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Although the magical girl genre inspires cisgender girls and women, the genre also has the potential to do the same for transgender and non-binary people.

By Latonya Pennington Originating in Japan as a sub genre of Japanese anime, the magical girl genre is known for young girls utilizing special abilities, femininity, and cuteness to save the world from evil. This year marks the 20th anniversary of two groundbreaking magical girl shows, Sailor Moon and Revolutionary Girl Utena. While both shows are considered empowering for cisgender girls and women, I've come to relate to them and the entire magical girl genre differently as a Black femme non-binary demi-girl. Of the two shows, Revolutionary Girl Utena has made the most impact on me as a non-binary person. The anime tells the story of a teen girl named Utena Tenjou. When Utena's parents die when she is a child, Utena is comforted by a young man known as “The Prince”, who gives her a ring that will lead her to him. Utena is so impressed by The Prince that she decides to become a Prince herself. The ring causes Utena to attend Otori Academy, where Utena becomes embroiled in a conspiracy involving a series of duels surrounding the Rose Bride Anthy Himemiya. Two years ago, Utena sparked my gender queer awakening because she was a girl who desired to be a Prince and liked wearing a boy's uniform at school. She validated my high school experiences of liking t-shirts and pants and short hair over long hair and overly feminine clothes. When Utena gets scolded for wearing a boy's uniform, she spoke to my experience of being told, "Girls should have long hair." Utena made me realize that if I didn't consider myself a girl, then I could become something else.

I’m sure Jodie Whittaker will be great as The Doctor, but this was still quite the lost opportunity for some much-needed color representation in a franchise that has only recently been diversifying its main actors.

They did it. After approximately 500 million years of Doctor Who’s time traveling, two-hearted, shapeshifting Time Lord, the 13th iteration will appear in the form of a woman. Hooray! The gender wall in one of Earth’s most beloved characters has been broken. The casting announcement of Broadchurch’s Jodie Whittaker as the new Doctor broke to the sound of men’s rights activists and internet trolls shitting themselves over this most inhumane of travesties, while feminists cheered at the smashing of this one particular glass ceiling. On the one hand this is a great step forward and a huge accomplishment for women’s representation in visual media–but here’s the thing: even with the gender flip, casting a blonde, cisgender white woman isn’t really all that progressive anymore. As someone who grew up in post-colonial societies during the 80s and 90s where British television was some of the few readily available visual media, I was raised with the older iterations of The Doctor, his Tardis, and magical screwdriver. For someone who could change his face (sort of) at will and whose gender identity and sexuality was always questionable based on The Doctor’s behavior and antics, it always seemed odd that he continued to be played by an older white dude. When the series picked back up in 2005 and featured younger actors playing The Doctor, it did bring an edge to the series that it didn’t have before, but still it was curious that he’d always reincarnate into a similar-looking person.

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