Change has come to the superhero world. No I’m not talking about crazy storylines or anything that would cause fans to go ballistic. We finally have strong female characters and women who are more involved with the television and film production. I have been waiting for this as it seems to have taken 30 years to happen.
Let me back track just a little. When I was four I watched Superman on tv one night and fell head over heels for him. Of course it helped that my mom decided to say that when Superman (Christopher Reeves) flies into space at the end he “winked at me”. Years later watching as a teenager that wasn’t the case. Yet it set in motion a love for Superman and Super Heroes. I have watched the not so great Supergirl movie, and little bit of the good old Wonder Woman television show. These never gave me a “Yes they are my super hero because they are women.” It continued to be just the male heroes. Background done moving on to topic.
I watched Smallville skipped Lois and Clark. In Smallville I could not stand Lana Lang most of the time and focused in on Chloe until Lois came on to the show. Chloe came off more as relatable character and the same with Lois. Those two characters were just what I would think of as a starting point to what we have now. The other reason I couldn’t connect with Wonder Woman or Supergirl (even Clark’s cousin on Smallville); because the whole time I would look at their costumes and say “How do they offer up any protection? How do you run around in a skirt like that?” Not practical. Or some of the other female super heroes that have costumes that really take sexual objectification to a new level. Sexual objectification of these female super heroes really does not help us women overall with our self-confidence. No female can relate to that character dressed in less with unrealistic body shape. Also, it takes away from a “realistic” battle with the bad guys unlike a male hero being fully covered. I love the Arrow costume department for giving Canary a practical costume to fight in along with the other female characters that have shown up.
Now there has been a change. Like I mentioned with Lois and Chloe granted no title of super hero. They weren’t naïve on the show they were important to helping Clark. With Peggy Carter coming on to the movie screens in the first Captain America. Now with her own show Agent Carter this character had me jumping up and down with excitement. She is more realistic and a female with a normal body shape. Black Widow shows up and brings in kick ass without being called a “Bitch” same with Carter. Arrow thankfully brings in Felicity Smoak and really opens up yet another dimension along with Agents of Shield with Simmons. These characters have been the closest we have come to showing strong females on television within the comic universe. Not “officially” super heroes by definition but heroes for the cause they are fighting for.
Carter, Black Widow, Felicity and Simmons in a short few years are the game changers for us women. These characters are backed up with female writers and female producers. More women have become involved I believe they understand what would actually draw in a female audience. More than men would have thought to do (sorry but true). These characters have finally shown a few things that we haven’t seen before: relatable, kick ass, strong, not naïve, and average every day women who look healthy and not like an anorexic lady. These characters you connect with them right away. If Carter, Felicity and Simmons were real I would want to be best friends with them. That is another new thing that woman can finally say about these characters. Yes, Felicity and Simmons aren’t super heroes while Carter and Black Widow know how to kick butt and take names these characters are heroes for us women. If you think about it young women who need strong female characters to look up to. Felicity, Simmons, Carter also going to add in Caitlin Snow (The Flash) as people with real attainable jobs. You can do amazing things in the IT field where by helping taking down the bad guys, be a spy why not lots of women are, and do wonderful things with science. You can change the real world and make a difference. Realistically the characters need a bit more of a team behind them yet their jobs are things that translate to the real world which is the point. Because of all this and more about the characters characteristics there are more women watching the DC and Marvel Universe then before. I see more and more women on social media being fangirls (Olicity, FitzSimmons) it brings them in with the romance as well. Will admit I do watch Arrow with the bonus Olicity storylines. More and more women are saying “I want to be BFFs with Felicity”. This is showing what an impact these characters have had on us ladies.
Growing up it would be myself and one other female friend who would love the super heroes. Now even at my work there are five or six of us. Whereas back just during the Smalliville years maybe I’d have one other friend. I have to applaud those women who work on the shows and films and would like to thank them in person if I could. Thank the actresses for portraying these characters and being geeks themselves in real life. Those women have made an impact in our culture for the better. This is what I had been waiting for so long. Change has come to the super hero world for the better.