It has been awhile since i had done the super hero sci-fi mash-ups. Here’s Flash running in light speed inside the wizard of Oz’s tornado while holding Megatron’s guns form from the 80s cartoon. there’s also Falkor the Luckdragon from the never-ending story and the phone booth from Dr. who, wicked witch from the west and dorothy’s house flying inside the tornado.
Some thoughts as I prepare
myself for sitting on the “You Fight Like A Girl! And Other Awesome Ideas
Involving Women In Pop Culture” panel on October 7th, 2016.
recently asked to sit on a panel at NY Comic Con to discuss women in pop
culture, comics and fantasy film. Right now I’m on a plane to Prague where I
have a dance show so I decided to watch “The Dark Night Rises” to start
thinking about this topic. After the film I asked myself so what’s going on with
the Catwoman character. Catwoman is feral. She’s bad, but she’s really
mostly good if you just don’t corner her –bad enough to make her sexy but cute
enough to want to tame her.
fine–we like our heroes and heroines sexy but for girl action figures they
also need to fight like men, in heels, industrial strength bras, and with
make-up that doesn’t smudge. That’s funny because these fashion choices are
specifically designed to make women less mobile and more self-conscious in the
real world. I can’t help feel that there are traits that we females process–
bravery, agility, keen senses, an ability to keep road rage at bay even in
traffic jams, a high threshold for pain, and extreme patience for children
–these abilities merit amplification to super power status too. What
about a character that can disarm bad guys by making them cry? Ok- seems off
because on a base level we all know that power and brute force lie at the heart
of this animal that is us… We sense that our cultural customs and our laws
are fragile and that underneath our daily transactions there is some kind of a
power grab at play. So it’s no wonder we love to see violence beat bad people
who are violent. But I can’t shake the feeling that Wonder Woman, Catwoman, and
Batgirl are primarily there for aesthetic value –looking hot is about 70
percent of the job and 30 percent can be about taking out bad people.
stating the obvious? If you look at the Incredible Hulk, or The Thing or Deadpool
we can find ugly male superheroes. I’m not sure a female Hulk
character would really take off…would I buy one for my daughter –I don’t
think I would. And so we have to ask ourselves how to satisfy our
appetite for fun, how to enjoy the empowering aspects of great female superheroes
in all their sexy glory but stay watchful of the ever problematic double
standard that runs through our world and unfortunately through the worlds of our
books and movies –where a women’s looks are her primary asset. Our daughters
bathe in this stuff daily starting with the most quoted compliment they get
"you look so pretty”. By the way I say it to my daughter too much…I
want her to have high self-esteem and in a culture that tells girls that being
pretty is super valuable what are you supposed to do? Girls–They know
that what they do, or think or create or feel is really important but that all of
that ranks after how they look. That’s true for female superheroes too– their
powers are so cool but they rank after their butt hugging costumes. I don’t
mean to be a downer…there is plenty wrong with not valuing ones looks and
neglecting appearances… And feeling beautiful and confident is a very a
good thing….This stuff is delicate and confusing.
if being really delicate was a super power…you could diffuse bombs, or walk
on ice without it breaking or steer this train of thought so gently that
no one gets mad…that would be cool. But I’m human. I’m sure I’ll get a lot
wrong and piss people off but I’m going to be brave because that’s the best way
to emulate a heroine.
that’s the point …girls emulate their heroes on the screen. Because of that
how we build female superheroes in fiction matters. The fiction we consume
matters. It changes our values and impacts how we act in the real world.
event the morning before I saw this movie I visited a friend who just gave birth
2 days ago. She was in pain. She could not sit down. She was swollen.
Giving birth is an insanely painful and impossible thing to do. It’s
heroic. It’s done by many many women all the time and it’s been going on for
all of time. It’s brave and dangerous. What would a mom superhero in
tennis shoes do?
I saw a superhero in the flesh but I’m still
waiting on Marvel to marvel at that.