Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Quick! Name a Superhero!

And now for a little different *spin* (think Linda Carter turning into Super Woman) on National Women's History Month!

Did you ever stop to think about our American superheros?  True, there are a lot of real women who have contributed to our country's cultural, scientific, and political fabric.  But did you ever stop to think about the fictional ones, ones that may have served as role models and inspirations to young girls just as much as real people might?  I just came across a film by Kristy Guevara-Flanagan called "Wonder Women: the Untold Story of American Superheroines".  It's about the changing role of female superheros in our culture, and uses Wonder Woman as an example of someone who was initially portrayed as independent and strong, then whose image shifted to reflect the changing roles of women in our society.  When women went to work in the factories during war time, independence and strength were considered admirable traits in a woman.  But when men came home and wanted their jobs back, society told women to go home and get back to traditional interests and past-times.  Wonder Woman followed a parallel path during those times, becoming more independent again in the 1970's with the revival of the strong female and feminist movement.

But it's not just about Wonder Woman's history - it's about our history as women in this country.  Do we have strong female role models in pop culture that girls can idolize and get excited about through fantasy and imagination?  Do we have women superheroines that are more than just tight-fitting outfits who are there as eye-candy for the boys?  Do we need more of them?  What are the superhero movies and comics of today telling our girls about women? If you are a girl who reads comics and enjoys superheros, what do you want to see more of? 

The truth is, we could do better.  I'm not saying that we don't have strong, intelligent, independent kick-ass women superheros today, because they do exist.  I'm saying we need more of them!  I loved watching Lynda Carter spin around and turn into Wonder Woman in the 1970's TV show, and even though I was only five or six, I recognized a strong woman when I saw one.  I'm glad my dad let me watch that show among the others we watched - the Incredible Hulk, Spider Man, and who knows what else.  Deflecting bullets with wristbands was a skill I wanted to have, and flying an invisible jet was definitely a cool way to travel.

Take a look at the movie trailer here, and if you get a chance, watch the whole documentary.  Enjoy!

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