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Film and TV

Look transphobes, even children’s cartoon villains know to respect people’s pronouns

Reiss Smith November 11, 2019
Hordak from She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

Hordak is the main villain in Netflix's She-Ra and the Princess of Power. (Netflix)

Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power has proven that nobody, not even a fictional cartoon villain, has an excuse for misgendering and ignoring pronouns.

Season four of the Emmy-nominated cartoon welcomed gender non-conforming actor Jacob Tobia to the voice cast as Double Trouble, a non-binary shapeshifter.

Tobia describes Double Trouble as a “mischievous little chaotic being that causes all kinds of trouble for basically everybody”, but says that crucially, their story isn’t limited to explaining trans identities.

She-Ra is built for a generation that doesn’t need that kind of education in the same way anymore,” Tobia told The LA Times.

“Young people in Generation Z know who non-binary people are, they know what they/them pronouns are. They know that gender is a spectrum, not a binary. They already know this.”

She-Ra’s Double Trouble (Netflix)

Throughout the season, Double Trouble is referred to as they/them without needing to introduce themselves first.

Even Hordak, the series’ primary villain, uses the correct pronouns without prompting.

“The thing that was really gratifying in a very surprising way for me is a scene where Hordak talks about Double Trouble and just says ‘they’ effortlessly, with no thought, and just uses gender-neutral pronouns,” said Tobia.

If he can use they/them pronouns appropriately, I think anyone can

“Even the most evil person on the planet doesn’t misgender people, because that would be rude. There’s something really cool about that.”

Tobia said that Hordak should be taken as an example.

“If he can use they/them pronouns appropriately, I think anyone can,” they said.

“Do you really want to be worse than Hordak by misgendering non-binary people? No, you don’t.”

She-Ra and the Princess of Power applauded for LGBT+ themes.

Since it debuted on Netflix in November 2018, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power has won critical acclaim for its diverse cast of cartoon characters.

Most, if not all of the characters deliberately flout gender stereotypes, with a number presented as LGBT+.

Noelle Stevenson, the series’ creator and executive producer, said that She-Ra “has always been a very queer world and a very queer story.”

“This is a world where almost all of your mains are women,” she told GLAAD.

“What does that mean for gender? What does that mean for sexuality and this fantasy sci-fi planet? Why would our characters follow the ‘rules’ of our world, the biases that we’ve built up in our world?

“What if we just started from the grounds that this is a world with a really rich tapestry of experiences and that includes sexuality, that includes gender.”

More: jacob tabia, netflix, non-binary, pronouns, She-Ra, they/them

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