This post is a little PG 13. Just a little.
I recently re watched all of the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited cartoons, and I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of Girl Power in those shows. Hawkgirl and Wonder Woman lead it off in the original run, and then others like Black Canary, Supergirl, and Vixen are focused on in the later series. There are also tons of adult jokes that I missed when I watched the show as a kid. Go watch it on Netflix. Worth it.
But I got to thinking about female characters, and how hard they are to write. And in an industry where males dominate most writing positions, well…Power Girl happens…
I mean, she’s pretty much just there to look hot. She’s a really powerful team mate and all, but I’m pretty sure they kept drawing her boobs bigger and bigger. Not exactly constructive.
And now that Nerddom has come into the light and become mainstream, of course more females are drawn to female characters. With cosplay at an all time high and conventions getting sold out across the country, these characters are brought to life by the aforementioned girls and in my opinion it’s really awesome. And we can all celebrate by dressing up together.
Of course there are those morons who take what I’m dubbing “The Power Girl Approach” to all of this. Or, if you like, “Ignorant Misogyny by undeveloped peons”. Instead of embracing that girls like this stuff, they treat them as objects, put them down, or worse: physically assault these women. None of this is ok. None of this is acceptable. None of this is what the female characters we all love are about.
Wonder Woman is supposed to be the height of Girl Power. She’s super strong, she can fly, and she looks good taking down bad guys. No one messes with her, they treat her as an equal. Does that mean she doesn’t defer to Superman or Batman when needed? No. But she knows exactly what she’s capable of.
A New Approach?
Science fiction has always been on the forefront of bringing women up to their rightful place. I’ve already mentioned a whole bunch of DC characters. Think about Ripley from the Alien franchise, Princess Leia, Uhura/Dr. Crusher/Captain Janeway from various Star Trek series, tons of Dr. Who companions, Katniss Everdeen. All of these women are put in lead roles, and they all shine.
How do we riff on this idea of a leading lady while making it fresh? In all honesty we can’t. Nothing is new. We just have to keep writing stories, and keep putting women in roles they can handle. Which is most of them.
I wrote a story that I will be releasing soon – hopefully – and I kept the author’s gender anonymous on purpose. I didn’t want the reader to have that information. Personally I felt the lead was a woman, but something disheartened me. Almost every one of my beta readers felt the character was a male. I don’t know if it was because they heard me reading the story in their head, or they just assumed it was a male, or whatever the reason, but I was a little sad. I really hoped somebody would say the narrator was a woman.
So I guess the difficulty for me, a male, is voicing a female. It doesn’t help that my favorite female characters are tomboys like Starbuck from BSG and Zoe from Firefly. I guess i could just record several hours of women asking questions related to whatever my story is about. You know, actual research. Or I could watch The View. No. I’m not watching The View. Any more than I already have anyway. Yikes.
Let’s give women their due. Their really strong guys. And ladies, I know i wrote this mostly to dudes, but that’s not to say: BE BETTER THAN ME! I would love nothing more for a wonderful lady to outsell George Lucas in the Sci Fi realm. If that’s possible, cause you know he has like a 40 year head start. But seriously to all of the girls out there: be awesome at this stuff. Be an awesome gamer. Be an awesome guitar player
If you don’t know that’s Nancy Wilson. She’s a freaking awesome guitar player. And if you don’t think so you’re a noob.
That’s all I got. Let’s keep the girls in our media. In our art. And let’s put them where they belong. Right alongside of us ready to beat the ever loving crap out of Darkseid.
Now have a gratuitous picture of me in a duct tape Green Lantern/Scorpion mashup. And a bad one at that…