To many Generation Z Snapchatters and Tide Pod swallowers, He-Man is that biceped blonde guy in spandex pants dancing around with some guy in a skeleton costume in the MoneySuperMarket.com commercials, but long before that, He-Man was the very definition of the ultimate man. Yes, you read that correctly… MAN!
In the 1980’s, being a white man with a tan and poking around a big sword didn’t automatically make you a racist white supremacist with a massive bulge. This was a generation when boys played with overly muscled plastic men in little miniature pants (still not homoerotic at all), and idolizing young girls played with big breasted dolls with skinny waists and no social hang ups which their surgically enhanced middle-aged mum’s aspired to be like.
Being non-binary was just an extra-terrestrial glimpse into an unknown future where hoverboards and Bill Clinton’s faithful wife running for President of the United States TWICE, would actually be a thing. Unfortunately however, hoverboards didn’t become a reality, but hey, at least we got the joy of two Hillary Clinton election runs, right?
Today, the rise of non-binary pronouns and extremist terrorism have erupted un-coincidentally in tandem, and as a result, has also shaped the very fabric of modern-day society. Barriers have been erected in town centres to protect unassuming citizens from potential massacres from Islamic extremists, and gender fluid language is now policed and enforced to maintain political correctness, and appease mentally confused people.
In the English language, the word “he” is used to refer to males and “she” is used to refer to females, with male pronouns as of late, getting a bad rep. Basically, anything remotely masculine is portrayed as male chauvinist and generally sexist and misogynistic with accusations of oppression and rape thrown in for a good dose of female empowerment too.
He-Man however, was unashamedly all man, flexed his ripped arms while riding his green furry tiger, and hung around with some kind of levitating magician dwarf that vaguely resembled a red burqa wearing creature floating in the wind.
He-Man also had a sister, She-Ra, and she was everything every a little 80’s girl inspired to be like. To be a princess, live in a pink castle, have long flowing blonde hair and possess an enormous pair of boobs. This was the stuff of girl power, and next to former coke fuelled prostrate Barbie, little girls all the over the world had a true heroine that they could look up to.
Or the consolation prize was to be just like Skeletor’s rumoured side bitch with yellow skin, Evil-Lyn. Yellow Lives Matter too, you know.
There was no gender-neutral nonsense going on here, boys and girls were systemically conditioned to automatically know that blue represented testosterone and strength, and pink characterised, housework, chores and aspirations of marriage. If you existed somewhere in the nomad realm of the middle, then you were an outcast and imprisoned in some kind of Jewish holocaust facility (this was the 80’s folks).
He-Man taught us that if you stumbled upon some kind of magical sword, held it up high above in the sky and uttered the words “By the power of Grayskull!” (and just so happened to be a guy), then you would suddenly produce steroid like Herculean muscles, a loin cloth, and a bronzed tan resembling Hulk Hogan, but without the receding hairline.
If however, you were a woman, then you got curvy hips and a shorter skirt and magically plumped up lips, without the need of a Kylie Jenner lip liner. But hey, this was a boy’s cartoon targeted towards preadolescents who had never seen or heard of a vagina before, so you had to give them something for their imagination.
Their hero, He-Man was athletic, burly, powerful and had lovely blonde hair to boot, and was everything the modern-day man of the 80’s ought to be, complete with extra tight pants. So, imagine if He-Man was visualised for today’s social justice warrior generation. What would he / they actually look like?
Would he / they be more passive than manly? Would he/ they have to ditch the sword due to cultural appropriation and safety regulations? Hell, would he / they even be allowed to be called He-Man at all? Seeing as anything remotely manlike is now seen as worse than Ebola and AIDS combined.
Would our superhuman non-binary person have one arm to showcase disability diversity, or would they do all the fighting from a wheelchair? Would they have to speak 5 additional languages and be able to recite the Islamic prayer as to not offend our Muslim brothers and sisters, or would the notion of He-Man being “halal” be enough?
What how about She-Ra? Would she need to wear the Hijab, or will she be your bog-standard woman-splaining kind of feminist that we see today? Would she need to dye that natural blonde hair a bright purple, or will not shaving her legs do the trick?
Maybe she could be the poster girl (correction – non-binary person) for abortion. We mean, nothing says female empowerment more than destroying an evil mutilated fetus, right? Take that Skeletor!
Whichever way you want to look at it, in the end, both He-Man and his equally oversexualised sister were a product of the time. A simpler time where boys and girls were not afraid to be identified, based on their god given body parts and genitalia. A time where boys were boys and girls were girls, and that was ok.
Non-binary, that place found somewhere in between blue and pink, can actually be ok too, but when you try to change the very cultural construct of what society has been built on and force people to use pronouns out of fear and retribution that is not part of the standard vocabulary which is recognised and accepted by billions of men and women over the world, then maybe the “Power of GreySkull” doesn’t lie with you.
Story by Michael Lee
Featured Photo Credit: Screen Rant