She-Ra — Animated Princess of Power
It’s very easy, and not altogether untrue, to dismiss She-Ra and her twin brother He-Man as mere products specifically designed to target their demographic audiences. One only has to look at She-Ra’s animal sidekick, a talking unicorn with rainbow coloured wings, to realise that this was a toy and cartoon deliberately marketed at little girls. But as a girl, She-Ra was more than a toy to me; she was a role model. Like He-Man, She-Ra was physically strong but she was also compassionate and clever, usually tricking or outmanoeuvring her enemies rather than just resorting to violence. I remember one scene in the comics where instead of smashing her way out of a locked cage, she quietly takes a hair pin out of her hair and picks the lock.
The cartoon series She-Ra starred in pitted her and her rebellion (led by her alter-ego, Adora, who despite lacking She-Ra’s super powers was still an excellent and respected leader) against The Horde, the evil ruling force on the planet of Etheria. The struggle of the suppressed rebels fighting for their freedom caught my imagination as a girl, and I could spend hours making up stories of She-Ra fighting the Horde and any other bad guys I could think of. She inspired me, not just as a role model, but as a story and a springboard from which I made up my own adventures, with or without her.