Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Through the Linen Closet, Back to My Childhood

Firstly, this article was a real treat. Not only was I able to transport myself back to a time when sitting in front of my grandparents' TV watching TGIF was the best part of going to their house, but I was reminded of the reasons why I loved Sabrina so much as a kid. She's strong and independent, at the time I thought her to be the coolest and trendiest character on television, she had two quirky and put-together aunts, and of course, the witty banter that always took place between Sabrina and Salem. Melissa Joan Hart ended up being one of those actresses that you followed everywhere: Clarissa Explains It All, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, and oh hey--remember when her wedding was televised and my best friend and I treated it as if it were the royal wedding?

Sabrina was great, undoubtedly, and this article ascertains that further; but one thing that I can't get past in reading this article is that it seems as if the main component of Sabrina's (and her aunts') confidence, independence, and strong will is based in the fact that she/they is/are in fact magical. Frequently, she gets what she wants and that is due mostly to her strong character; she constantly one-ups Libby, but for the most part is Libby not trying to steal Harvey from her or reveal to the world that Sabrina is a "freak"? The show is centered upon a world that quite frankly does not exist, yet it somehow connotes the message of defying gender roles and empowering young women.

On page 15, a list of TV shows and movies are listed; those that really stood out to me were the ones that I remember as being the most popular, obviously. They were: Sabrina, Buffy, The Secret World of Alex Mack, Clarissa Explains It All, Sister, Sister, Daria, Harriet the Spy, Matilda, and the rerelease of The Wizard of Oz. Out of these nine productions, five have clear connections to the supernatural. Sabrina as a witch, Buffy as a vampire slayer, Alex Mack as some chick that was tainted by some weird gunk that gave her magical powers, Matilda as the most adorable witch around, and Dorothy as being whisked away into a land of Munchkins and Wicked Witches of the East and West. These characters are intended to set good examples for young women, but the worlds in which they live are simply fantasies it seems. Why must these shows be centered around the supernatural if they are to depict women as strong and intelligent and as independent of the good graces of men? Perhaps this will attract more attention? Obviously Sabrina wouldn't have been an interesting show if it weren't for the hysterical mishaps that occur on behalf of her magic, but it leads one to wonder...why were these shows so successful? Did they truly convey messages of self-empowerment to young girls? Or did we really only notice the magic? Just some food for thought...

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