“Which ranger do you want to be, yellow or pink?” asked one of my friend a couple of years back when I went to her house to spend the day. Back then Power rangers SPD was the new cool show among the kids of my age. My excited face turned into a frown and I replied, “No! None of these, I will be the red ranger.” She looked at me with an exasperating expression. “Ew, why do you want to be red ranger, you know right girls can only be yellow or pink rangers,” she told me.
Of course I knew, but it’s just that red ranger appealed me more than the yellow or pink ranger. I was probably nine or ten year’s old then and I didn’t really understand why red ranger had to be played by a boy. I understood it that way then- pink and yellow are “girls” colour and red, blue and green are “boys” colour. But the colours of the rangers had much more to do that just being associated with a particular gender.
Today so many different types of power ranger series have been released-power rangers dino thunder, power rangers mega force, power rangers samurai, power rangers ninja…what remains common in all these except for the amazing powers they have, is that the red ranger still remains a boy. For those who have ever watched the power rangers will know that red ranger is mostly the superior or the leader of the ranger’s team. Hence red ranger is the dominating one, the one with the extra special features. After so many years, the red ranger is still played by a male. And all the cute colours go to the female rangers.
The thing which disturbs me is that people don’t even have a problem with this. Things start right from the grass root level. When you air a show, which specifies a colour to be dominant and related to a particular gender over the years, the children are bound to associate it like that. When you show Barbie wearing pink, pink will automatically be regarded as a colour for the female. Because of course you won’t let your son play with Barbie, will you??? You can only post status about gender equality, for when it comes to letting your son or daughter picking up their choices, you narrow their choices to their respective “genders.” Again their gender will have to be according to what their sex declares, not what they choose. Oh and of course the society has an upper hand to decide what gender roles your child should stick too.
Coming back to the topic of our hero, red ranger. It’s only after so many years that I have realised, why I couldn’t be the red ranger then…and after so many years even now. It’s only because I am a girl and like my friend said before, shouldn’t I know that I can only be yellow and pink ranger because some person there has decided to make “red” the colour of dominance, and when we talk of dominance, of course it has to be a male character. After all, female characters playing a dominant role can only happen once or twice for the sake of feminism. Only once was the red ranger played by a female that too was a special appearance in the show.
I have nothing against power rangers; it was my favorite show for a long time. But the burden of not being allowed to enact as the red ranger stayed with me always, and now that I have a deeper understanding of things, I feel sad that girls were never seen good enough to be red rangers. I refuse to be told by anyone which ranger I can be and which I can’t. I will be the red ranger, no matter how much you try to tell me that I can never be the red ranger.