How 'She-Ra' Delivered on Queer Promises and Helped Revolutionized LGBTQ Representation
and the Princesses of Power has
already cemented its place among the short but rapidly growing list of
children’s animated shows with impactful LGBTQ representation. Showrunner
Noelle Stevenson made it a point to push and fight for more diverse characters
in every aspect from race, to personality, to sexual and gender identity.
However, the finale of the GLADD Award-nominated program delivered on a
revolutionary promise built up throughout all five seasons and completed one of
the greatest queer narratives ever seen in children’s media.
As She-Ra progressed, Stevenson became more encouraged and
inspired to pressure executives to allow more and more explicit LGBTQ
characters and relationships. While ever-present in the series, season one only
featured a background couple, Spinnerella (Noelle Stevenson) and Netossa
(Krystal Joy Brown), and of course, the famous dance sequence between Catra (AJ
Michalka) and Adora (Aimee Carrero). While this amount of representation is
comfortably leagues ahead of the vast majority of cartoons, the show only upped
the ante and the amount of representation from there. Season 2 introduced viewers
to George (Chris Jai Alex) and Lance (Regi Davis), Bow’s fathers. The series
presents them in a normalized fashion as a happy gay couple in love that built
a family together. Jacob Tobia’s non-binary Double Trouble featured heavily in
season four, making them one of the first non-binary characters in
children’s animation and one of the first to holding an integral role in the show,
a major step in
representing such identities.
The many achievements and strides She-Ra in LGBTQ representation featured in She-Ra will doubtlessly affect other projects in the industry
and help further programs walk a similar path. However, the greatest queer story inShe-Ra is the spectacular series-long arc exploring the relationship and
dynamics between de facto antagonist Catra and protagonist Adora. The former
friends, who grew up together in the ranks of the Horde, turn enemies at the
start of the series after Adora gains the power of She-Ra and betrays Catra,
joining the Rebellion.
Fans quickly began speculating on the nature of Adora and
Catra’s relationship during season one, mainly because of the Princess Prom
dance scene. After the young women shared a charged and sinister dance, fans
quickly began supporting and analyzing “Catradora.” The next three
seasons would gradually and gracefully define both characters’ complicated
feelings for each other. Initially, Catra attempts to rationalize Adora’s
leaving as a relief or else forces herself to appear apathetic towards it. She
continuously uses the excuse that she is no longer living under Adora’s shadow
to gradually build up more power, rising through the ranks of the Horde while
stepping on those who helped her.