How Captain Marvel Makes Me Feel Seen

SO… Marvel released a movie this past weekend, and it had a female lead superhero. Captain Marvel is Marvel’s first attempt to have a woman superhero at the front of not only a movie, but *SPOILER* as the one who sets in motion the rescue attempt for those who disappeared in Avengers: Infinity War. *SPOILER FINISHED* Now this isn’t a movie review, because if so I would have some words about this movie (A little anticlimactic, end fight scene lasted forever, and they kind of overshadowed her story). BUT anyway this is all about what it means to have a female lead superhero, whose complex, emotional, and… confused. This article is less of a movie review and more of why female leads are important but also why Captain Marvel resonated so hard with me.

First, and main point, Carol Danvers is told many, many times throughout the movie that she needs to follow her heart less, and her training more. Thus meaning she is “too emotional.” What helps her access her full power range though is the human nature of emotions. This resonates with me because in my entire life I have felt my emotions very deeply. When I was younger I was a “crybaby” and now I am “hangry” if I’m annoyed or mad. If I am crying then I am automatically on my period. I have even started coming up with excuses for my emotions, like “oh I’m just on my period,” “oh I’m really stressed,” “oh it’s just because mercury is in retrograde and messing with my mood.” This year I’ve been getting better about trying to “own my mood” instead of just dismissing it. This has been really helpful as these moods subside quicker than what it would have earlier. Seeing Carol Danvers on the screen, shed tears, and angrily photon blast Jude Law whenever he pisses her off made me feel seen. It was also important because it shows that even though she is a tough bad*ss, she also cries and gets angry and not completely emotionless.

Second, also of equal importance, Carol Danvers doesn’t know who she is. Now just hear me out. It is important to have a strong female superhero because that way little girls can see that you can always pick yourself up after you fall down. They can see that they can do everything that boys can and more. They can see that they can be their own heroes and don’t need someone else to swoop in to save the day. Okay with that being said… it’s also important to have a strong female superhero who is confused and doesn’t know who she is. For the past couple Marvel movies there have been strong females, who embody all of these attributes for little girls. But these women are also self-assured, know their pasts, and own them. This is all important too, I’m not trying to sh*t on Black Widow, Okoye, or Scarlet Witch. But there are also little girls (and grown 20 year olds) out in that audience, who aren’t as confident as those women. These are the girls (most girls… almost all girls) who everyone has been telling them what and who they should be since the beginning. While some girls can brush that off and just be themselves. Some girls are less self-assured, more anxious, and most importantly don’t know themselves well enough to just brush off people’s opinions. This is why it is important to have a woman up on the screen kicking some major space alien butt, who also cries and exclaims “You don’t know who I am, I don’t even know who I am!” She’s not just saying you don’t know me therefore you don’t know who I am. She’s saying there is no way for you to know who I am because I don’t even know who I am. It is important because there will be little girls (and grown 20 year olds) out there who see this and realize it’s okay to be not so self-assured all the time as these other women as long as you understand that no one else’s assumptions define you.

Captain Marvel is a tough, humorous, confused, emotional, badass. She shows girls that you can do what you want to do, compete with the boys as long as you always pick yourself up when you fall and not wait for someone else to. She shows girls that you can cry and get angry and that doesn’t make you a crybaby, crazy, or any less tough than you are. (Like I’m crying writing this article, but I know I’m still a tough badass that can kick some major butt in soccer...sometimes.) She shows little girls that in order to be a hero, you don’t have to be as self-assured as the Black Widow or the Wasp. You can achieve great things as long as you know that no one else can claim they know you better than you know yourself. This is why we need more women superheros, not for some crazy social justice warrior schtick, but because there are young girls of all types out in these audiences watching these movies and they need to know that they are just as important as the boys in audience and not less of a hero for the things that society deems makes them lesser. My only critique is I just wish that Marvel had done it sooner.

 

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