Perhaps you’ve seen this picture already. Perhaps you haven’t. Either way, I want to go on record as saying this is a step in the right direction. A big step, mind you, but only one.
First, let me give credit where credit is due. The Supergirl image is one of several I found posted online. I credit the artist with some excellent work, and if somebody makes comics based on these images, I’ll buy them. This image, and several others like it can be found at this location;
Please check them all out, and see what others are saying.
So back to the big steps and little steps.
I am always bothered to see anything that shows women as less than equal to men. They can be different, and obviously are in many ways, but they are equal and should be treated as such. I held this view long before I had a daughter, but it’s become even more urgent since then. My personal Supergirl is my daughter, Tori, and she is fantastic. But like all young women, she is bombarded with impossible images and unrealistic expectations. She’s 14 now, and I see her struggling daily with external cultural cues about how she should look and behave, and they are universally unhealthy for her.
Every day is a struggle to make her feel she is just fine as she is, and doesn’t need to adopt a certain look, or wear makeup, or emulate the latest Pop Tart. Every day is a battle to deprogram her from what she sees on TV and on the Interwebs. Every single day. This isn’t a battle we should be fighting. We should know better. And I am not the only father that is waging the exact same battle.
Many of us will fail, and our daughters will live their lives thinking they are broken, or incomplete, or insufficient.
The Supergirl I’ve shown here is a step in that direction. She’s still skinnier than she has a right to be, and I won’t even go into the ‘blond and blue eyed thing.
I try in my writing to make strong female characters who don’t need men or society to stand tall. And yes, to the esteemed Brandon Sanderson, none of them will ever have a name starting with a ‘K’. They will have real, organic names, and real, organic hopes and dreams. And I write that way because I want my own Supergirl to know, always, that she is already ‘super’. She doesn’t need anything – or anyone – else to make her that way.
Maybe I’ll be one of the lucky dads. Maybe she’ll hear the message in time.