SUBCULTURAL GIRL: Pretty Feminist Sailor Moon

I’ve been obsessed with Sailor Moon since I was seven years old. About a year-and-a-half ago, the revamped version of the cartoon, now titled Sailor Moon Crystal, was released with the characters more closely designed to match their original manga counterparts.

Obviously, I was super excited and eager to watch the new version of my childhood heroine without the horrible English dubs. But between being a full-time student, going to work, and having a busy six-year-old, I hadn’t really gotten around to watching it.

That is, not until earlier this week, when an abundance of snow and cancelled classes suddenly afforded me the opportunity to binge-watch episodes about the guardian of love and justice.

The show is an all-female cast of strong, smart ladies.

A funny thing happens when we go back and watch our favorite childhood movies or TV shows as an adult: New elements and themes that likely went over our heads as children are brought into the limelight. In many ways, it can be like watching the show for the first time.

As a young girl, I loved the sailor senshi because they were cool. They were pretty, had cute outfits, and had superpowers they used to fight the forces of evil—pretty typical stuff. While those things still ring true, the new discovery I’ve made about the show is the heavy prevalence of feminism.

This theme has always existed, of course. I was just too young back then to understand what feminism was. The theme song itself has the line, “We are not helpless girls who need the protection of men,” if that’s a good indicator of the show’s main values.

Indeed, the show is essentially an all-female cast that consists of smart, strong, independent ladies defending the world and universe, against the forces of evil. The love story between Usagi and Mamoru is secondary to the mission of the Sailor Scouts.

As a strong feminist today, I am proud to know that the heroine I clung to in my youth turned out to be such an enduring, positive role model.

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