Monday 24 July 2017

Why Women Superheroes Are So Important

Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about women in roles of superheroes and action heroes, particularly with the arrival of Wonder Woman (which I have still not seen yet!) which I think has changed a lot for women in the superhero genre, but there’s still a lot we need to talk about.

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Superheroes and comic books have traditionally had a very sexist outlook. The costumes of some of the female characters are notorious for the way they hypersexualise their wearers. It’s not just their clothes either. You just have to look at the way women are drawn in comics to know that they’re sexualized in every aspect of the genre. Obviously, comics are meant to exaggerate, and do so for males as well, but just not in the same overtly sexual way.

When this is combined with a lack of real representation (over half of the major Marvel/DC film failing the Bechdel Test), women simply become sidelined minor characters, only given screen time to create and satisfy the expectations of 12-year-old boys who have barely ever actually spoken to a girl. This then perpetuates into later life with a cycle that ends up with women being treated like objects and their opinions not seen as valid. Sound familiar?

The importance of representation (of all kinds, for everyone) can never be over exaggerated. What’s that quote people always use?  ‘You need to see it in order to be it,’ or something along those lines. I am not stupid; I know that no one’s ever going to have superpowers (as much as that disheartens me to say), but by women seeing themselves portrayed as superheroes, they will become super through their own belief in themselves. Suddenly they can be strong, powerful, independent, do things their own way. Women fighting alongside men sets them on a level playing field – in real life as well as in the films or comics.


So Marvel, what’s your excuse for no Black Widow film? I think Wonder Woman has proved there is a market for a superhero film led by a woman.

If you liked this post you might like: 'Women's Fiction'

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