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Credit: Filmation

Warrior Women

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Sep 1, 2020, 12:00 PM EDT

Thirty-five years ago, She-Ra:Princess of Power was released. The cartoon and toy line were spun off from Mattel’s He-Man animated series — co-produced with Filmation — and successful Masters of the Universe toys. She-Ra would be the first time young girls had a series of action figures made specifically for them, along with a cartoon that had a full cast of female characters as opposed to the standard single token girl amongst a group of male heroes. She-Ra, and her alter ego Adora, was a sword wielding warrior princess that helped lead a group of rebels in the fight to free the planet Ethernia against a tyrannical rule of a villain named Hordak.

Ten years later, another warrior princess would arrive, this time in the live-action fantasy, Xena: Warrior Princess. Xena would defy typical fantasy tropes, featuring women as rarely more than love interests or existing merely in service to the male protagonist's journey. She-Ra and Xena were trailblazers, showing audiences that a woman’s place wasn’t merely as sidekick, and they both challenged the definition of femininity. These shows gave the world layered, capable women who were strong physically and emotionally. And both became cultural icons with legacies that carried on for decades beyond their finales.

The idea of a warrior woman wasn’t born with either show. Warrior women have long existed in numerous cultures and folklore, as well as ancient history. But whether it’s the Briton’s Queen Boudica, Sekhmet of Ancient Egypt, the Chihenne warrior Lozen, or the Greek Goddess Diana, warrior women have always been proof that women posses a wild inner-strength, courage, and the ability to be great leaders, especially when the world least expects it. They have been inspiration for characters like She-Ra and Xena and Wonder Woman and countless others. And they’ve hopefully served as a reminder to many generations that they, too, are descended from great women whose fierce spirits runs through them. So for the month of September we’re celebrating some of our favorite warrior women in pop culture.

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