Written by Ashli Trageser (Features Writer)
She-Ra is a cartoon that inspired millions of young minds to go on their own journey of self-discovery and come out of their shells. The modern cartoon was created by Noelle Stevenson and had a few morals in mind when being created that made it different from most other cartoons. “She-Ra was a show that wasn’t afraid to step out of the boundaries that restricted kids’ cartoons. […] It was a journey of not only bravery but self-discovery for the characters. Having main characters that are canonically traumatized and deal with mental illness is something that normal cartoons are too afraid to experiment with, but that representation matters.” Jamie McLean stated when asked about the show. The show is about a girl named Adora that used to be a soldier for The Horde – an oppressive intergalactic empire ruled by Horde Prime, also the primary antagonist of the show – until she discovered her predetermined path of greatness as She-Ra. She decided to leave her past behind and join the rebellion, however, what most cartoons don’t tell you is that a “predetermined path of greatness” isn’t all just being heroic and adored.
Adora had to leave Catra, her best friend since childhood, behind in the process of accepting her fate as She-Ra. Heroism comes with many strings attached, which this show definitely wasn’t afraid to delve into. Growing up under the watch of Shadow Weaver in the Fright Zone, Adora was always favored over Catra, who was mentally and physically abused by Shadow Weaver her entire life. She would have been killed if it wasn’t for the fact that “Adora had grown fond of her.” Along with exploring delicate topics of mental health and abuse, She-Ra was also a beacon of hope for young queers with its wonderfully diverse cast.
The protagonist, Adora, and her childhood best friend, Catra had a beautifully written “friends to enemies to lovers” arch, which inspired many younger watchers to come out of their shells and be whoever they were. Adora and Catra had grown up together, but when Adora left the Horde to join the rebellion, Catra slowly became unhinged. This painful process of abandonment continued for four seasons until Catra was taken prisoner by Horde Prime and Adora came to rescue her. After years of hurt and running away, Catra and Adora were finally ready to put a stop to their painful past and end their arcs as lovers. Whether it was influencing others to be courageous when faced with adversity, or just accepting who you are, She-Ra is a show with many different morals and lessons to learn from. This includes the courage to stand up for yourself, realizing that you’re more than you can give to other people, being brave despite the odds stacked against you, etc.