My inner fangirl was squealing.
Two new shows are due in the fall: “Supergirl” and “Jessica Jones.”
Supergirl is known to most of us as Superman’s cousin, with all the same powers he possesses. Marvel’s Jessica Jones is lesser-known, but no less tough. She is a former superhero working as a P.I. and sometimes bodyguard to Matt Murdock, AKA Daredevil. Oh, and she can fly.
The two shows offer different styles and tones geared to different audiences. Supergirl comes to CBS from the team behind the CW's "Arrow" and "The Flash." "Jessica Jones" is Netflix's second comic series following the hit "Daredevil," and the creators have stated it will be as dark — if not darker — than "Daredevil."
They are the first shows based on female heroes in a long time. Squeal, indeed.
But then I read statements given by both show runners.
Ali Adler of “Supergirl:”
(EW) "Half the population is this gender and this woman is very strong and very incredible. We intend to show that. It’s not about male or female, it’s just about empowerment."
(TVLine) “You come in and see her as female and you’ll remember her as powerful. Her gender doesn’t really matter. She’s a badass.”
Melissa Rosenberg from “Jessica Jones:”
(ET) "I approach this character not from telling a female story. Gender is not the first chapter aspect that defines her."
In their attempts to defend their characters as strong, they end up saying these heroes are strong despite being women. These characters will be so awesome; you will forget that they are women. Or, even worse, this isn’t a “girl” show.
In 2012, the CW attempted to bring Wonder Woman to the small screen.
Phil Jimenez, who wrote and drew "Wonder Woman" for DC Comics made this statement about writing for the title character:
"For a variety of reasons but many, I'd argue, that are rooted in deep-seated notions held about gender and sex, Wonder Woman can be a very difficult character to make commercially potent in comic books. Wonder Woman is, after all, a woman with a capital 'W' — always a trick with fanboys (and some fangirls, too), because of her mission statement, point-of-view and hyper-feminist origins, especially the one creator William Moulton Marston ascribed the original incarnation of the character years ago."
In the end, the CW project did not move forward.
When are we going to stop catering to the stereotype of comic book readers being all white men interested in only stories of other white men? Men who are bored and put-off by a woman who is strong. Men who are scared of a strong feminist.
No one has ever said about Superman, “His gender doesn’t really matter. He’s a badass.”
No one had ever said about Iron Man, “Gender is not the first characteristic that defines him.”
One of the best-selling comics on the market right now is “Ms. Marvel,” starring young Kamala Khan. She’s not only a teenage girl, she’s a Pakistani-American Muslim.
“Lumberjanes,” another best-selling title and 2015 Eisner Award winner for Best New Series and Best Publication for Teens, is all girl power, all the time. So much so that their “expletives” are names of notable female figures.
We all know that women can be strong and heroes in their own right. It’s time to say simply, “These women kick ass,” and forget all the qualifiers.