Why ‘Xena: Warrior Princess’ Is The Feminist Show You Need To Watch

March is Women’s History Month, so it’s a great time to celebrate strong female characters in mainstream media, and what better show than Xena: The Warrior Princess? Xena: The Warrior Princess is a 90’s TV show set in an ancient mythological world. In the show, Xena must redeem herself from her past sins and use her skills to save lives. Here are four reasons why Xena is a feminist icon you need to watch today: 

1. Xena doesn’t need a man to save her.

Xena and her companion, Gabrielle, find love throughout the series, but their storylines don’t revolve around romantic relationships. The men in the series often assume secondary roles, like villains or  comedic relief. Furthermore, Xena and Gabrielle often save themselves or each other. Xena switches gender roles, impactfully changing up how we would expect to see women on a “hero” show. 

2. Xena has children without a man.

Many shows depict childbirth as the end of a woman’s sexuality. However, in Xena: Warrior Princess, both Xena and Gabrielle bear children through immaculate conception during the series. Xena and Gabrielle don’t need sex with a man to have a child, which is a powerful feminist concept. 

3. Xena and Gabrielle’s friendship is intimate.

There are not many feminine friendships on TV quite like Xena and Gabrielle’s. Their relationship is reminiscent of old-timey friendships, in which women would write each other passionate letters, hold hands, caress each other, and even kiss. Furthermore, Xena and Gabrielle empower each other instead of bringing each other down. Although Xena and Gabrielle face trials in their friendship, they don’t focus on petty drama. On the contrary, they reassure each other and support each other’s decisions.   

4. The female characters grow throughout the series.

Several of Xena’s female characters grow throughout the series.  For instance, Xena isn’t just a mere action hero – her skills develop throughout the series as she atones for her misdeeds as a former warlord. Furthermore, Gabrielle begins the series as a young, impressionable girl and grows into a bard and a fighter. And Calisto, the series’ villain, realizes over time that revenge will never fill the void in her heart and eventually joins Xena on the “good side.”

Xena: Warrior Princess has many complex feminist ideas layered into the show, so it’s worth watching to celebrate Women’s History Month. The show’s feminist ideals were ahead of its time, and we clearly need more shows like Xena in the media today. 

Have you watched Xena? What are your favorite feminist shows? Let us know in the comments!

Featured Photo via xena.family.

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