Parents, Don't Let Your Children Watch Powerpuff Girls or They'll be Communists
Regular readers may notice that I've managed to already turn my three-year-old into a little Whovian, and thus may envy me that I get to watch Daleks and Cybermen with her rather than other children's fare. The sad truth is, though, that she calls just as equally for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. We've watched every single episode on Netflix streaming... twice.
In a desperate bid to not hear the name Pinkie Pie anymore, I noticed that Powerpuff Girls was also available for streaming. I bribed the little one, and then proceeded to once again follow an animated series from front to back.
And frankly, I really wish I hadn't done that because Powerpuff Girls is a terrible show to expose your children to.
"But wait, With One F," you say sputtering with anger. "That's horse hockey. It's a trio of little girl superheroes. That's empowering right there!"
Let's set aside the fact that we have a girl superhero team for a bit here. My daughter has Dora and Kai-Lan and Abby Cadabby and Daphne Blake and a whole host of plucky young Miyazaki heroines to choose from. She associates the word "princess" with "sword-wielding adventuress." Her daycare provider teaches karate, and her mom does science while dad does the dishes. She's not so hard up for empowering figures that I'll allow just whatever.
Besides, just how empowering are the Powerpuff Girls? No matter what happens they spend the entire run of the show at the beck and call of two male figures, Professor Utonium and the Mayor. Granted, they're in grade school and grade school girls should do what their dads tell them, but let's look at the other part of the coin.
The Mayor is a blithely ineffectual nincompoop who can't solve the slightest problem. Behind him is Ms. Sara Bellum, his assistant who is the real brains behind the Townsville government.
Ms. Bellum is probably the absolute worst figure you could expose a young girl to. You almost never see her real face. Instead she exists from the neck down as the Mayor's overly-sexualized ornament. She's a caricature of vivaciousness that sets up as laughable a body aesthetic as any Barbie Doll. Worse, Barbie in her CGI adventures looks way more normal than Bellum does.
While she may be effective, she remains weirdly hamstrung to the male authority of the Mayor. She refuses to assume command even when it's clearly needed, and in an alternate world where the Powerpuff Girls left Townsville she spends her old age muttering incoherently about him as the city crumbles around her. She's more than capable of handling issues, but without a man to tell her it's OK she snaps.
That episode ("Speed Demon"), by the way, is the one that really convinced me that the Powerpuff Girls was a really bad influence. Not because of Ms. Bellum, but because the show routinely teaches absolutely horrifying lessons.