The Powerpuff Girls and Peace Collective have joined forces for International Women’s Day by launching an athleisure line dedicated to its three loveable and inspiring heroes — Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup. Teaming up with The Powerpuff Girls for #IWD2021 makes perfect sense — the show infused our childhoods with a heavy dose of girl power, and for many of us, it was the first time we’d seen a girl gang of superheroes on our TV screens. The iconic cartoon was known for subtly (and sometimes not-so-subtly) smashing patriarchal beliefs and fighting for equality, while kicking some serious butt.
Airing for six seasons from 1998 to 2005, The Powerpuff Girls were born through Professor Utonium’s potent concoction — sugar, spice and everything nice…oh, and an accidental dose of Chemical X. Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup were kindergartners by day and fought evil by night, though they had to be home for bedtime. That didn’t stop them from fighting crime in Townsville while teaching us some important life lessons.
In honour of the collection and #IWD2021, we’re going back in time to remember three feminist lessons The Powerpuff Girls taught us.
The Powerpuff Girls taught us that equality is the goal
Though touted as a show about “girl power,” the underlying message was wholly about equality. In the episode “Equal Fights,” the three pint-sized superheroes faced off with Femme Fatale — a misandrist villian who used her disdain for men as an excuse for her crimes. Femme Fatale may have been a flawed character, but she made some good points — she only stole coins bearing the image of Susan B. Anthony because all the other money had men on them. She pushed The Powerpuff Girls to think about why male superheroes were glorified and why there weren’t many female superheroes to look up to. The girls were persuaded, and started to develop a disdain for men too, using their powers to express their anger toward the patriarchy. In the end, the moral of the story was that the aim of feminism is real equality, not role reversal, special treatment, or a world where women bash and disparage men. The episode’s theme tied into a lesson they taught about Susan B. Anthony, who broke the law by voting in the 1872 presidential election — a right women didn’t have at the time. When Anthony was found guilty, authorities didn’t want to jail her but Susan insisted she be sent to prison, refusing special treatment, and to be sentenced like any man. If you missed that lesson in history class, at least you had The Powerpuff Girls.
Though touted as a show about ‘girl power,’ the underlying message was wholly about equality.
The Powerpuff Girls taught us to challenge traditional gender roles
If you listened closely to the dialogue, you’d know that The Powerpuff Girls didn’t miss an opportunity to defy traditional gender norms. Take the episode “Members Only,” for example. In the episode, the girls wanted to audition to be part of the Association of World Super Men, but were quickly discouraged by imposter syndrome — a feeling many women can relate to, especially when entering male-dominated spaces. With persuasion from the Professor, the girls auditioned and passed the Association’s tests with flying colours, but the members denied them entry because they were girls. The episode highlights that The Powerpuff Girls didn’t grow up with traditional gender roles. The Professor, who acts as a father to the girls, does the jobs that men and women traditionally do, from cleaning to laundry. He didn’t mow the lawn or wash the car, though — that was Bubble’s job. In the end, the Association of World Super Men gained respect for The Powerpuff Girls and wound up joining their newly formed Society of Associated Puffketeers, kissing gender norms goodbye by wearing Powerpuff-style dresses.
The Powerpuff Girls taught us about toxic masculinity
Who could forget the dreaded Rowdyruff Boys? Over 20 years later, and the mention of their name alone is enough to make your eyes roll. In “The Rowdyruff Boys” episode, Mojo Jojo concocted three male villains as the antithesis to The Powerpuff Girls. The Rowdyruff Boys were born, wreaking havoc on Townsville with their aggression, ruthlessness and disregard for human life, but the girls quickly realized that the boys had one major weakness. “Whenever [the Rowdyruff Boys’] masculinity is threatened, they shrink in size,” Blossom noted in the episode. For many of us, this was our first lesson in toxic masculinity. How did The Powerpuff Girls defeat them? By smothering them in femininity, causing the boys to spontaneously combust.
For many of us, this was our first lesson in toxic masculinity.
Feeling nostalgic yet? Check out the Peace Collective’s collab with The Powerpuff Girls for International Women’s Day 2021, featuring your feminst favs Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup. What better way to celebrate #IWD2021 than to #EMPOWERPUFF yourself with the latest gear?
The line features three different sweat sets that embody each Powerpuff Girl with their signature colours, perfect for lounging or working from home.