Today is International Women’s Day, which coincidentally falls on the day after the anniversary of the start of the Sailor Moon anime!
To be honest, I don’t really remember a time where I didn’t know about Sailor Moon. The dub first aired when I was in kindergarten, and I fell in love at first sight. I think that what makes Sailor Moon so special to so many of us is its relatability— with so many main characters, there is a wide variety of personality types portrayed. Not only that, but the characters are so interconnected that they become a part of each other, and so viewers like us can find a different part of ourselves in each one, and connect intimately to every character on a different level.
But what I really love about Sailor Moon is its celebration of femininity, and its acknowledgement that there is no single definition of femininity. The Sailor Senshi are not ashamed of the fact that they are women, nor do any of them feel that they need to conform to a particular image. They are strong in their femininity, they are weak in their femininity. They are human. They transform using icons of stereotypical femininity (lip rods, compacts), and they fight in miniskirts. But they also challenge traditional gender roles. They don’t wait for a prince charming to rescue them— instead, they rescue the prince, or choose to rely entirely on themselves. Or, they may choose to let others wonder about their gender, finding this identification irrelevant or unimportant to their objectives.
There is no one “woman”. And there is no one way to grow up, to enter into adulthood and become a woman.
As a child, I strongly identified with Chibiusa’s growth throughout SuperS, finding myself going through the same sorts of experiences and feelings at the time. She came into her own, becoming her own sort of woman. Though she admires her mother, she ultimately realizes that she should not compare herself to her, and finds her own way.
Now, I find myself relating more strongly with Usagi, who struggles to find a balance between being a “normal girl” and being a Sailor Senshi. I think we all have trouble with these sorts of ideas— we feel that we might need to conform, or we wish to cling on to our past… but like Usagi, we come to learn that being a woman— being anyone— is complicated, and full of contradictions. It’s hard to work through these, but we have to keep on going, keep moving forward.
International Women’s Day is a very important celebration, so please enjoy it to the fullest! Please remember that there may be people struggling— because of their gender identity, because of the circumstances they find themselves in, because of mental health concerns, or for any other reason. And take this day to reflect on their lives and your own. We’re all in this together, no matter the gender or anything else. So let’s make the most of this life!