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Grab Your Cheetah Print Tracksuit, We’re Talking Cheetahlicious Feminism — Part 2 of 2

Cheetah Girls (Image credit: Disney)

I can slay my own dragon/ I can dream my own dreams/ My knight in shining armor is me

The Cheetah Girls brought diversity to the U.S. small screen, but what exactly did they break through?

Cheetah Girls 2 (Image credit: Disney)
Cheetah Girls (Image credit: Disney)

Before these girls took the screen, the popular sitcoms with female protagonists were white, middle class girls with stable family lives. Examples of this were “Lizzie McGuire” and “Kim Possible,” two total girl power shows without any diversity in characters.

What The Cheetah Girls did was make diversity the norm, something totally acceptable and obvious to the viewer. Of course there would be girls of all backgrounds, body types, and economic standings in New York City, how could you imagine it any differently?

Feminist politics aims to end domination to free us to be who are — to live lives where we love justice, where we can live in peace. Feminism is for everybody.

Bell Hooks

Bell Hooks, the author of “Feminism Is For Everybody,” is an intersectional feminist author that has written many books on feminism and its history and future.

Hooks claims that in order for the world to have true equal treatment of men and women, no matter their race, we need to have more representation of women of all races and backgrounds; we need to normalize diversity. We need to celebrate it, just how The Cheetah Girls did in their films.

Cheetah Girls: Heroines to all

Cheetah Girls (Image credit: Disney)
Cheetah Girls (Image credit: Disney)

These women became heroes to little girls all over the country. They taught children of color and with multicultural backgrounds that it was OK to feel pain and that their problems are normal. Throughout their three films, the girls faced family financial problems, racial issues, sexism and many other struggles that happen to women and people of all standings.

And it’s not all about the romance plot. These films stressed the importance of friendships and the strength a support network of women provides, giving some great life advice, if only subconsciously to their young viewers, for how to conduct the rest of their lives.

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4 comments

  1. I absolutely loved this. My sisters and I grew up watching Cheetah Girls and I am so glad to see it through this lens of diverse feminism. It was a pioneering portrait from Disney that shouldn’t be forgotten especially in today’s age!

  2. This article was such a fun read. I didn’t watch the Cheetah Girls growing up and I feel like I missed out. The diversity of the show was rare for when it came out, and was deservingly a hit. Having a diverse group of young women who were their own heroes adds up in all the right ways. I wonder if they ever dove more into the girls individual cultures or even family dynamics in the movies. There is so much more diversity there to explore!

  3. I loved the Cheetah Girls growing up. I agree that there was a lot more happening than just the romance plot in the films. I think that they showed what true feminist are and the strength of their friendship through struggles of everyday teenager life, plus some. I think what I loved about most about these movies was the acceptance of everyone even though they all came from different backgrounds. It’s hard growing up differently from others, but seeing that on screen and that its okay to be different is a positive message that I really appreciated growing up.

  4. I didn’t realize how big of an aspect multiculturalism is in the Cheetah Girls until today. It is a strong example of feminism and girls standing up for themselves especially for the time it came out. I grew up watching the Cheetah Girls and I’m glad Disney made that so important for young kids and especially young girls to be seeing.

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