Recently, I read a post over at Tao 1776 on Superheroes and got me thinking about the female superheroes that I grew up with.
The first names that come to mind are Wonder Woman, Catwoman and Batgirl. Of course, there were also more characters introduced as I got a bit older and with the new generation of cartoons and video games that cropped up over the years, such as She-Ra, the Powerpuff Girls, Princess Zelda, Rainbow Brite, Sailor Moon, Tank Girl, Xena, and Kim Possible.
The thing that I immediately notice is the difference between the original female superheroes and the modern characters from today. While I assume that most readers of comics are male, the new trend and hype surrounding manga and cartoons these days appeal to a wider audience of viewers and the parents that allow their children to be introduced by a more diverse cast of heroes and heroines of either sex.
I’d like to think that my son has a chance to view superheroes from a different perspective that I had growing up. I think that my feminist streak was born out of my interest in cars, cartoons, action, adventure and not having as many role models to choose from that were also girly in their own way.
I was such a tomboy growing up and, of course, my two best friends in the neighborhood were boys. We would play dress up and pretend we were superheroes and I, inevitably, was Wonder Woman. What lessons did I learn from her? Well, that she could be sexy, powerful and still kick ass and I am not so sure that’s what I want my son to learn about power and kicking ass (it isn’t always sexy).
Perhaps if I had a young daughter, this answer might be more clear to me as far as which superhero I would like to be and why, but for now, I’m happy with the idea that there are more options for young girls to choose from and more realistic characters for them to relate to and aspire to become as they get older.
And yes, I do hope that my son (and all young boys and girls) grow up to be powerful, sexy and still kick ass (just perhaps not all in the same day).