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October 14, 2019

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New Mistress of Evil: What makes women strong?

Meet the new girl cartoon superhero: someone who takes no nonsense from anyone and revels in a good fight as much as the boys.

That is how Lauren Faust, the executive producer of the new hit television series, “DC Super Hero Girls,” sees her.

But Hollywood stars Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning seemed to take a different tack this weekend, days before the premiere of their new movie, “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.”

They insist that girls being strong is about more than being physically tough. Jolie said that strong women are often portrayed as having to “beat the man, or she has to be like the man, or she has to somehow not need the man.”

But Faust told the world’s biggest gathering of makers of children’s entertainment in the south of France that is not just boys who want to watch their superheroes face off against each other.

“Too many shows for girls are less about entertaining them or reflecting them and come across as lectures on how we expect girls to behave,” she argued at MIPJunior in Cannes, which ended yesterday.

Faust admitted that “some of the fights get extreme” in her Cartoon Network show, a rebooted version of a DC superhero series now on Netflix.

“Girls have been short-changed in the cool stakes” for years by traditional television, said Faust, an Emmy winner who previously worked on “My Little Pony” and “Super Best Friends Forever.”

“Girls are portrayed as perfect angels all the time. That is why (their shows) end up being very soft and very nice and everyone is very concerned about everybody else’s feelings all the time.” But that is not what young teenage girls want from their superheroes, Faust insisted.

“It is important to a degree but not really exciting to watch, and is that something that is going to follow you growing up in your life?”

Faust said Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl and the vegan environmental superhero Green Lantern must overcome their own flaws and weaknesses as well as their daily teenage struggles before they take on evil.

“Our superheroes also have teenage supervillains and we do not hold back,” she said.


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