20, 2018


What I find funny is last month, the reboot fervor was about how everything is Calarts and looks the same, and now it's that she-ra looks too different.

Yeah this is reeaally stretching the boundaries of the supposed "CalArts style" thing. This is like filtering the original through a bit of anime and a bit of... Dragon's Lair, or something.

(Stuff like the Thundercats reboot does look pretty bad and unoriginal to me - fitting right in with the crappy animation of the original Thundercats!)
posted by atoxyl at 7:13 PM on July 20, 2018


While the new designs got rave reviews from many fans, a vocal contingent complained that the designs were not "appealing" enough

You don't even need values for this, just cold business logic. That should make it easier for a lot of people.

Q1) Who is the market for this entertainment product?

Q2) Does that market find it appealing? Yes?

Conclusion) Then everyone else STFU, please.
posted by rokusan at 7:23 PM on July 20, 2018


I had soo soo many of the toys when I was 9 and 10. I had watched He-Man but I loved She-Ra and her flying horse and I can't remember any of the plots because why would I, but those toys plus my immense collection of My Little Ponies were my treasures. Also I'm another kid who never realized she was supposed to be a teenager - if you had asked me I would have said she was in her twenties.

Noelle Stevenson is great, and I love Lumberjanes and have a print of one of her Avengers drawings, but I can't say I love the design. Nevertheless, any angry old school fans can cram it. The new My Little Pony cartoon is infinitely superior to the one I watched, but the new ponies are freakish bug-eyed things and you don't see me complaining about it to anybody besides my husband as we wander the aisles of the Target, do you?
posted by PussKillian at 7:27 PM on July 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


The art style has a bit of Miyazaki to me

I was thinking Utena (the hair, the skirt, those triangle shoulders), which is totally fitting. She-ra is not likely to turn into a car, but we can only hope.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:31 PM on July 20, 2018 [5 favorites]


sweet merciful pogo-chopsticks there are so many good men in the world so how did we end up with the stubborn little nitbabies being the ones in charge?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:30 PM on July 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


Was never a huge She-Ra fan, but can't wait for this. Personally, I hate hyper-"realistic" animation-to-Barbie-doll pipeline character designs. They squick me out.
posted by schroedinger at 8:50 PM on July 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


Also I'm another kid who never realized she was supposed to be a teenager - if you had asked me I would have said she was in her twenties.

Here's a sample of one of the cartoons I found at random, where she sounds like she's about 45. Or maybe a 35-year-old who smokes a pack a day (it was the '80s after all).
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 9:03 PM on July 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


I had very hazy ideas about the line between teenagers and grownups, but I knew that Skipper was a teen and Barbie was a grownup. Nobody in the original She-Ra lineup looked like a Skipper.

The original, flat-chested Skipper doll was designed as a preteen, and her introduction was a response to parents who thought Barbie was too sexy for their daughters. Barbie herself was explicitly meant to be in her teens, and had "Teenage Fashion Model" right on her packaging. Skipper has been aged three times: in the late 1970s, middle 1980s, and late 2000s. Each body was a bit taller and physically mature, if you know what I mean, nod nod, wink wink. Barbie moved away from the teenage identity somewhere in the late 1970s-early 1980s.

The original She-Ra was must-see TV for my sister and me. I'm really excited about the reboot, and absolutely love the new design. Those girls look like they could kick butt and get stuff done.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:03 PM on July 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


I always assumed She-Ra - and He-Man - were in their 30s. They never seemed like teens.

The kids on the Thundercats were teens.
posted by jb at 9:22 PM on July 20, 2018 [6 favorites]


I wonder if the creation of She-Ra was in any way prompted by a perceived need (on the part of "the suits," or maybe morality watchdogs who pressured the studio) to make sure that He-Man looked straight. Because He-Man has the potential to be pretty queer. It's basically a bunch of scantily clad, really muscly dudes (and dude-monsters) wrestling around. There's maybe 4 or 5 women at the most in the original cartoon, so I can totally imagine some parents upset when they see their 8 yr old son and his friends mashing together plastic dolls that look like they were modeled on those muscle-man fetish pictures from the 1950s.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:32 PM on July 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


It's really the alter-egos of He-Man and She-Ra -- Prince Adam and Princess Adora -- that are teenagers. When they transform into their heroic counterparts, they become more adult. It's a childhood fantasy about being "Big." (reference Tom Hanks movie)

And now that I had to look up She-Ra's name, I see that she and Prince Adam are brother & sister, which makes things a little stickier (no gross pun intended). Although, I can also picture them deciding to make her his sister so that they didn't sexualize things TOO much. The possibility that they fuck can't actually be on the table (and they certainly can't fuck on the table), because even if there's a hint of a romantic relationship, kids will imagine it. But just having an attractive female in the general vicinity sort of heteros the whole place up a bit.
posted by Saxon Kane at 9:39 PM on July 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: just having an attractive female in the general vicinity sort of heteros the whole place up a bit.
posted by medusa at 9:42 PM on July 20, 2018 [6 favorites]


If you think this is baiting the haters, Joss Whedon and others are working on a revival of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for which "the plan is to cast Buffy as a black woman, with emphasis placed on a diverse cast in general".

While I am generally "HELL YEAH" toward the concept, I have to ask: have there ever been black parents who named their daughter "Buffy"??
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:49 PM on July 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


Was a big fan of He-Man as a kid, never gave too much of a damn about She-Ra, but also will follow Noelle Stevenson into the depths of something weird because she's awesome. Everyone else can go get bent.
posted by drewbage1847 at 9:52 PM on July 20, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'd probably watch if it were in Gingerhaze's signature style

/I'M A SHARK
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:38 PM on July 20, 2018 [3 favorites]


> have there ever been black parents who named their daughter "Buffy"?

I tried to Google this, and learned that Buffy is one of the top 10 names for chickens.

So there's that.
posted by rokusan at 10:59 PM on July 20, 2018 [2 favorites]


Two things to point out:

One, Stevenson tweeted this recently as well, which is full of d'aww and happy.

Two, there was this great comment from elsewhere, which really sums up why this fight is so fucking draining:
You know what my favorite thing about shitty cis het white dudes is. Even when they say something entirely obviously shitty that clearly has no basis in anything legitimate and does not remotely matter, everyone still devotes days of bandwidth to paying attention to their opinion. Dissecting it, arguing with it, pointing out the flaws in their argument, pretending as if anything their saying has any validity whatsoever. It's the exact attention they assume they deserve and utterly do not. God I long for the day when people just ignore pissy guys on the internet. And I feel really bad for the creative staff for She-Ra, they put out a cool thing, primarily focused at young girls, and we all collectively decided to let shitty cis het white dudes once again dominate the conversation.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:20 PM on July 20, 2018 [23 favorites]


I wonder if the creation of She-Ra was in any way prompted by a perceived need (on the part of "the suits," or maybe morality watchdogs who pressured the studio) to make sure that He-Man looked straight. Because He-Man has the potential to be pretty queer.

Why, what ever do you mean?
posted by Sys Rq at 12:14 AM on July 21, 2018 [13 favorites]


I LOVED She-Ra and I'm extremely excited for this reboot. The new art style is cool and different and the scenery is gorg.

I was chatting to a friend about old She-Ra and we both really liked that she was a mature, confident woman. Adora was a teenager, but She-Ra was a grown woman who took charge and routinely humiliated Hordak and his minions. I basically had heart eyes whenever She-Ra appeared on screen. Adora was no slouch, either. She was a former force captain who escaped from Hordak's control to become the leader of the rebellion.

I'm curious if new, younger She-Ra will be as confident and powerful as her predecessor.
posted by Stonkle at 2:07 AM on July 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


I just hope they don't change the theme song too much, as a kid it was that music that put She-Ra over He-Man for me.
posted by grog at 7:53 AM on July 21, 2018


I'm curious if new, younger She-Ra will be as confident and powerful as her predecessor.

I expect her to be. However Netflix really screwed up the reboot of ReBoot pretty bad by not keeping in the original tone.
posted by mikelieman at 8:29 AM on July 21, 2018


Ok, I'm an actual fan of She-Ra, and I grew up with it. I was 10-11 when the show aired. And I hate the redesign with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns. This is why.

So what I saw was that you had this mature, curvy, attractive woman who was kickass and not overly sexualized either. I loved that as a kid-- that and TV Wonder Woman. There was not a lot of that out there in the 80s, and I thought it was awesome.

But now she's been redesigned, she looks like... Ben 10. She looks like a 14 year old boy with a long mullet. She's someone with no lips, breasts or hips. Kid me would have hated the redesign. And adult me hates it because it implies that you can only be a woman of action if you don't actually look like a woman.

What I hate even more about this "controversy" is that the people who have legitimate criticisms of this redesign are being drowned out by the MRAs and Gamergater cranks.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 9:27 AM on July 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


if you don't actually look like a woman

Speaking as a woman who was also in elementary school when She-Ra aired, maybe we could be a little more careful when about talking about what "actual women" look like?
posted by evidenceofabsence at 10:30 AM on July 21, 2018 [17 favorites]


So what I saw was that you had this mature, curvy, attractive woman who was kickass and not overly sexualized either.

She's shaped like a Barbie Doll and dressed in skimpy clothing. She's supposed to be 16. How was she not sexualized?

She looks like a 14 year old boy with a long mullet. She's someone with no lips, breasts or hips. Kid me would have hated the redesign. And adult me hates it because it implies that you can only be a woman of action if you don't actually look like a woman.

Glad you're here to tell us what women look like. What if maybe the strength of this redesign is that it doesn't impose a singular, male-gaze-defined way for women to look?
posted by schroedinger at 10:45 AM on July 21, 2018 [7 favorites]


[General note, let's keep it cool and talk to each other like we want to be here. Just because there's a lot of patriarchal male-gazey bs around this doesn't mean we need to replicate it or jump at each other while we're trying to honestly grapple with marked secondary sexual characteristics vs objectification.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 11:01 AM on July 21, 2018 [3 favorites]


So what I saw was that you had this mature, curvy, attractive woman who was kickass and not overly sexualized either. I loved that as a kid-- that and TV Wonder Woman. There was not a lot of that out there in the 80s, and I thought it was awesome.

But now she's been redesigned, she looks like... Ben 10. She looks like a 14 year old boy with a long mullet. She's someone with no lips, breasts or hips. Kid me would have hated the redesign. And adult me hates it because it implies that you can only be a woman of action if you don't actually look like a woman.


I also grew up in the 80s and watched all the cartoons and anime, but then the 90s came and Sailormoon happened. Every woman drawing cartoons today grew up watching Sailormoon, Card Captor Sakura and Revolutionary Girl Utena, and the new She-Ra's uniform is mostly what you get when you put Usagi's skirt over Utena's shorts.

Mind you, I am a gigantic fan of Integra Hellsing from Hellsing and Marie-Josèphe Sanson from Innocent (a gorgeously drawn manga that combines plotlines from The Rose of Versailles with the savagery of Berserk) and I totally get you, but I am no longer the target audience for She-Ra.
posted by sukeban at 12:38 PM on July 21, 2018 [2 favorites]


And when I say everyone drawing cartoons today watched Sailormoon, everyone watched it. Everyone.
posted by sukeban at 12:50 PM on July 21, 2018


She's shaped like a Barbie Doll and dressed in skimpy clothing. She's supposed to be 16. How was she not sexualized?

What if maybe the strength of this redesign is that it doesn't impose a singular, male-gaze-defined way for women to look?

I mean but some of us were, though. That's what's so honestly frustrating about this line of discussion. Yes, it's wrong when dudes perv on 16 year olds, but implying that no 16 year olds have more mature figures is denying the reality of many of us and also contributing to some really shitty things, wherein breast size is considered to be the mark of adulthood, which is what let grown men perv on us real life 16 year olds at that time, as though when you gain a D cup you magically morph to be 18.

I see a strong difference between someone exploring sexuality and power and someone who is externally being sexualized. The reason people shouldn't creep on 16 year olds isn't because they're not ever physically mature or because they don't think about sexuality but because they're not mentally and emotionally ready for adult relationships. And so trying to impose this rule of 'well, if they're real teenagers they won't look like adults or want to act like adults' actually has a reverse effect, wherein grown men have said 'well they look and want to act like adults, let's treat them that way.'

And there aren't really easy answers for this, I think. I think it could absolutely be done, in just what the screen lingers on and chooses to say is the most important aspect of various scenes. But I don't think it's actually subverting the male gaze if it says 'we have eliminated the portions of femininity we think might attract the male gaze, thus centering only those portions which oppose it'. It also leaves out masses of women and feels really not great.
posted by corb at 1:42 PM on July 21, 2018 [7 favorites]


What if maybe the strength of this redesign is that it doesn't impose a singular, male-gaze-defined way for women to look?

I don't think it's actually subverting the male gaze if it says 'we have eliminated the portions of femininity we think might attract the male gaze, thus centering only those portions which oppose it'.

I don't think anybody was trying to reimagine the character to subvert the male gaze. It wasn't about men. It's not a character for men, and I strongly doubt much time was spent considering the 18+ male demographic. It happened, and the men who like their male gaze are whining about it because, as it turns out, when people don't think about men, it looks a whole lot to the fragile male ego as anti-man.
posted by Revvy at 1:59 PM on July 21, 2018 [9 favorites]


I don't get "boy" from that series of frames which includes the character with a classic, but not exaggerated, hourglass figure. Especially contrasted with a character who reads male, the "mastectomy" comments don't make a lot of sense.

I feel like some of this is because we've had over one hundred years of artists told to push body representation to be clearly legible, almost to an archetypal level. At least in my read, those signifiers are still there in the design, just not exaggerated.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 2:25 PM on July 21, 2018 [5 favorites]


corb, there are a lot of representations of powerful, curvy, stereotypically feminine heroines. Like . . . all of them. They're everywhere. Basically every superheroine ever, comic, animated, or live-action. Both grown and teenagers, and this is the case even when they're not being sexualized. This is one of the very few representations that's different. And wearing pants. How many heroines get to wear pants?
posted by schroedinger at 2:35 PM on July 21, 2018 [13 favorites]


The original design was a Wonder Woman knock-off with backless push-up armor two generations removed from 1930s fetish photography. I'm not certain it's worth defending as a design.

Also, the title change from She-Ra: Princess of Power to She-Ra and the Princesses of Power might be a good indication that we're going to get more than one female character design out of the show. At least from the teaser images it looks like they're not all going to have the same body shape.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 3:25 PM on July 21, 2018 [11 favorites]


I hope my previous comment didn't come off as overly snippy. The longer version of what I meant to say is that we shouldn't have to choose just one kind of representation. It isn't an either/or. There isn't one single kind of actual woman, so we deserve a whole mess of different kinds of heroines.

I am cis and mostly-kind-of-femmy-but-maybe-not-100%-so. As a little girl, I didn't really see myself in characters like She-Ra, which is part of why I would like to see more and different female leads. That doesn't mean nuking old She-Ra from orbit, or making sure that there are never curvy or adult-looking female characters. For me, it is more about adding to what exists, not replacing it.

Also, I get that people have strong emotional connections to their childhood, but I find it kind of hard to see people reacting so strongly to a character that still shares many characteristics with her predecessor. New She-Ra is still thin, and white, and blonde with long hair, and maybe a little more covered up but not exactly wearing a full suit of armor. When even a few changes (art style, body type, outfit) trigger major outrage, it can feel kind of alienating, especially if you yourself are even farther from the enforced norm.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 9:48 PM on July 21, 2018 [7 favorites]


This comment from the Reddit thread quoted in the We Hunted the Mammoth article, mention above is so dense with irony that I worry about the formation of a POMO star on their sub-reddit.
Aurondarklord
unwoke bluepilled shapeshifting reptoid
32 points ·
3 days ago

Yep. These people can never separate their fetishes from their politics, they can never just admit when they're making something they're into instead of dressing it up in the language of self-righteousness to make their wants sound more important than other people's. And quite frankly, if they didn't think this were a tool for pushing their agenda, and just something they wanted to do because they enjoyed it, you wouldn't see the social justice press lining up lockstep to stop all criticism of it.
Substitute MRA's, GTOW'ers, redpillers, etc..., for social justice press and start to stop in the last sentence and it would read as almost insightful.
posted by Ignorantsavage at 10:23 PM on July 21, 2018


And adult me hates it because it implies that you can only be a woman of action if you don't actually look like a woman.

Is this the same way that Obama’s election implies you can only be president if you’re black?
posted by tractorfeed at 10:43 PM on July 21, 2018 [7 favorites]


I'm not a huge fan of the CalArts thin line style, but this redesign is pretty good. I think I would have liked it more if Stephenson had done it in her own personal style, both Nimona and Lumberjanes has more dynamism, but it's kind of understandable that she'd have to tone it down a bit when getting to reboot a famous property like this.

Most of all, I hope the kids (and especially the female kids) like it and enjoy it, though, because that's who it's for, and it doesn't really matter what we adults think, beyond having hypothetical discussions about what style of cartoon art we like.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 11:14 PM on July 21, 2018 [1 favorite]


She looks like a 14 year old boy with a long mullet. She's someone with no lips, breasts or hips. Kid me would have hated the redesign. And adult me hates it because it implies that you can only be a woman of action if you don't actually look like a woman.

So yeah, as a 40-ish woman who has never had lips, breasts, or hips of any significance (and sometimes wears clothes designed for 14-year-old boys), both kid and adult me would have been saved a lot of anguish by having more than zero media examples telling me that yes, I do indeed "look like a woman", and my body is made of awesomeness. Sometimes role models can be designed for someone other than you.
posted by bethnull at 4:08 PM on July 22, 2018 [11 favorites]


I think the update looks good while at the same time recognising that it is Not For Me. People who genuinely remember and have some fondness for She Ra and He Man from the mid-80s would have watched the cartoons and played with the toys then, which means they are now in their late thirties and, most likely, men. Men in their late-30s with opinions on how She Ra looks is just...it's like a dumpster of expired meat out the back of a supermarket. These men have spent the last 30-40 years absorbing energy from our environment with the express intention of modelling themselves after landfill and showing us how much they reek.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:37 PM on July 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


the title change from She-Ra: Princess of Power to She-Ra and the Princesses of Power might be a good indication that we're going to get more than one female character design out of the show. At least from the teaser images it looks like they're not all going to have the same body shape.

This is actually what frustrated me the most. I didn't really mind the redesign when I thought it was what you're saying - that She-Ra/Adora herself might have a different shape, but shapes of all kinds would be represented. But looking at the compare/contrast that We Hunted The Mammoth posted, all the pictures that have been released thus far are certainly different, but all shy far away from the hourglass shape that has been used in the past - which kind of places this artificial conflict between that figure and other women's figures.

And what it winds up feeling like is being exiled from the cool feminist reboot because we have bodies that happen to be sexually appealing to certain kinds of asshat men. We didn't make them that way - we were born with them, in part often aided by phenotypes from ethnicities that have already been reviled by other women before for being 'too sexual' or 'too coarse'. There's all kinds of weird class stuff bound up with it too, and it's just a mess that makes me have all the feelings and wish we could all just go there together.
posted by corb at 8:38 PM on July 22, 2018 [2 favorites]


People who genuinely remember and have some fondness for She Ra and He Man from the mid-80s would have watched the cartoons and played with the toys then, which means they are now in their late thirties and, most likely, men.

As several people have pointed out from their own experiences, it is unlikely that (given how toy and cartoon marketing was back in the rather toxic 80s) many of these men were contemporary fans of the series. Which, honestly, makes all this shit worse.
posted by NoxAeternum at 6:50 AM on July 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


There's not exactly a shortage of teenaged girl superheroines in contemporary animation with barbie-doll proportions, including, well, the direct to video Barbie franchises, not to mention the rebooted Tinkerbell. Then of course we have Miraculous Ladybug, the upcoming season 3 of Young Justice, and Tangled (Rapunzel is slender, but still proportioned like a Disney Princess). That's off the top of my head. If I decided to fire up Netflix and Crunchyrol and refresh my memory, I'd find a lot more.

One reboot of a children's show about a sixteen year old who has only a slight hourglass rather than extreme hourglass is not exactly kicking traditionally attractive women out of being represented.
posted by Karmakaze at 7:32 AM on July 23, 2018 [10 favorites]


A part of it is down to the art style, since Bow doesn't have a six-pack either. But I'm a bit baffled at 80s Adora's jacket which is simultaneously stiff (shoulder-collars) and soft (individualized breast forms). The waist ratios in the 80s art look really fetishy to me, along with the push-up costume design.

I admit that I've never been fond of the original franchise art which I see more along the line of Fever Ray's take (warn: sexy body horror monster is sort of xyr thing at the moment) and just one step shy from the infamous Liefield Captain America. But the new art is still really coded feminine to the point where I was entertaining outside odds that Bow might have been butch.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 8:42 AM on July 23, 2018


looking at the compare/contrast that We Hunted The Mammoth posted, all the pictures that have been released thus far are certainly different, but all shy far away from the hourglass shape that has been used in the past - which kind of places this artificial conflict between that figure and other women's figures.

They look like kids, like early-mid teens.

Which makes so much more sense if they are supposed to be 15-16 years old. I watched She-Ra as a kid (unlike the complaining men), and if you had asked me how old either Adora or She-Ra was supposed to be, I would have said 35, you know, like Barbie or He-Man.

the new Adora/She-Ra is pretty hour-glassy for a teen - I have DD breasts now, but they weren't DD when I was 15, and I was far from hour-glassy (what with having the baby fat of a 15-year old, not the figure of an 18-year old).

As someone who has been hour-glassy: no one can seriously complain that hour-glass figures are not well-represented among animated/comic-book action heroes. I actually was totally turned off comic books for years by how excessively hour-glassy all female characters were in the comic books I was exposed to (largely superhero stories); when I finally discovered alternative comics - with their fat and thin and hour-glassy (but more realistically so) female characters (who do awesome stuff like being Fates or saving the world or maybe just pining for their clueless roommate) - I was pissed off that I hadn't found them earlier.
posted by jb at 9:40 AM on July 23, 2018 [3 favorites]


I knew Adam and Adora were supposed to be in their mid-teens in the original because Adam had absolutely zero responsibilities and was taking tutoring. If he'd been an adult, then the captain of the guard would have been taking orders from a prince, not talking to him like a teacher or guardian. Adora was less obvious, because she was leading a rebellion, but she had to be Adam's age because they're fraternal twins, right? I figured the body shape and voices were they way they were because there were clearly only one adult male model and one adult female model of action figures, and the show existed to sell toys, and also that having ad few body types as posible made it easier to re-use footage and save production money.

I was in my early to mid teens at the time, but I knew how marketing worked. Also my friends and I kind of enjoyed deconstructing that sort of stuff.

He-Man also looked older because the first run of toys were supposed to be for the Conan: the Barbarian movie, except the watchdogs at the time would not tolerate action figures from an R rated film to be marketed to small children. This required a very quick re-skinning and a cartoon show to salvage the profits. So while they re-wrote Adam as a teen to make the franchise more kid-friendly, they were still working with Arnold Schwarzenegger as the basis of the character design. And, of course, because they recycled the designs for She-Ra for ease of tracing, naturally she looked a lot like Sandahl Bergman via the transitive property.
posted by Karmakaze at 10:17 AM on July 23, 2018 [4 favorites]


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