One day, a friend of mine put on the Disney Channel comedy K. C. Undercover, about a family of secret agents with a teenage daughter and son, as well as a group of friends who are also secret agents. As I watched the show, I took note of the interactions between the characters, and I noticed that they epitomized what is generally considered “appropriate” for the 2010s.
You can see where this is going.
K. C. Undercover lays the grrl power on thick. Apart from the occasional slapstick moment, every female is strong and has it together, generally showing high levels of competence. Furthermore, they underline this competence with a snarky attitude, always ready with the right remark to put a naysayer in his place.
The guys, on the other hand, are useless dorks. Often awkward and foolish, they are repeatedly reprimanded by the far more skilled females, and they hinder the missions as much as help due to their constant mistakes. They come off almost like big children who need constant looking after. The few competent men on the show tend to be villains, who the girls of course defeat easily.
This kind of thing is taken to represent a properly “modern” approach to storytelling: men may not be heroic, respected leaders, since that is “patriarchal.” Women cannot need help from a man, or worse, be any kind of non-combatant to him because that is “sexist.” And finally, women must be presented as the natural equals of men in hand-to-hand combat; shooting men, while far more practical for a woman, doesn’t establish enough feminist street cred since it doesn’t “prove” her strength.
I have heard that while this sort of thing is common in the entertainmenr industry, Disney is particularly bad about it. Though I do remember Kim Possible being similar (only Ron actually helped, as did Wade), I don’t watch enough of the Disney Channel to say for sure.
Nonetheless, skip this series if you want to keep your sanity.