Playing at a Comeback (Or Why I preferred She Ra to Barbie)

There is no one in the world with better survival skills than a four-year-old girl with an older brother and a legion of boy cousins.

She’s fast to outrun errant flicked boogers. She’s loud to shout that you can’t hit a girl and if you try she’s telling mom! And, above all, she’s adaptable. That isn’t just a My Little Pony, it’s She-Ra’s battle stallion! That G.I. Joe isn’t just a real American hero, he’s also the guy who took Barbie on spy adventures.

Do you think I could outrun her if I drank a case of Red Bull? Still no?

She knows what you're thinking. And, yes, she can run faster than Batman. Image courtesy of FabioValle on DeviantArt.

Want to know why it ruled to be a girl growing up in the ’80s? Because it seemed that every company made at least one badass female version of their characters.

  • Pink Voltron (I have no idea what her name was since I was more a fan of playing with the toys than with the show. Yes, Googling would be a good idea, reader.)
  • Scarlett and Jinx from G.I. Joe
  • She-Ra
  • Cheetara
  • I really wish there was a female Ghostbuster, but since I was born with an ironic spoon in my mouth, I always identified with Venkman (I was also raised with a healthy respect for Bill Murray.).

I played with my Barbies and P.J. Sparkles and My Little Ponies (There was a brief flirtation with a Baby Alive doll, but hygiene freak that I still am, the idea of putting real water and fake baby food in a toy was unacceptably filthy.). I was a girly girl, but I always loved my some warrior princesses.

Pretend is so much more fun when you can put your toys action sequences that would make John Woo weep (Because with me everything was always done in slow motion while I made the “whomp, whomp, whomp” sound) and Nicholas Cage request your information to write his next script (Because clearly a small child is writing his films a’la “Axe Cop.”).

That’s why I’m a getting psyched for all future male and female geeklings, as Gabrielle cutely called them, or tiny versions of me, as I call them (I’m not into the whole brevity thing. Yes, that is the second time in two articles that I’ve made a reference to that quote, but it’s one of my favorite movie lines of all time.).

The Princess of Power!!!!

"She Ra, do you have to do this every time you get a new follower in Twitter?" Image courtesy of windriderx23 on DeviantArt

She-Ra was a princess with a sword, a horse, and not one cluck (I don’t like to curse in print. I have no problem appearing lazy online, but profane is just a bridge too far.) left to give. She stopped by the store on her way to polish her diadem, found the cluck shelf bare, turned down the proffered rain check, and went on her slaying way.

The pink Voltron was a queen of some sort if I recall correctly. Look, I’m not real clear on the details here, but dude, if loving playing robot lion warriors was wrong, I am guilty of a Class A felony. I know that Voltron has legions of fans who enjoy its lengthy mythos and intricate story lines mixed with sweet robot on robot violence, but my relationship to it as a child was solely through the toys. Is it on Netflix streaming? If so, I’ll put it in the queue right after I finish Firefly and Serenity, but it better not mess up my recommendations…

I saw a lady ninja in the G.I. Joe previews, and I’ll admit, I squeed a bit. I’m excited to see Jinx back in the public consciousness.

And, I think that’s what I’m happy about, whether I like the reboots of my childhood memories or not – the strong women action figures who had fully articulated joints and whose easily lost accessories were swords not shoes are back on the shelves. And, one day I hope to buy boxes of strong female characters. Not for them to be displayed in a collection but tossed around, chewed by the dog, and taken on adventures that only little kids – boys and girls – can imagine.

Well, little kids of the person who guides Nicholas Cage’s career.

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One thought on “Playing at a Comeback (Or Why I preferred She Ra to Barbie)

  1. [...] I was a She-Ra fan growing up, but being born in 1984, this was the first time I’d ever caught the special. The whole affair was colored with scented markers and the obvious repeat of animation, whether it fit or not, was spectacular. I loved it. I’m going to watch it again. When we have children, I will sit them down and, offering no context, make them watch it. Sure the sweatshirt is $35, but the story of how you broke your hand from too many fist bumps will be priceless. Image courtesy of 80s Tees. [...]

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