Girls Don’t Save The World. Much.
I do not like being a cliché. I really don’t. In fact, I struggle so much against doing things that are too ‘expected’ or in line with how I fit, demographically or by height or whatever that Lainey calls me contrary. I’m not – but I’m cranky when people make a blanket statement like “Women hate x” and I can’t be all superior going “ WELL I DON’T”.
Today's whining is brought to you by this article. I’ve never been a big superhero fan. Nor an avid comic-book reader. I like the stories well enough but they didn’t wrap me up in their compelling natures, even though I was a nerdy underdog and I understand Peter Parker’s story is for nerdy underdogs and so forth. The reason why is pretty simple, at least when I was a kid. There were no women superheroes. I mean, there were – but not really. You know?
It was kind of obvious even then. She-Ra was nothing but a talkative version of He-Man whose adventures were never as exciting – remember how he was always fighting at night while she rode her horse around in daylight. Wonder Woman was cool, and all, but somehow never seemed to have real actual moral dilemmas that continued week to week, so she was tough to identify with.
This is my own problem, of course. There are many women who are comic book fans, who speak this language. My friend K effortlessly compared Toronto to Gotham a few months ago and the reference still makes me smile. I’m the problem here.
Except that Marvel comics would like my money – they just don’t have a female superhero to attach me to. As the Jezebel article points out, neither Pepper Potts nor the Black Widow has sufficient pull to headline a movie on their own, and even though the Avengers and X Men have included female superheroes in their ranks, it’s always felt, to the casual viewer who wanted to care but just couldn’t muster it, like they were the Pink Ranger or the April O’Neil, just there for me to have someone to look at while the dudes did the cool stuff. This was not rectified until, of course, Buffy came to be a balm on my soul.
“But Catwoman! Two different brands of Catwoman!” the purists will cry. But am I the only one who thinks that among the Comic powers that be, there’s a bit of a heavy sigh where these efforts are concerned, all ‘well, if they HAD to’? Lainey yells at me that Pepper (spoiler) basically saves the day at the end of Iron Man 3 – but I think that’s rich, and we’ve spent about 1/15th of the time on her development as on Tony Stark’s, so it’s kind of hard for me to care. It’s one of the million reasons she and I are so rabid about ‘Misfits’ – everyone’s powers are equally rubbish or irritating, sex notwithstanding.
Again, I know there are exceptions that prove the rule. In the comics, I’m told, Storm has a much bigger role than in the movies. And besides, why should I need a female superhero anyway? Shouldn’t I just care about great characters in general, regardless of genitalia?
In theory, yes. But in practice, why is it so hard to make a female superhero really super? Why can’t the world be saved by the other 50% of the population – at least occasionally? I guess the point is I’d like to be a bigger comic book fan. I love stories of good and evil and the temptation inside all of us. I’d like to believe there are superheroes circling over the city, ready to help me if I was in dire distress.
In fact, I’d even pay for it.