In the wake of International Women’s Day, Alex Casey remembers an unlikely feminist hero: a squirrel who lives in a plastic dome under the sea.
Call the police if you like, but I still think SpongeBob SquarePants is good and funny. I recall long childhood afternoons when I would eat Yum Bars, small bags of chippies and Milo in front of the TV after school until I literally threw up one time, chortling all the way in front of my favourite sea sponge and his gang of underwater pals. Those chortles haven’t gone away, from watching this on repeat just now to scrolling through Mr Krabs memes until I inevitably drop my phone on my face and enter a brief coma.
Also, it’s about time for a massive shout out to Sandy Cheeks who, in the wake of International Women’s Day, is doing bloody great things for a cartoon squirrel who lives in a plastic air-locked dome under the sea. She’s an unsung hero of the deep, and here are some of the reasons I’m glad that she was there when my younger self was belching heartily in front of the telly.
She’s a scientist and inventor
With only 28% of jobs in STEM industries being held by women in New Zealand, we could learn a lot from Sandy Cheeks. She’s a scientist sent into the ocean to study the marine life around her, as well as an inventor. Some of her great masterworks include a spaceship, a teeny tiny submarine and a bloody teleporter.
She bites back
The tough Texan isn’t afraid of anyone, and relishes owning just about every living creature on the ocean floor. Whilst everyone up here is clapping back on Twitter, Sandy is ripping the tattoos of big freaky fish men. Similar.
She’s an older woman
I am still shook by the revelation on her Wikipedia page that Sandy Cheeks is 42 years old and now I hope you are too. In a mediascape where only 26.9% of characters on television are women over 40, Cheeks is doing a lot to raise the bar for older women under the sea.
She wears what she wants
Everyone knows that you only need two wardrobe staples to go from day to night: a purple bikini and an astronaut outfit #dresslikeawoman.
She was originally supposed to be Spongebob’s girlfriend
Spongebob may have big spongey heart-shaped eyes for Sandy, but she has never once wavered in her stance as a strong independent woman. In fact, according to my favourite website, she is the only main character not to fall in love in any episode of Spongebob Squarepants.
She’s the strongest in the land (sea)
Even that ripped as hell lobster guy isn’t as strong as Sandy, her slight squirrel frame strong enough to pull ships from the sea and her karate skills able to save the Sponge man on various occasions. What damsel in distress? Ms Cheeks, we salute you.
Don’t be the Mr Krabs meme, get amongst Spongebob Squarepants on Lightbox below
This content, like all television coverage we do at The Spinoff, is brought to you thanks to the excellent folk at Lightbox. Do us and yourself a favour by clicking here to start a FREE 30 day trial of this truly wonderful service.
Join The Spinoff Members for as little as $1 to help us hire more journalists and do more investigations. Or get a free Toby Morris-designed tea towel when you contribute $80 or more over a year.
The Bulletin is The Spinoff’s acclaimed daily digest of New Zealand’s most important stories, delivered directly to your inbox each morning.