I love Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Present tense. I still love this show so much. I think that Sabrina is a highly empowering female individual and this article merely served to point out some of the aspects that I had not realized, especially about her aunts representing a lesbian couple. It may be my unabashed love for this show but I feel as though the article critique is unfair. Yes, Sabrina loves clothes and we may not get the same perspective from Harvey, but the show is not called Harvey the Teenage Mortal. Naturally, the show details the perspective of the female because Sabrina is a woman. And I do not think that loving clothes and wanting to attract a boy is anti-feminist statement. I think it’s a reflection of reality for any and all sexes.
However, this article did give me pause when it began to list all of the other “feminist” television shows of the 90s. At least five of them revolved around an “empowered” female (literally). For me this seems to imply that most feminist television icons seem to need supernatural powers in order to rise above typical ideals of femininity. Within the context of both Sabrina and Buffy the Vampire Slayer the main protagonist is contrasted against other not so “empowered” women. Sabrina is able to rise above gendered norms because she is a witch with a more elevated sense of being, but Libby, a normal mortal, adheres to all of the typical female gender roles. Same in Buffy, whose main nemesis is Cordelia, another mortal who cannot rise above gendered norms.
While I still love these shows it makes me wonder if the media presents this idea that normal woman without magical powers can never truly be “empowered.”