The animation, “The Yarners: Waking Ugly” challenges the established gender binary of heroes and princesses. The story revolves around a character who is as comfortable in her “femininity” as she is in her “masculinity”. By taking the traditional domestic craft of knitting, and turning it into a weapon similar to the Zai, the character uses skills perceived as womanly alongside those that will turn her into the popular, masculine conception of a hero.
The super-hero-fairytale is set in the 1950’s, a time when gender roles were strictly enforced by popular culture and the media. But it was also a time when women, after being given opportunities in the work force during the war, were starting to expect more equality. Many women lost their jobs to returning soldiers, but those skills and the knowledge, and the awareness of the ability to use those skills remained. So a decade after the war a 60 year old woman with the ability to work power tools, as well has having the experience of knitting countless numbers of socks for the troops overseas, takes up her knitting needles and welding torch once again when her home town is in danger of an alien invasion. The prick of a spinning wheel, instead of sending her into an endless sleep, forced to rely on a man for her rescue, gives her super human strength. The main character isn’t a damsel in distress. She is a woman with the strength and single-minded need for adventure usually only reserved for the male lead.