Girl Power – Go You Good Thing! The Super Hero Girls Arrive On The Scene!
Watching Saturday morning cartoons as a child, I was captivated by the boys’ cartoons. I certainly loved my Strawberry Shortcakes dolls and my Smurf figurines, but when it came to the small screen, nothing beat the thrill of seeing the Transformers transform, or Prince Adam turn into He-Man. My favourites were the superheros – I watched with a mixture of intense excitement and paralysing fear as they battled their nemeses week after week, never quite sure if they’d be able to pull it off and save the day (okay, so maybe I was a slow learner, but let’s reframe it as ‘childlike innocence’ shall we?!)
The best part, however, was when Wonder Woman made an all-too-brief appearance in her ‘invisible jet’ (which kind of defeated the purpose because you could still see her sitting in it – amiright?!). I probably didn’t realise it back then, but now as an adult it’s occurred to me that seeing a female represented in a heavily male-dominated genre was probably why I idolised Wonder Woman so much.
Luckily for my three daughters, a new franchise called DC Super Hero Girls has been launched, so a new generation of girls can grow up seeing that both the sexes can be superheroes. It’s a joint initiative between DC Entertainment, Warner Bros., and Mattel, and is aimed at the 6-to-12-year-old girls’ market.
With female empowerment firmly at its core, these teenage characters are not only physically strong, but they have excellent abilities and personality traits, such as being academically smart, as well as confident, funny and sassy. Not that it’ll all be smooth sailing – the series will also present the overwhelming and awkward moments of growing up, but the characters are united by friendship and a shared optimism.
When the animated series begins, viewers will be treated to a huge cast of characters roaming the halls of Super Hero High. The aim was to ensure that no matter what a girl’s background or disposition, there’d be a Super Hero Girl she could relate to. Alongside the leader Wonder Woman, there’s Supergirl, Batgirl, Harley Quinn, Bumblebee, Katana and Poison Ivy, just to name a few.
The Super Hero Girls franchise is being taken very seriously, with dedicated social media accounts, TV specials, direct-to-video releases, apparel, novels from Random House and graphic novels from DC all in the works. Being the digital age, there’s naturally going to be plenty of content available on their website, including animated shorts and games.
Toys will also feature heavily, with an action-figure line that symbolically sees the figures stand on their own. In an exciting move, the traditional pinks and pastels of girls’ toys have been replaced with bold colours including red, blue, green and gold.
I can’t believe it’s taken companies this long to realise girls want something dynamic and action-oriented to engage with, but at least now there’s something to show them they can be their own hero.