There are many positive things I could say about Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, from the characters to the world to the story. However, today I want to talk about disability representation. As a blind person, as well as a neurodivergent person, I’m always looking for positive representations of, not just blind people, but disabled people in general. For so long we were either minor characters, were only in the background, or characters who only showed up for an episode or two, for the main characters to learn a lesson about disability. Either these, or we were evil, this is particularly the case with physically disabled characters such as Captain Hook in Peter Pan. Now, there are exceptions to this, my all-time favorite being Toph Bei Fong from Avatar: The Last Airbender, and there have certainly been more since her debut in 2006, but we still certainly have work to do. Thankfully, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power give great depictions of disability.
Entrapta (Christine Woods) is the princess of Dryl. She is a technical genius, has purple hair that she uses as another set of arms, and she is autistic. This, however, is never mentioned in the show itself. It was made official by showrunner ND Stevenson. Though I slightly wish they’d declared her officially autistic in the show itself, what I like about them not doing this, is that it gave Entrapta the opportunity to just be herself. The audience couldn’t nit-pick what she had to act like, because of her autism. They couldn’t get mad because she doesn’t do this, or does do that. She is just Entrapta, a tech genius, princess of Dryl who, although she didn’t know it at the time, would become one of the most important people in the resistance, and would grow significantly along the way.
Entrapta is written so well, that people like myself knew she was neurodivergent before it was stated. Most, if not all, of the credit for this goes to Sam Szymanski, the main writer for Entrapta. Being autistic himself, he was able to bring her to life in ways the other writers could not. Having lived the life of a person with autism, he knew where her character arc should go. In Entrapta’s first episode, the first thing we hear about her is that she is a tech genius. Glimmer states that once they have made an alliance with her, they’ll, “She’ll invent all sorts of cool junk for us. And then we’ll finally have weapons that can stand up to the Horde.” (Season 1 episode 6). The use of the word “junk,” and the focus on Entrapta making weapons for the hoard, foreshadows the rift between many of the Rebellion members and Entrapta, whereby they didn’t like her as much as they like what she does for them. Along with this, Entrapta’s own fixation on First One’s tech and other such things makes her not outright notice this until she is left behind in the Horde’s base after the rescue mission to save Glimmer.
Though the Rebellion believes her to be dead, Entrapta is unaware of this and believes herself to have been willingly left behind. This leads her to reject her previous friends and lean more into Scorpia, Catra, and later Hordak, for friendship. Especially in the first two, Entrapta spends time doing things that aren’t messing with tech, like watching movies, and drinking hot cocoa together out of tiny mugs. Because of how blunt Catra is (which, if you’re like me, you need sometimes to understand something), she gets a better handle on social interactions. Granted, out of Scorpia and Catra, the former is a much better friend to Entrapta, since, just as with Glimmer, Catra still mainly cares about Entrapta when she’s useful to her. Scorpia, on the other hand, is the main one to suggest doing things together, she’s the one to name the group, Super Pal Treo and gets excited about many of the same things Entrapta does. Though she doesn’t understand Entrapta’s technological interest, and there are times when she gets mad at entrapta, it’s clear that Scorpia wants Entrapta to be happy, and, even if they don’t understand each other all the time, they are very good friends. I love that the show shows you can be friends with someone and not like all the same things and does with two multiple disabled characters.
The other thing that I love when it comes to the character dynamics and Entrapta, is that she grows as a character, without having to change herself for others, to make them comfortable. This is really shown in season 5, episode 2, when everyone is trying to track Hordak Prime’s ship to find Glimmer and rescue her.
The whole time, Entrapta is solely focused on getting the signal, to the point where she accidentally puts the others in danger. She doesn’t notice, instead making comments about how “technologically advanced” the enemy robots are, and running away from the group without them noticing. Eventually, Mermista has had enough, and snaps at Entrapta, saying: “You don’t care about Glimmer or any of us. You only care about tech.” Entrapta, surprised by this outburst, hurtlingly asks, “Are you all mad at me?” causing the others to start shouting at her. Among this, Perfuma (played by Genesis Rodriguez) tells her, “You don’t consider how your actions affect other people. Even people who are supposed to be your friends.” This is when, to me, Entrapta has one of her best moments in the whole show when she says:
“I’m not good at people, but I am good at tech. I thought maybe if I could use tech to help you, you’d like me. But I messed that up, too.” This fantastic scene continues with Entrapta running off again, only to be stopped by Mermista once more, and having this exchange:
I’m sorry I’m bad at listening! I’m sorry I mess everything up! But you need this signal, and I’m gonna get it for you.
“You’re still trying to get the signal?”
“Of course. Glimmer needs us.
The group then truly team up, with Entrapta trying her best to get the signal, and the rest either covering her, people the others working to destroy the robots coming after them.
I absolutely adore this scene! I love that the characters listen to Entrapta when she explains her train of thought and her emotions. I love that the show doesn’t say that her way of thinking is bad, but that it’s still not good to be inconsiderate, you just need to explain to others what your love language is, and you all need to work together. You need to understand each other so you can all communicate and help each other.
Not many shows would do this. So many shows and movies are about the person with the disability “overcoming” their hardships or whatever. They are rarely about a PWD and an able-bodied person compromising and coming to a mutual understanding towards each other. Normally, it’s the disabled person that has to change or do something differently to cater to the able-bodied person. I love it SO MUCH that that’s not the case here. Entrapta is at fault for not noticing she was putting her friends in danger, but the rest were at fault for not trying to understand Entrapta’s way of thinking, so they could all work with each other better. They might not ever be friends, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get along. This is something that applies to everyone, not just between disabled and non-disabled people. And this sort of thing doesn’t just occur with Entrapta, but Scorpia as well.
Scorpia (Lauren Ash) is a princess, but, since the Horde invaded her kingdom, and she was raised by the Horde as a soldier, she wasn’t a princess in the same way most of the others were. She was only one by name, and not by her behavior, or her living situation. In fact, she barely recognizes herself as a princess at all. Until later in the show, whenever it comes up, she dismisses it as not a big deal, and not she really isn’t one because of her lack of a kingdom and not behaving or looking like a princess. When it comes to her looks, you could probably guess by her name, is that she is a scorpian.〃 or scorpion-like. She is very tall and strong, with pincers for hands, and a tail that can sting and temporarily paralyze people. This is viewed as a disability of sorts in the world, as she can’t properly hold things, and in general, is different in a way that is easy to up someone down about. Although not in this way, this is a behavior that Catra commits towards Scorpia
As with both Entrapta, Catra does not treat Scorpia well in the way a friend should. She isn’t happy with her successes unless they also benefit her. She only encourages her when Scorpia not wanting to do something to Catra’s detriment, such as her not wanting to go to Princess Prom, because she feels no one will want her there. Catra does want to go, but can’t without Scorpia, as she’s not a princess herself. This is the only reason she cheers Scorpia up about going. Along with this, she only cares about Scorpia when she’s doing things for her, and if she doesn’t do them right, she gets angry and belittles Scorpia.
This specific aspect of their relationship comes to a head in season 4, episode 6, when Catra tells Scorpia to find Entrapta’s recordings for Hordak. They end up being hidden in Emily, and they cannot be removed without destroying her. Scorpia is on the fence, wanting to be loyal to Catra. However, Emily shows Scorpia the video of Catra banishing Entrapta and threatening Scorpia herself, and this makes Scorpia decide to lie to Catra, giving her a piece of broken tech, telling her that, when she tried to extract the recordings from Emily, she broke them. This leads to, among many other insults, Catra calling Scorpia useless. This is the event that lead Scorpia telling Catra, “You’re a bad friend.” and leaving the Horde, and Catra, for good.
The next time we see her, 4 episodes later, she’s snuck into Castle Brightmoon, and a meeting with the rest of the princesses. At first, they don’t trust her, being that she’s from the Horde. However, they’re all kinder than the Horde, and thus treat her much more nicely, even though she’s considered a prisoner. Her cell is just a spare room; beautiful and comfortable. perfuma brings “snacks,” (Scorpia’s first salad and vegetable, which she does not like) and runs off to get pillows for a sleepover. Meanwhile, Frosta is “guarding” Scorpia, as she insists that Scorpia is a prisoner. However, once Perfuma has left, she excitedly asks her about her pincers, and, with confirmation of how strong they are, makes ice versions over her hands. This brings Scorpia to tears, and, provokes one of the best conversations between any of the princesses in my opinion.
“Oh. Are you—? Are you crying? Is it because I made ice pincers? I’m sorry. They’re your thing. I get it.” Starts Frosta.
“No, it’s not that.” Scorpia begins through tears. “The Horde always told me I was different, that I wouldn’t fit in with you all, but you’re making me feel the opposite of not belonging, which I guess is belonging?” Then Frosta gives some very sage advice that, from my perspective, only either kids or extremely empathetic adults can:
“I used to feel that way, too. But then I met Glimmer and the others, and I realized that none of us fit in. We’re all different, but that’s okay.”
Then, later, in season 5 episode 7, she gets even more validation from Perfuma. They are trying to find someone called Peekablue, who is rumored to be able to see the future, so they could see what the Horde is planning. To do this, they disguise themselves, and go to a party witch Peekablue is holding. Perfuma is doing a great job at mingling with the other guests, but Scorpia, do to her appearance and lack of social skills, isn’t and feels very self-conscious because of it. Perfuma comforts her, telling her:
“You’re amazing. You have the biggest heart and you could do whatever you put your mind to.”
Then, when Scorpia dismisses her enjoyment of singing, due to Catra’s past annoyance with it, she says:
“Scorpia, you should do things not because you’re good at them, but because they make you happy.”
What I adore about both these two interactions with Scorpia, and those with Entrapta, is that all of them either only either relate to the character’s disability or aren’t about it at all. As stated above, Mermista and the rest aren’t in the wrong for getting annoyed at Entrapta for not noticing the danger she was putting the rest of the group in, but they were in the wrong for not trying to understand Entrapta better. This is something that could, or could not, be due to a disability, but can happen between anyone for any reason. There is also the fact that Entrapta isn’t told or shown to “overcome her disability,” but change and grow as a person. She still gets distracted by tech but is more considerate of others after the incident in this episode. There are very similar things done with Scorpia.
She has trouble interacting with others in part because of how she looks, mainly her pincers, but also because of things instilled in her by those around her growing up in the Horde. However, once she’s around people who encourage her, and embrace what others have told her is strange and unlikable about herself, she gains self-confidence. This, just like with Entrapta, is something that can be about a person with a disability, or not. Also, just like with Entrapta, she grows but doesn’t change who she inherently is. Along with this, there is one more edition to Scorpia’s story that is great in regard to disability representation; her relationship with Catra.
Many people deal with toxic relationships, no matter who they are. Anyone of any demographic has someone in their life that doesn’t treat them well, and who they should not have in their lives. What I love about Scorpia going through is, is that it has nothing to do with her disability (her pincers). She is just a person with a disability that happens to be going through something anyone else could in the right circumstances. This is what I love to see in disability rep! Just as in real life, sometimes our disabilities matter, and other times they don’t. Sometimes I need accommodation and other times I’m just a stupid person who procrastinated on doing things she should have done a long time ago. I love that this is the case for Scorpia. She, just like Entrapta, is viewed as a person first, and disabled second, both by the writers, and the other characters. They are treated like people with good and bad traits. They’re not pitied or put on a pedestal. They’re just people. This also applies to Entrapta of course. The fact that the rest of the characters mainly see her for her tech genius is rude, but also nice in a way, because they see her for who she is, good and bad. We need more of this type of representation for disabled characters and all minority characters. We’re not just a minority. We’re people who happen to be blind, Deaf, Black, or whatever. It’s a part of who we are, but not our entire identity
There are other disabled characters in this show, such as PTSD, and other such mental differences, which other characters in the show have, are considered disabilities. However, because of my connection with these two characters in particular, I wanted to focus on them. I would be best friends with both of them, and I’m so glad they are such good portrayals of people like me. I hope that others find this show in the future, and are able to connect with them, as well as the rest of the crew, in the future. This show deserves more love, and I hope it inspires more great representation.
Remember, in the words of Princess Entrapta,
“Your imperfections are beautiful!”