While no one was looking, The Hub (a TV channel mostly known for being the love child of Hasbro and the Discovery Network) has become one of the most progressively subversive channels on TV. Not only is The Hub the network behind My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, a show primarily known for its adult male fan base, but now they’re bringing in SheZow, the first gender-bending superhero for kids.
After doing a cursory Google search on the matter, I managed to find a YouTube video of the first couple of episodes (albeit, one that featured commentary by a pair of viewers). And honestly? Not that bad.
The central premise is that a 12-year-old boy named Guy (subtle) finds a magic ring that turns him into SheZow, a female superhero. The show leans pretty heavily on “she"-based puns, including SheZow driving a “she-hicle” and activating her powers with “You go girl!” But overall, it treats the subject of fluid gender identity in a mature way. There’s initial laughter from SheZow’s siblings when Guy accidentally stumbles into his superhero identity, but it’s extremely short-lived, and they inevitably end up serving as SheZow’s sidekicks.
The overall message of the show is that not only is there nothing wrong with eschewing traditional gender roles, but that it can actually be pretty empowering. The humour falls on the she-puns a little often, but overall the writing is pretty solid and it’s a great show for kids who don’t necessarily follow masculine/feminine stereotypes.
And if nothing else, consider this: TV studios do listen to what audiences say. If an audience can come together and say that it’s okay to gender-bend and that they’d watch shows featuring fluid characters, they’ll make more shows with those themes.