From when I saw the cover of She until about the third day of reading it, I had high hopes for the female representation in “She.” The powerful woman raising her arms in a commanding fashion, staring at the looker with a “come at me” smile, and standing amid flames seems to represents a fierce and strong character. Her introduction as “She-who-must-be-obeyed,” the supreme leader of an entire people demonstrates her power and command. However, when we finally meet her, She is completely covered. We discover the source of her power has been, from the beginning, her beauty and femininity and has only been focused on one man for 2,000 years.
Until Kallikrates would come to her rescue, She was just passing time. Although not forced by any outside witch to remain in a tower, She confined herself to her cavernous castle out of her own desire to wait for Kallikrates to return. She created multiple mutant species of humans to serve her and every night slept in Kallikrates’ tomb, unable to separate her existence from his and being entirely dependent even in his death. As a leader, she did not care about her people, try to build an empire (outside of the imagination), or invest in the civilization she presided over. She killed out of jealousy, not justice, when she struck down Ustane. All her energy and passion was devoted to the dead Kallikrates. All hope I had that “She” might still somehow manage to have some feminist message died during the heartbreaking (for me) scene where she marries Leo and says, while kneeling, “’Behold! In token of submission do I bow me to my lord! Behold!’” (248). The most powerful person in the Earth, with knowledge of life and Nature beyond mere mortal comprehension or explanation, was just waiting for her man to come and save her. When he finally does, the story is over as her life’s purpose is fulfilled and she can die. “She” was just a very long Disney princess story, minus the happy ending.