Catch Season 1 of the new The Powerpuff Girls series on Hulu, March 24!
Back in the '90s, three crime-fighting cuties broke onto the Cartoon Network superhero scene with a ka-pow! and a sprinkling of Chemical X. They appealed to the Barbies-and-Disney-Princess set of little girls in a way that no muscled-up male comic book superhero had ever managed. They were tough and strong, but — most importantly — they were girls. They showed their young female audience that you didn't have to be a boy to take down bad guys and having a sweet side didn't make you any less hardcore.
Now, thanks to #CartoonNetwork, Season 1 of the all-new #ThePowerpuffGirls series, which you'll be able to watch exclusively on #Hulu come March 24, is set to empower the next generation of feminists. Here's why they're still the ultimate feminist heroines young girls need in their lives today.
They Subvert Gender Stereotypes
Even if you were too young to notice it back in the '90s, the Powerpuff Girls have always been about subverting gender stereotypes. From snippets of dialogue, like, "Bubbles! Women lift weights, too. I bet she's probably a highly intelligent female bodybuilder," to needing to rescue those sexist superheroes from Mount Neverest, these girls have never been about conforming to society's expectations of docile damsels in distress.
In the new series coming to Hulu, Buttercup pushes the boundaries of what it means to be a tough girl even more than she had in the past. She's always been the tomboy of the bunch, but now she wears a power suit, plays roller derby, and beats down anyone that dares to patronize her by calling her — gasp! — princess. She's also become the focal point of more plotlines than she was in the original series, which is welcome news to those viewers that always found themselves to be the loudest, most aggressive, ass-kicking-est member of their friend group.
Their Style Is Fully Functional For Superpowering
In a world where so many female heroes — and villains — sport body-hugging super suits to accentuate their every inch, the Powerpuff Girls show that being a strong female character has nothing to do with dressing raunchy.
First and foremost, they're kindergartners, unconcerned and not yet interested in wearing femme fatale get-ups. While most superheroines sport leotards or bikinis paired with wildly impractical thigh-high stiletto boots, the Powerpuff Girls favor sturdy dresses and sensible Mary Janes. Their hair is either short — and a little messy — like Buttercup's, or pulled back, like Blossom and Bubbles'. No long, flowing locks or costume malfunctions will distract these girls from saving the day, thank you very much.
Their Distinct Personalities Make Them Stronger Together
Together, all three Powerpuffs are the perfect little girls, but their personalities couldn't be more different. Blossom is the smart and savvy leader; Buttercup is the tough-as-nails fighter; and Bubbles is the lighthearted whimsical baby of the bunch. Type-A Blossom might be the natural born leader, but she never devalues her sisters' strengths. Bubbles might be tender-hearted, with an enormous soft spot for animals and beauty blogs, but being empathetic and kind doesn't mean she can't kick Mojo Jojo to the curb from time to time.
Just because they might lean more toward intelligence, or toughness, or sweetness, doesn't mean that's all they are. The way their opposing personalities work together to save the day emphasizes that there's more than one way to be a heroine.
Nick Jennings, the executive producer of the new series, explained to the LA Times that they're goal is to strengthen the characters' personalities and make them more relatable to the audience:
"The first part of the process for us was to really just sort of figure out 'Who is Blossom? Who is Buttercup? Who is Bubbles?'. By developing them as stronger personalities and understanding them more as characters, we were able to write stories that are more relatable to people. I think you connect with them better."
It's that accessibility that makes Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup the perfect icons for an audience to look up to — both a young, impressionable one that's encountering their message for the first time, or an older, more nostalgic one that's already adopted that girl-power mentality.
They Promote Equality
The Powerpuff Girls have always pushed true feminism — that is, equality between the sexes. No episode exemplified this as strongly as the one from the original series in which the girls went up against Femme Fatale, a bank robber who wouldn't take any money with men on it. Instead, she looted Townsville of all its Susan B. Anthony coins. When the girls first tried to stop her, she convinced them that heroism and villainy were both male-dominated fields. When she ignited a fury in the girls against all men everywhere, they agreed to let her go. Only after the sensible female role models in the girls' lives intervened did they realize: Femme Fatale wasn't a true feminist at all. The girls finally manage to put her in her place — that is, jail — by the end of the episode.
With every punch they throw at Manboy, the Powerpuff Girls stick it to the patriarchy. Unlike Femme Fatale, they're not out to take down every man in Townsville, only to show that there's nothing little girls can't do. At the end of the day, they'll be the ones there to save Townsville, and all they need to do it is each other.
Catch up on The Powerpuff Girls new series on Hulu from March 24, and let us know if you think the Powerpuff Girls are the feminist heroines we need today. Sound off in the comments below!