Gender and Super Heroes/oines

In light of Captain America’s soon-to-be film debut, I saw this article today on the Good Men Project:

“Captain America is the Best Man” by Mark D.:

As a longtime comics fan, I find inspiration in many of the superheroes whose adventures I read every month, but none inspire me as much as Captain America. Simply put, to me, Cap stands as an example of the best we can be. He embodies all of the classical virtues that are just as important now as they were in the days of the ancient Greeks, including honesty, courage, loyalty, perseverance, and, perhaps most importantly, honor (in particular, military honor). While I can’t be as strong or fast as Cap, I can hope to be as honest, courageous, and honorable.

(Although Mark D. argues that Captain America has moved beyond his jingoist, hegemonically masculine, and paternalistic roots, in a post-911 age these historic roots cannot be denied.)

And that’s great and all.  The guy seems just swell.

But it got me thinking – where are all of the honest, courageous, and strong superheroines?  Most of them are either crazy or can’t control their powers or they’re young with teenage troubles or sex on the brain. 

Literally I can only think of Xena.  Any thoughts?

4 Comments

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4 responses to “Gender and Super Heroes/oines

  1. Good question! The most obvious candidate is Wonder Woman, but unfortunately DC Comics can’t settle on how to portray her, and even one of the most popular writers in comics, Gail Simone, couldn’t seem to sell the nonbelievers on how fantastic Diana is.

    (And by the way, the op-ed you link to from the San Diego Union-Tribune, which I also wrote, actually makes the opposite point regarding jingoism.)

    Always glad to have new voices in the discussion!

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    • kera

      Hi Mark – that’s definitely the reason I didn’t jump to Wonder Woman, since her new image tries to make her “cooler” and more down-to-earth than grandly heroic. And yes, for everyone reading, Mark argues in his op-ed (linked above) that Captain America is more than a cop-out nationalistic icon. Hopefully the new phraseology doesn’t appear otherwise.

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  2. Wrench Turner

    [IMG]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v485/Itazura/Hosting%20for%20posting/enhanced-buzz-8682-1312950651-22.jpg[/IMG]

    Not sure if your blog will allow image tags, but here’s my gender bending submission. If it existed, I’d have watched that cartoon as a younger person. (In case the URL gets wrecked, you can see the image at http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v485/Itazura/Hosting%20for%20posting/enhanced-buzz-8682-1312950651-22.jpg

    I’d agree that there should be a wider representation of women as superheros, but movies and video games seem to be moving further than the comic industry. “Alice” from the Resident Evil series sticks out in my mind. She’s a tough lady who kills zombies and doesn’t have sex IIRC. It’s also fairly common to see male and female characters represented equally in video games that allow for character customization.

    I’m glad you didn’t fall into the easy argument over the highly stylized presentation of these characters; both men and women are regularly caricaturized in these types of media. I guess that’s why they call them “super”; I certainly wouldn’t want to have to maintain a physique like Superman to have a positive body image.

    Though we don’t always agree, I enjoy your blog. Keep up the good work!

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    • kera

      Wow! What an amazing photo! Very awesome. And I guess you’re right about video games (I’m not familiar with most), but I saw Sucker Punch the other day and hhaaattteeddd it. It takes all the horrible tropes of a video game and puts it into a movie, so right now I don’t have much faith in the future of gaming. Thanks for comment!

      Like

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