When you ask someone their favorite superheroes, who do they name? Who do you think of?
I can probably guess: Captain America (that’s mine!), Spiderman, Batman, Superman, maybe even Thor or The Flash.
Male. Nearly everyone’s favorite superhero is a man, because nearly every superhero is a man.
I’ve always loved superheroes, and growing up, I didn’t notice how negatively the lack of representation in my one of favorite genres affected me. The majority of superheroes are well-rounded male characters, whereas when women have super-powers, they are often one-dimensional love interests, only there to be hit on and be rescued.
As a young teenager, I made up my own superheroes. They were based on my best friend and me, superheroes who represented us, because we didn’t see ourselves anywhere. They were strong, powerful women who saved the day, every single time. As fun as making up our own story was, we shouldn’t have ever felt the need to. We should have been able to find countless stories that already represented us, like my guy friends had.
I had always known something was off, but it wasn’t until I actually saw better representation, in Super Girl and Wonder Woman, that I realized what exactly had been wrong.
For the first time, I saw women who were the makers of their own destiny, and saved the world on their own. And as inspirational as this was, these steps that should have been taken a long time ago, still aren’t enough.
Something that still bothers me is the fact that even these most empowered women still seem to have to have a male significant other. Women should always be portrayed as complete on their own, because we are! Yet, a huge part of every female superhero’s story is their love life, which is an unrealistic and unhealthy representation of women.
Working towards better representation in the superhero genre is certainly not the biggest problem in the world, but that doesn’t invalidate the fact that it’s still a problem. We should not stand by and accept that a lack of representation of women and people of color in movies and televisions. Rather, let’s put our money where our mouths are, and turn out together to support diversity in films and television.