SheZow - a genderbending superhero!
SheZow is an Australian-Canadian kids show about a twelve-year-old boy named Guy, a regular kid who likes skateboarding, video games, and doing dangerous stunts. But one day he finds a magical ring that, when activated, gives him amazing superpowers - and transforms him into a girl (EDIT: It’s more accurate to say that he adopts “girls’” clothing, not actually transform into a girl, my mistake for implying that there was an actual gender transformation). Her superpowers include super speed, super strength, supersonic scream, and a utility belt of awesome AND girly gadgets. Plus, the way he transforms into SheZow is by saying “You go, girl!”
One thing I love about the show is that although both Guy’s sister and his best friend know his identity and help him, Guy is afraid to reveal to his dad that he’s SheZow. However, the fear doesn’t come from the idea that his dad would hate Guy being a girl superhero, but because his dad is a cop who thinks that SheZow is a trouble-making vigilante who takes away from his job. The show essentially takes away any element that would shame Guy for displaying girlyness, making the gender swap both the forefront of the show and a complete non-issue for the characters.
Conservative groups like Focus on the Family take issue with SheZow, saying that it’s teaching “gender confusion” to kids and “promoting transgenderism. What they’re really saying is that they take issue with the idea that femininity actually being empowering. They’re saying that kids can never stretch the boundaries of gender and that power HAS to be equated with masculinity. Sure, boys should be empowered - but God forbid that they grow up associating power with femininity! (EDIT: I should have mentioned that groups like Focus on the Family’s comments are transphobic in of themselves and the “What they’re really saying” line is not the most accurate way to put it; it’s more like, “They’re ALSO saying that…” I didn’t mean to imply that transphobic comments weren’t enough to get upset over and I’m sorry if hurt anyone for that implication.)
In terms of the supposed links the show makes to transgenderism, the show is definitely not intended to allegorically about transgender kids, but would there be something wrong with the idea of a boy finding that being a girl or adopting feminine attributes can give strength and clarity? A sense of purpose? How could that be bad! Any show that not only displays femininity as something powerful but also doesn’t shame people for expressing femininity is something a lot of kids of any gender could benefit from!
Here’s a link to the intro, which gives some exposition and explanation, and also sets the tone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cW3FBjKt7Co
SheZow will soon be coming to the US on The Hub channel, so if you can, check it out! Any show that pushes gender boundaries should get some support!