Problematic PowerPuff Girl
If you are a person of color and want to see yourself represented more in media, sure it’ll happen, but at a cost. On September 6, Cartoon Network took to its Instagram page to tease fans with the announcement of a new addition to the Powerpuff Girltrio consisting of Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup. Rumors spread and we soon found out that the fourth sister was in fact an older POC. We would later find out the new sister’s name is Bliss.
As a woman of color, it means a lot to see some type of representation, it means even more to see the correct representation, in an industry filled with, and I hate to say, but Becky’s with the good hair.
If you are triggered by this point in the article just imagine how a women of color feels watching Bliss display all the stereotypes that women of color have been trying to run away from but media can’t seem to let go of in a five-part series. The fourth Powerpuff Girlis problematic as hell and here is why:
Bliss cannot seem to control her anger. Whether she is happy or sad, Bliss always seems to let her emotions get the best of her, which results in her wreaking havoc and destroying every and anything insight. Bliss’ explosive manner is due to the Professor accidentally adding a fictitious Chemical W in her system and how it pairs with sugar, spice, and everything nice. She is so emotionally unstable that she literally blew her house up ten years ago and ran away because of it, which is why we never saw her in earlier episodes. Out of all the backstories Cartoon Network could’ve come up is the angry black persona what seemed appealing at the time? Really Cartoon Network? Why does the ONLY POC PPG have to have an attitude problem? This label is rooted in fear and actually inaccurate. There are actresses of color who literally only get the role of the angry black woman, which sends a message that, that is where our talents start and end; having a nasty attitude and to not be messed with.
Luckily, thanks to people like Shonda Rhimes, Issa Rae and Ava Duvernay, women of color are now being depicted as more than the home girl with the attitude. We are being portrayed as working-class citizens, moms, and sisters dealing with real struggles like pay inequalities at work, relationship issues, and what dress makes us look hotter.
I’m sorry Cartoon Network but I am not Bliss, nor are my fellow women of color.
Cartoons are a means to escape reality, and while art may imitate life, it is falsely being reenacted. When you pull a stunt like this, you add fuel to a fire that continues to depict women of color in an undesirable manner; a manner that we refuse to accept and yes, that last part was with attitude.
Wait, I’m not done. I told you Bliss was problematic for a reason.
Mojo Jojo was Bliss’ best friend when he was Professor Utonium’s assistant. Yes, a monkey. A black girl had a monkey as a best friend. Disparaging stereotypes and racist symbolism, reach, I think not. Sadly, it only gets worse.
I know Bliss is the older sister but did they have to make her look like she got a two for one deal on waist trainers and flat tummy tea. She’s a teenager but why out of all sisters is her body more accentuated than the others. Black bodies have been fetishized and hypersexualized, since before the Transatlantic Slave Trade, that was a little quick history lesson. So, taking a serious look into Bliss’ physical portrayal is crucial. The make-up of her body was extra and uncalled for.
Cartoon Network, you guys have to take Blisstina Francesca Francia Mariam Alicia Utonium back to the drawing board; and yes, that is Bliss’ full name. This is just another sad case of a big company trying to hop on the diversity bandwagon without actually taking into consideration what factors might trigger the audience that they are trying to reach. Honestly, if you are not going to take the proper time out to do things right, save us all some time and don’t do it at all.