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I watched Pokemon: Diamond & Pearl during elementary and middle school, and Dawn became one of my all-time favorite characters. This might seem a little strange given that Dawn was a girl who loved pink and dresses, while I was a girl who rejected all things feminine, including my “girly” classmates. However, I realize now that I adored her so much because she challenged my conceptions of what femininity could be.
Both series, at the surface level, encourage their audiences to be mindful and critical of the ideas they’re asked to buy into as the price of inclusion. However, there is a stark contrast between how these series portray the underlying power dynamics, prejudices, and active malice behind these policies, as well as the particulars of their respective calls to action. This reveals a difference in priorities; where Insight offers vague hope and comfort with no clear call to action, Yurikuma actively aims to elevate marginalized voices.