SheZow TV Poster Image

SheZow

Cross-gender superhero makes light of sensitive issue.

What parents need to know

Educational value

The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.

Positive messages

The series has drawn attention for the way it addresses gender roles by centering on a 12-year-old boy whose alter ego is a female superhero. While there's nothing demonstrative about Guy in either his male or female roles, the show spends a lot of time making light of his adjustment process. The show's comical tone takes the edge off the larger gender issues, but it's unclear what the motives are in the use of this type of hero, save for distinguishing it from other superhero stories.

Positive role models

As a superhero, Guy is average at best, and the fact that he's also adjusting to a different body proves to be an additional challenge. He likes the attention he gets as SheZow, but he strives to protect his true identity. Kelly and Maz are invaluable in his exchanges with villains and fans, and it's often Kelly's ability to think on her feet that tips the balance in their favor. The show addresses some gender roles broadly; Guy clearly enjoys some of his stereotypically "female" traits as SheZow, but he can also be macho and a bit sexist in his male role. (For example, in one scene, he tells his sister to do the "girly unpacking" herself when they move to a new house.)

Violence & scariness

Cartoon violence is prevalent in SheZow's encounters with villains, but the fantasy nature of the fighting means that it's hardly disturbing. SheZow uses weapons like a boomerang and a light saber, which take down foes, but there's no blood. When characters do die, they usually do so in nontraditional ways like melting or vaporizing.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language

No outright cursing, but the kids use exclamations that hint at the real deal, like "Shut the front door!" and "Holy ship of fools!"

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that SheZow's protagonist is a 12-year-old boy whose alter ego is a female superhero, and a lot of the show is devoted to his attempts at adapting to life in a girl's body. While it doesn't specifically address the nitty-gritty of cross-gender roles (it's not specific about how extensive the changes are, for example), it will raise some questions for kids, especially when he/she talks about being uncomfortable in -- or, in some cases, learning to like -- his new persona. As a female superhero, SheZow wallows in some pretty flagrant gender stereotypes (packing beauty products that double as weapons and losing powers when her hair's in disarray, for instance). Interestingly, this characterization is a big contrast to that of the show's other girl character, Kelly, who's whip-smart and typically the unsung hero of each story. Cartoon violence involves weapons but is rooted in fantasy and shouldn't be an issue for the show's target age group. It's worth noting that debate over the show's appropriateness has inspired a lot of parody artwork online.

What's the story?

When Guy Hamdon (voiced by Sam Vincent) discovers a power ring in his aunt's house and slips it on his finger, he's instantly transformed into a superhero. His new powers have Guy jumping for joy ... until he realizes that he's actually a female superhero called SheZow and now has to get used to life in high heels and a skirt. Lucky for him, he can lean on his sister, Kelly (Diana Kaarina), who's up to speed on all things SheZow; his ever-loyal best friend, Maz (Matt Hill); and She-la, the omniscient computer in their new superhero lair. Can this "guy Guy" muster enough girl power to pass as the town's new hero and tackle the villains who challenge him?

Is it any good?

QUALITY

What some might call groundbreaking character development in an animated kids' series, others could find laced in ulterior motives -- so it's not surprising that SHEZOW has garnered some criticsm to its take on gender bending. The real question isn't why Guy's alter ego is a girl (though that is a good one) but why the show's creators thought it was necessary to put that spin on his character in a show targeted at elementary school kids. Based on the sheer mundanity of the rest of the content, it's tempting to assume they knew it didn't stand a chance on its own in the saturated superhero market. A boy hero who fights comical foes in his hometown? Easily forgettable. But a cross-gender hero who's simultaneously learning to fight villains and walk in heels? Now that's going to pique some curiosity.

Ultimately SheZow's appeal (or non-appeal) depends on your personal values, so only you can decide whether the way it addresses gender roles will raise questions you want to talk about with your kids. But if this issue doesn't bother you, then know that the show has some funny moments, is short on realistic violence, and features a surprisingly strong relationship between siblings.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about SheZow's message about gender roles. What does Guy learn about being a girl when he becomes SheZow? Does it change how he acts as a boy? How different is his style as SheZow than it would be if he was a male hero?

  • Kids: Why do you think the show's writers put this spin on Guy's personality? Does it teach us anything about the opposite gender? Does it make the show funnier than it would be if his gender was consistent? Is it guilty of stereotyping any aspects of femininity or masculinity?

  • How does what we see on TV influence how we think and act? Do you think that's the goal of those who create the shows we watch?

TV details

Premiere date:December 15, 2012
Cast:Diana Kaarina, Matt Hill, Sam Vincent
Network:Discovery Family Channel
Genre:Kids' Animation
Topics:Superheroes, Brothers and sisters, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
TV rating:TV-Y7-FV

This review of SheZow was written by

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byBurnedToAsh August 11, 2013

SheZow is SheMazing!

I think SheZow is a fantastic show and I let my little brother and the kids I babysit watch it. Most people get nit-picky over the fact the SheZow is a guy but I love it. It's a really great show and it has the message that girls are as strong as boys. Girls can be the superhero too!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 14 years old Written byCupcakes1702 February 13, 2015

Watch Powerpuff Girls Instead

If you want your child to watch shows putting emphasis on female characters, skip watching this show and watch the Powerpuff Girls instead. (Even though it is violent)
Teen, 15 years old Written bybakeranimator December 21, 2015

Despite Concept, The Show is Surprisingly Sexist, Stereotypical, and Cliched Overall

You would think that a show with a cross-dressing lead character would present a a message about tolerance towards the subject. However, the character in question is very resentful of the female persona he had been forced to take on. Guy is also a very unlikeable character: he's sexist ("don't act like a girl, man!"), irresponsible, obnoxious, and overall obnoxious in nature. Now, one can assume that this Guy is supposed to grow as a character over time, and become a nicer person. Spoiler alert, that's not what happens. One season in and Guy is as unlikeable as ever. Most other characters are pretty stock, the know-it-all sister, the typical best friend, the computer voice, etc. The only other character worth bringing up is Guy's police officer father. All he does is complain about how SheZow makes a mess when she/he fights crime. He even roots for baddies when they beat SheZow up. You know, the POLICE OFFICER, people who are trained to HALT violence?!? Gosh, this show is stupid. I know it's a cartoon, but I can only stretch my suspension of disbelief so far. Any way, aside from the stock and /or unlikeable characters, the show also features some HORRIBLE Flash animation. Flash has a bad reputation of being a way to make animation as cheaply, quickly, and with as little effort as possible. Granted, not all Flash-animated shows are bad in the animation department. Good examples of Flash animation include My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and the online web-series Inanimate Insanity. The animation here, however, is horribly stilted, stiff, and not fitting for any highly physical or slapstick scenes that the show is trying to do. The character designs are HIDEOUS! All the characters have buggy, baggy eyes that are very unappealing to look at, and very odd height proportions and color choices. Why do the kids have grey highlights? They're 12 year olds, not 50 year olds. The writing of the show is very cliched. The writers seem to think that having a *ahem* "creative" concept (by creative I mean a cliched concept with a minor twist that doesn't change the formula at all) it gives you the ability to be very cliched. The plot of most episodes all follow some typical super hero/Saturday morning cartoon convention that anyone over the age of 7 has already seen in dozens of other, better shows. The humor is extremely lackluster. The jokes on the show are either recycled from other shows, or grating feminine pronoun puns. Ha ha, get it? SHE-mergency!!! On the bright side, the voice acting is pretty decent. The guy who voiced Double D on Ed, Edd, and Eddy voices Guy. Despite me easily recognizing his voice, I don't find it distracting, which isn't easily accomplished. However, good voice acting cannot save this ridiculously dumb show. There is a lot of garbage on TV for kids right now, but this is just insufferable.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing