Conservatives Flaunt Their Superpower: The Ability to Find Controversy Anywhere
Shezow, Guy Transformed
The children’s cable television network, The Hub (owned by Hasbro and Discovery Channel), plans to premier a new series entitled Shezow June, 1st . The show is about a 12-year-old boy named Guy. After his aunt dies, Guy and his family go about cleaning out her house and Guy’s sister finds a ring hidden in the wall; when Guy dons the ring he turns into a superhero, Shezow. Shezow possess the super powers of super-strength, super-seed, “SheSP,” and best of all: “the heavy handed super she-slap.”
Upon first reading about this show it seemed Guy’s/Shezow’s super power was to turn into a girl, which I thought would be interesting, but not super in any way. Rather, when Guy puts on the ring – or if anyone puts on the ring – he or she turns into Shezow, who just so happens to be a girl, but Guy maintains the same voice and mind after the transformation making the change essentially cosmetic. Whoever wears the ring bears a lifelong responsibility of being Shezow and has the ability to morph into Shezow instinctively when trouble is near, or if they say “you go girl.”
The show’s imaginative plot has managed to garner some criticism from right-wing news outlets. Ben Sharpo of Breitbart, sarcastically stated “Nothing says “child-appropriate material” quite like gender-bending underage superheroes.” Later on in the same article he said “The chief executive of the Hub, who may or may not have been high (and leftist) when she greenlit this project….” In a wild stretch to make a similarly outlandish point Tad Cronn wrote an article for Political Outcast saying, “so we can add Hasbro now to the list of companies trying to appease the homosexual rights movement by indoctrinating kids into the world of sexual depravity.”
Whoever found this show to be an inappropriate attempt to influence children into a transsexual lifestyle probably did not watch the show to begin with, but instead read a brief plot description that made their blood boil. Richard Ferraro, GLAAD Chairperson told ABC News, “”I don’t think this show is about transgender issues anymore than the Teletubbies were about gay issues, because one of the characters was purple and carried around a purse.”
To be fair, I too have an objection with this show, however, not the same complaint conservative media has been playing up. My problem is blatant and overplayed sexism that runs throughout (or at least in first episode). When the show starts, Guy is skateboarding with a friend and when one of them lands a trick Guy says “I call it a Guy thing.” This could either be a play on the character’s name or on his gender. Later, when his sister asks him to help with packing up his aunts belongings, Guy responds with, “Can’t you do the girly unpacking yourself?” Which very well could be an everyday response from your typical 12-year-old, but reinforcing stereotypes is not exactly modern, and it left a bad taste in my mouth.
There is also the in-your-face girliness of Shezow, everything is pink, and a lot of her superpowers are based on stereotypical feminine traits such as the aforementioned “heavy handed super she-slap” or the lipstick-lightsaber shown in the shows opening credits. These unfortunate characteristic of the show create gender specific roles – which are obviously not to be toyed with unless you wear the Shezow ring – is something that hopefully the shows writers will work on, rather than stressing age-old stereotypes.
The Hub, a newer child focused cable network, is hoping that Shezow will pull up their ratings and allow them to better compete with Disney and Nickelodeon. Perhaps they think this conservative backlash will help draw in curious or more liberal viewers, but honestly, in today’s competitive children’s TV market, where shows like Adventure Time manage to cross age groups, Shezow was kind of a lame duck. This gender bending gimmick, intentional or not, didn’t seem all too exciting. I can see they are trying to break some of the gender barriers that are generally apparent in television, but they have some work and rewriting to do before they abolish all the stereotypes, let alone fix this mediocre program.
I am originally from a small town in North Carolina and have recently moved to Richmond. Meaning I am a novice to the ways of Richmond life, but from what I have seen it is a culturally rich environment that I look forward to diving into. My daily hustle consists of playing bass, reading, and hunting for new music. This summer I will be interning with RVA Magazine and GayRVA.com. In the fall I will be transferring to Virginia Commonwealth University where I will major in journalism.
While we are all different, there are parts of our identities, our shared experiences, that make us all the same.September 21, 2016
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