Last class we spent the whole time judging which female characters were “strong”, and I agree that most of them were not what I would want to look up to as a little girl. Since class, though, I have been thinking about the criteria we judged them on, and I’m not sure that was the best way. Mostly, I’ve thought about Batwoman. We considered her submissive and not as strong, but why? One of the reasons was because her weapons – a hair net and cosmetics – were girly. Now, I think girly qualities are important in the superheroines. We should support, not criticize Batwoman’s control of these cliché female weapons. She shows power, even saving Batman, that is wholly rooted in her sex. Every time we criticized a character it was because of something too feminine. But isn’t that the point, to be a respected hero while not losing their identity as female?
Other superheroines seemed much more bad ass and commanding than Batwoman, but those women seemed less feminine. Wonder woman shows extreme strength, but looks almost manly. In the comic we first read, she is drawn with broad shoulders and few womanly curves. Why can’t a heroine be strong and still be drawn feminine? This, though, should not be confused with a character like Mary Marvel. She still looks like a little girl, obviously keeping her femininity. The problem with her is that she has no strength or authority. I don’t think we should have to choose between these types of superheroines; strong and less womanly or weak and super feminine. As a society, we should embrace the idea of girl power with heroines using girly weapons. Woman power is shown more through a woman whose weapon is deadly lipstick than using the standard gun. The stereotypical feminine object embodies strength that is unique to the female gender, reminding the readers that this is a powerful woman not just another powerful hero.
It is important to have these ultra-feminine superheroines, not just female heroes. If all superheroines traded their girlish habitats for the chance to be a hero, that is the message that would be transmitted to society. Girls would be taught that they would have to choose between strength and femininity which I believe undermines the idea of gender equality. Equality should exist but that doesn’t mean a female has to shy away from cosmetics, baking, or doing other girly things to attain the same respect as a man. In conclusion, I take back what I thought in class. Batwoman is more super and influential as a superheroine because she uses a hairnet as a weapon; it is not something that brings her down.