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‘Supergirl’: Pilot Review

Last Monday night the new TV show, “Supergirl,” premiered on CBS and a lot of us were wondering the same thing. Will this show be smart, entertaining and feminist? Or is it going to be a cheesy superhero show with a woman who is mostly appreciated for how her legs looks in her costume despite the fact that she just saved the world from destruction? Well if you are still wondering because you missed it on Monday night, let me tell you a little bit about how it went down. Be aware! There will be SPOILERS.

About ten minutes into the show all I could think was how anti-feminist the show was. But don’t worry, I changed my mind! Cara, Supergirl’s alter ego is constantly in contact with characters who portray degrading ideas. Her boss at The City News is your stereotypical “bossy bitch” who needs a private elevator and everyone fears/hates (however this character ends up saying some amazingly powerful stuff later on). Cara’s best guy friend assumes she must be gay at one point because she isn’t into him. The head of the task force to take down the villains that Supergirl fights is a man who continually tells her she isn’t strong enough to get the job done. Cara’s sister (not by blood…she is an alien after all) is pitted against her through most of the episode because of her intense jealousy for Cara being, well… super. All of this falls under a very large patriarchal theme of Superman being a God like figure. Everyone refers to Clark Kent’s superhero persona as “He” or “Him” as if they are not worthy to speak his name. Granted, he has saved the world tons of times by the time this show begins, but no one is treating SuperGIRL that way. A villain she fights even claims fighting with "Him" would be an "honor" while fighting her is just "practice."

So what got me to reconsider you ask? It was actually how anti-feminist these characters were. Okay I know I sound crazy but let me explain. What I mean is how the show responded to how anti-feminist these characters were. We see these characters all of the time in the media. Women are pitted against each other. However, it has been seemingly “okay” for a long time because that’s just how the world worked. Characters or themes of these shows or movies rarely took a stance and said “Hey look at how ridiculous and wrong this is. Let’s talk about it.” That’s what “Supergirl” did. It called attention to these ridiculous anti-feminist characters and themes. The show and the main character started a conversation by disagreeing with the other characters rather than letting them determine her next move. Isn’t that the first step to change? Getting people talk? Getting them to look at the behaviors of the past hundreds and thousands of years and say “Hm, that doesn’t seem right. Maybe I should look into that.” Because let’s face it, we aren’t going to change peoples’ minds if they don’t see anything wrong with how the world currently works.

“Supergirl” was entertaining and powerful and I will definitely be tuning in next week. Remember when I said how Cara's boss said something super powerful stuff later in the episode? Let me tell you about that was because it's too good to pass up. At first, Cara is upset that she is being called SuperGIRL rather than SuperWOMAN. Her boss, who coined the name without knowing Cara's true identity, asks her what's wrong with being a girl? Her boss explains that she herself is a girl and she is smart, hot and powerful. So many people think being feminist means that because women want to be treated equally to men, we want to be men. In actuality feminism is being who you are whether it's a girl, woman, man, boy, gay, straight, Latino, Asian or anything else and it being TREATED equally to a white man. That doesn't mean we want to BE white men. You can be a feminist who loves being a girl. You can be a feminist who feels more empowered as a woman. You can be a feminist who identifies with more male ideas. You can be a feminist and be A MAN. It doesn't matter. Just be you, love you, and love everyone else just the same.

I think I can get on board with that.

My name is Michelle Davies and I am a Film student at Temple University also pursuing a writing certificate. I work at Soma, a women's clothing and lingerie boutique. I love to read and write all sorts of stories, but mostly those of empowering women, or average women, looking for empowerment and inspiration. I am a firm believer in education and hope to take my writing and media skills into that realm by being part of a Public Relations Department for an education institution.
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