Reading through our assigned comics in class, we noted the prevalence of males as comic book artists. We also discussed that, whether intentional or not, these artists tend to draw the female super heroines in a way that appeals to the male eye. Historically, it seems that comic book shops have always been a place for young boys to hang out in and read about the adventures of their favorite superheroes. With this stereotype existing, branching out to the female population would have posed a serious challenge for the comic book companies. We discussed the introduction of women superheroes into the comic book scene as a gateway to developing an audience of female readers. If the intent was to spur young women to find role models in characters such as Wonder Woman and Batwoman, these messages may not have reached much of the young female population due to the lack of female interest in the first place.
However, there is a super heroine outside the realm of comics that served as a role model for many young girls for over 4 years. That’s So Raven was a television show on the Disney Channel that aired in 2003 about a seemingly everyday teenager who possessed a certain super power. Raven has a psychic ability that causes her to have visions into the future warning her of upcoming problems. Raven uses this power in attempts to prevent bad things from happening to herself and her friends in a very similar manner to the super heroines in comics. However, Raven’s character more directly reaches the audience super heroines in comics intended to reach—young girls.
First of all, being a Disney Channel show, the shows already present on the channel were geared toward the child/pre-teen crowd, most specifically toward pre-teen girls. These comedy shows contained strong female leads that deal with everyday life problems (ex. Lizzie McGuire, and Hannah Montana). That’s So Raven brings the action of a superhero comic to a preexisting audience of young girls in a format that is more relatable to them. The violent battle scenes portrayed in comics are replaced by humorous interactions with characters as Raven “fights” to save the day. Provocative spandex costumes are replaced by some downright crazy outfits Raven wears as a way of concealing her identity.
Although the show offers modifications on typical comic-book super heroines, who is to say that this method is not effective? Too much violence and action can deter young girls from appreciating superheroes in the first place. That’s So Raven is a TV show laced with humor and girly quirks, but definitely provides important aspects of the super heroine experience of a comic book in a way young girls can appreciate. Raven, as a teenage fashionista who uses her powers to help her friends in everyday situations, is not only a relatable character, but also a super heroine role model for many young girls.