When Saban’s Power Rangers hit theaters, millions of fans lined up to watch a new crew of teenagers protect the Zeo Crystal from Rita Repulsa. Each of 2017’s new Rangers came to the story with emotional baggage, and Kimberly, aka the Pink Ranger, had a very specific storyline to parse through. In order to bond with her Rangers, she needed to confess something awful she had done to her friend Amanda.

When we first meet Kimberly, she’s being bullied in a school bathroom by Amanda and another girl. Later, when Kimberly breaks into Jason’s, aka the Red Ranger’s, bedroom, she confesses that she shared a nude photo of Amanda with Amanda’s boyfriend, Ty, insinuating that Amanda is a “slut” and untrustworthy. Kimberly tells Jason she only did it because she had a crush on Ty. When we see Amanda next, she screams as Kimberly drops a branch on her car. Kimberly says happily, “That’s what you get!”

Power Rangers had a unique opportunity to tell a nuanced story about slut-shaming and the use of revenge porn to a teenage audience, but the film took those two subjects and mangled them beyond recognition. In making Kimberly a slut-shamer and forgiving her actions without talking about them, Power Rangers failed one of its heroes and its audience.

Victims of revenge porn are almost always women, but the perpetrators are almost always each woman’s ex-romantic partner. The most popular distribution platform for revenge porn, aka non-consensual porn, is Facebook. By eliminating the role of the man, Ty, in the movie’s storyline and then blaming Kimberly’s victim for the entire conflict, Power Rangers brings up a subject that’s extremely relevant to its modern teen audience and then gives them no useful information or narrative context. The film’s revenge porn storyline essentially leaves the viewer to believe that women routinely hurt each other over passing attractions to men and that making an enemy of a peer is excusable, or even applause-worthy, as long as one girl comes out on top.

Dean Israelite chose to focus one of his superhero’s stories about a very real crime, but in muddying the blame and excusing Kimberly without interrogating her internalized misogyny, he pretty much just tells his audience, “bitches be crazy.”


Power Rangers is currently playing in theaters nationwide.

Photos via Lionsgate

Emily is the comics editor at Inverse. She lives in Manhattan, where she feeds her pet rats.