I’m Selina, Awards Circuit’s queer Girl Friday for everything LGBTQIA+ on film and TV! It’s been a massive weekend for the box office and Nielsen ratings, with “Avengers: Endgame” and the biggest battle of “Game of Thrones” history premiering in a 3 day span. But amidst the intergalactic and snowy battles of Stark and the Starks, Netflix released Season 2 of their animated hit “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power.” While it may be shorter than its first season (clocking in at only seven episodes to Season 1’s thirteen), the reboot of the 80s classic has continued to shine a rainbow light of friendship, queer love and inclusivity. In a weekend filled with heartbreaking drama, it’s helpful to remember the sweeter side of pop culture, so here are a couple LGBTQIA+ highlights from “She-Ra and the Princesses of Powers'” latest adventures.
Adora & Catra’s Romantic Tension Still Simmers While Catra Struggles Under Hordak
The romantic and rather heartbreaking tension is still high between Adora (a.k.a. She-Ra) and Catra in Season 2, continuing to walk the blurred lines between friend, enemy, and first love. She’s risen in the ranks of the Horde to take over for the ousted Shadow Weaver, but is struggling with the weight of Shadow Weaver’s role, the loss of Shadow Weaver (her only maternal figure), and the loss of her best friend to her sworn enemy. The pair seem to care as much about defeating each other as they do the Horde or the Rebellion. Catra’s character had quite a bit of screentime this season, with the dynamics between her, Shadow Weaver and Hordak fraying by the minute. Here’s hoping she and Adora will finally discuss their feelings (romantic or otherwise) and turn this angst on Hordak. There is, however, an appreciation for the fluid nature of their relationship thus far. For a lot of queer folk, romantic and platonic feelings can be muddled exactly like this, so it’s great to see that kind of connection portrayed on TV.
Scorpia, A Lesbian Dealing With Her First Unrequited Crush
Scorpia, a Princess who joined the Horde instead of the Princess Alliance, has had a major crush on Catra since they met. Despite Catra’s apparent disinterest, Scorpia continues to carry the torch for Catra in Season 2, stuck in that first lady-crush moment every queer girl has gone through (this reporter included). While there’s little pleasure with how often Catra snaps at Scorpia, Scorpia has been honest about her feelings, a Big Obstacle to romance for a lot of queer youth. Seeing Scorpia be so open about her feelings, and her struggles in courting Catra, is solid, queer visibility for any show, much less one geared for all ages. She also makes audiences think back to the woes of schoolyard crushes, which are adorable and awkward in equal measure.
Bow’s Dads Are Magic Librarians, Who Knew?
Bow’s fathers George and Lance are as cool as they sound. This season fans get a whole episode dedicated to Bow’s mysterious family, whom bestie Glimmer hadn’t even known about. It turns out Bow is the youngest of thirteen kids, raised in a library deep in the Whispering Woods by his loving, but a tad overbearing, fathers. The pair, ordinary historians who study the mystical First Ones, decided Bow should take over the library when he grew up, and become a historian himself; they also forbade their kids from joining the Rebellion after seeing the ravages of war, despite Bow’s secret longing to fight. So, Bow made up a fake boarding school for historians and worked for the rebellion in secret, the truth only coming to light when Adora and Glimmer follow him home one day.
The episode is a touchingly queer-centric story. The reveal of Bow’s dads comes as a shock because he’d never mentioned them, not that the idea of two fathers was a foreign concept in Etheria. When Bow eventually tells his dads he’s joined the rebel cause (and will not become a historian), fans see an incredibly positive and touching response to his “coming out.” Bow gets a chance to finally explain his true feelings, and is heard, respected and embraced for his honesty. Sure, this wasn’t a queer coming out, but it was a reveal of a child’s personal feelings and a blanket, open acceptance from their parents. It’s always great to see queer parents on TV, and it’s even better to see a coming out story turned on its head but still geared towards acceptance and positivity. Here’s hoping audiences see more of George and Lance in Season 3 (which will hopefully come out soon?).
The Power of A Wholesome, Multifaceted Universe
It may be a little odd to give critical praise to a children’s animated series, but She-Ra and her friends are incredible role models in a TV landscape of doom and gloom. For the younger ages, there are still lessons about playing nice, being kind to those who look up to you, and perseverance when life gets you down. Oh, and appreciation of flying rainbow unicorns. What kind of monster are you, if you can’t love a flying rainbow unicorn?
But embedded in “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” is a message about families coming in all shapes, sizes and configurations, and the idea that friends can also become your family. Glimmer is the daughter of a widowed mom, while Bow’s parents happen to be two dads and Adora and Catra had a stern, adoptive stepmother; all are valid in the land of Etheria. Everyone, no matter their gender, sexuality or skin tone, can dress as they please and fall in love with whomever they wish. If you want to wear a tux to the dance? Cool. Do you only wear crop tops? Also cool. Is your superhero costume a cape and bicycle shorts? Come on over.
Homophobia and transphobia aren’t cool even with the bad guys (a.k.a Hordak and the Horde), so queer and trans audiences can watch in peace. Positive, queer-inclusive shows that are kid-friendly are still a rarity, making this type of thoughtful, intentional representation a breath of fresh air. “She-Ra and the Princesses of Power” is important and powerful because of its packaging of magical fun in a queerly colorful world, and we should give it the praise it deserves.
Season 2 of “She-Ra and The Princesses of Power” is available on Netflix now. See the official trailer below.