Power Rangers and The Deadly Case of Boob Pockets

How is it that we have actually done worse on a costume than something that came out of the mid-1990s? That is the first question I asked myself when I looked at the Power Rangers movie that is due to be released in 2017.

Upgrades are part of the destiny of any new film, and the difference in directors and their vision. Rebooting means that the costumes are open for new interpretation, in a way that appeals to the kids they are trying to draw in. But we really need to talk about the boob pockets for a minute.

EW released this exclusive look at the suits on Thursday.


See them? On the girls? That part where it’s very clear they have boobs on super suits designed to beat up bad guys? Because it was super important that the suits are gendered. So that everyone can know that the pink and yellow Power Rangers are girls. Not only is this subversive, it is just generally bad writing. It makes me believe that the people responsible for this show don’t understand the power of their craft to reinforce negative stereotypes.

Like with the whitewashing of Rita Repulsa – changing her from an Asian woman to Elizabeth Banks – the suits are offensive. In one simple design, their abilities, their strengths, are boiled down to breasts and whether or not they have them.

In a movie aimed at children.

It could be argued that it’s a harmless design, but if you can explain to me a reason they have them instead of the heavy breastplate the men have, one that is not steeped in misogyny, I will take my mea culpa. I will drink an entire latte of mea culpa.

Let’s set the misogyny aside for a second and talk about the purely realistic reason why any person who is looking to kick butt would not put boob pockets onto their super suits. It’s a pretty simple one; one that anybody with logic should get. The boob pockets act as a pretty streamlined guide for swords, for knives, for bullets. It lines all of these things up with your heart in a way a straight breastplate would not.

It also, simply put, awful.

Kids take these lessons home with them. They look at what you show them and internalize it. And right now, in one simple image the design team and director is showing them to measure a heroine by her breasts first, her abilities maybe not ever. It teaches them that our bodies are for public consumption.

At least the original Power Rangers movie, as silly as it was, had equality among the suits and some common sense among the design. No one needed the boob pockets to know who was who despite the masks. You know why? Because kids are smart, and creators really need to stop treating them like they don’t get it. They do.

Equality is not hard. Whitewashing is not necessary. For the love of everything nerdy and good in this world, stop being the problem. (Also, Hollywood, please stop ruining my childhood.) Please, and thank you.

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