If representation is important, then give us a Bliss who isn’t the result of an irresponsible white man. I was a little late on the news of “the new Black Powerpuff Girl.” I am one of the slightly older Millennials who preferred the old version, and my one time attempt to watch the reboot was regrettable—it was an episode about Bubbles winning tickets to see this three-piece boy band who casually appropriated Black/Latinx gestures and dances, and was reminiscent of N’Sync. Sufficiently put off, I shoved this reboot out of my mind while occasionally peeking at Teen Titans Go! (which is sometimes funny but practically ruined the dark, angsty Raven, but that’s a discussion for another day). So imagine my surprise when, a couple of days ago, I see news about a Black Powerpuff Girl. By surprise I mean, curiosity mingled with apprehension. As I learned more about Blisstina "Bliss" Francesca Francia Mariam Alicia Utonium, it wasn’t the name that struck me, nor her hippiness—characteristics mentioned in this short piece posted on Black Nerd Problems—no, what struck me was how eerily familiar Bliss’s story seemed, and how it seemed to parallel the experiences of BI/WOC with this and other European countries medical/scientific institutions. BI/WOC bodies have routinely been exploited for the greater gains of scientific progress. That Professor Utonium would just casually file Bliss away and never mention her was quite possibly the most abhorrent part of this story for me. The shattered bottles of other abandoned experiments carelessly strewn around his laboratory seem to convey that he really considers Bliss and others to be necessary collateral damage. This short clip of her back story shows that the writers tried very hard to make us sympathize with the Professor and centers his emotions: “I assumed the worst,” he claimed after one of Bliss’s tantrums blew up the house.
The new Powerpuff Girl, Bliss, is so important to little brown girls around the world who sit watching the rebooted version of the show today. By Jonita Davis There used to be only one way to get my three girls, ages 2, 4, and 6 to settle down long enough to give me a break. I would pop in a DVD of The Powerpuff Girls cartoons or turn to a marathon on Cartoon Network. The girls would watch the show, mesmerized by the colors, the story, and the action for at least a half hour. They each had a designated Powerpuff Girl. The oldest was Blossom, the four-year-old was Buttercup, and the youngest was always Bubbles. They would keep these parts for years, and act out their own fights for the safety of Townsville in my living room. Many a lamp and three couches were sacrificed to the cause. My little brown-skinned girls would imagine themselves as these bold, magical characters and would spend hours recreating their favorite episodes or making up completely new villains and storylines. When their little brother came along a few years later, he would assume the role of either the professor or the villain of the hour. No, he could not be one of The Powerpuff Girls, those parts were only for girls. I have to admit that I loved seeing my girls using their imaginations to make up stories that required courage, confidence, and even more imagination to fulfill. I truly believed that seeing girls in a position of power and intelligence on screen had something to do with the confidence and strength my girls have now. Today, my Blossom is about to celebrate her 21st birthday in a few days. My Buttercup is 1500 miles away at college, and my Bubbles is working her way through her senior year in high school. They are all strong and independent women. I think all those Powerpuff Girls sessions had something to do with that.
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