Members: Blossom, Buttercup, Bubbles, collectively known as the Powerpuff Girls
Powers: Super strength, super speed, flight, X-ray/laser vision, Supersonic screams, virtually indestructible
- Buttercup: “I‚Äôm a mess, I need to change, and I don‚Äôt even know where to start.”
- Blossom: “I guess we shouldn‚Äôt judge people by what they look like.”
- Professor Utonium: “Unfortunately, people often get scared or angry when they don‚Äôt understand something special and unique.”
The Powerpuff Girls are maybe the quintessential empowering superheroes for young girls. They are the OG girlpower. In¬† the¬†Marvel and DC¬†universes, crime fighting is still largely a boys‚Äô club, and the show displays quite a strong sense of awareness about this issue. Often judged and demeaned on the basis of their very gender, the Powerpuff Girls create a bit of space for the female voice and often enforce the idea that being feminine and being powerful are not mutually exclusive. Though able to fight crime and kick ass, they also have to deal with the daily struggles of school, sibling rivalry and just growing up and deciding what kind of person you want to be. In this way the Powerpuff Girls are also relatable ‚Äì or at least as relatable as three chemically altered kindergarteners can be.
Maybe the most lovable thing about the Powerpuff Girls are their different personalities. We of course have Blossom, the leader, strong and sensible, but sometimes a little controlling. Then there‚Äôs Buttercup, feisty as hell but often quite spiky. Lastly there’s¬† Bubbles, who‚Äôs sweet and ditzy, and sometimes has her head too high up in the clouds. They certainly aren‚Äôt simply two-dimensional heroes with zero flaws and thus zero personality, and often they‚Äôre as aware of their own failings as we are of our own. Their imperfections and vulnerabilities are what makes them endearing, and teaches an important lesson about the value of different personalities. It‚Äôs also great to see female superheroes who aren‚Äôt just a spin-off of a successful male character (for example, Bat Girl or Super Girl). Indeed, the male counterpart to the Powerpuff Girls ‚Äì the Rowdyruff Boys ‚Äì are replicas of the girls, in an inversion of the typical dynamic of copycat and secondary female characters to the male protagonists. The show displays the Powerpuff Girls beating the Rowdyruff Boys ‚Äì using their very ‚Äòfemininity‚Äô to gain the upper hand, a trait that the boys initially supposed would lead to their own victory.
The show in general is wonderful; satirical, self-referential, smart, but also funny and playful, striking a measured balance between intelligent and child-friendly. It‚Äôs respected in its relevance, littered with pop culture references and tongue-in-cheek humor, but it‚Äôs also respected in its presentation of female role models. The ‚Äògirly‚Äô name and cutesy graphics of The Powerpuff Girls are important attributes in themselves because it demonstrates to young girls that they don‚Äôt have to sacrifice their ‚Äòfemininity‚Äô (in the generic sense of the word) in order to be powerful or tough. In this way the show displays the value of differences, and teaches that there is no ‚Äòright‚Äô way to be a superhero, or even a girl for that matter. Whether you‚Äôre fun, tough, silly, girly or whatever, the important thing is that you are you. Not all female leaders are bitchy, cold-hearted workaholics and not all female superheroes are sexy, high-heel wearing glamazons. They can just as easily be three young girls who enjoy naps and playing with animals as much as saving their city.
Girl Museum Inc.