Bubbles, Blossom and Buttercup have "dedicated their lives to fighting crime and the forces of evil," but they're now also using their superpowers to help kids understand gender issues in the recently rebooted Powerpuff Girls.
In an episode titled, "Horn, Sweet Horn," new friend Donny the pony desperately wants to become a unicorn, even wearing a fake horn on his head. “I may not have a horn but I do have a heart, and in that heart I know I’m a beautiful unicorn!” Donny tells Bubbles.
The superhero trio try to help Donny change into a unicorn but after a failed transformation procedure by the girls' creator, Professor Utonium, they turn to the Unicorn Coalition Alliance Brigade Headquarters. There they find out Donny was always a unicorn, even if he looked like a horse to everyone else. The episode ends with a giant heart in the colors of the transgender flag on the screen.
"We did an episode where there's a unicorn. Basically when it starts out, he's a pony, but he wants to be a unicorn," Executive Producer Nick Jennings told the Los Angeles Times. "He has to go through a transformation to become a unicorn and so it's a whole [episode that asks], 'What are you on the inside? What are you on the outside? How do you identify yourself? How do people see you?' There's a lot of subtext in that."
This isn't the first time that The Powerpuff Girls have tackled gender stereotypes since the series returned earlier this year. A previous episode introduced the villain Manboy who has "all the power of a man in the body of a boy," whose goal was to make Townville more manly.
"An old-thinking type of male character set into this modern-day world," said Jennings. "Manboy is the perfect kind of villain for us. I don't think you can be too young to start talking about those issues and thinking about those things and just presenting an attitude," said Jennings, "and a voice that is going to resonate with people."
h/t: LGBTQ Nation