In my earlier post, Girls who kick ass, I disclosed my attempts to impersonate female superheroes.
Last year, Rob and I listened to the audio book for The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines, and actually, that’s when I decided to dress up as Wonder Woman for Halloween. But it depressed me, this continued sexism in the world of Superheroes. I rewatched the entire series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and concluded that she’s the greatest girl superhero of all time. As much as I love Wonder Woman, her origin comic has her more concerned with winning Steve Trevor’s heart than saving the world. Buffy had boy problems, but she saved the world a lot.
In recent pop culture, there’s no feminine superhero franchise equivalent to Spider-Man. The Elektra and Catwoman films were considered failures. Most of the boy Avengers got their own movies prior to the upcoming release of The Avengers. Iron Man got two. Where’s Black Widow’s? Guess there’s no hope Scarlett Johansson could open an action flick, since Jennifer Garner and Halle Berry couldn’t.
Angeline Jolie, she can open an action flick, if Salt and Tomb Raider are the best we can hope for… but wait a minute…
A few months ago, Steven Soderbergh released the movie Haywire, written for and starring a beautiful athlete named Gina Carano. I’ve been fixated on Gina Carano for years; she’s the mixed martial artist who inspired the protagonist in my novel in progress. And did I mention she’s gorgeous? I didn’t love Haywire, but I loved Gina in it. The fact that Haywire exists fills me with such excitement about the future of female action heroes. I want Gina to be the female version of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, crossing over into films. She’s not the best actress in the world, but she can do something Angelina Jolie can’t do. Legitimately kick your ass.
Which brings me to the woman of the hour, Katniss Everdeen, in book form and as portrayed by the luminous Jennifer Lawrence. While Twilight sent all the wrong message to the young women of today, The Hunger Games gets it right. Katniss may not have superpowers, but she’s a skilled huntswoman. (archery chick, archeress, is there a word for that?) She’s morally grounded and compassionate, and outcompetes adversaries who are stronger and more ruthless. She’s feminine, and yes, there is a love triangle in the series, but Katniss does not sacrifice anything of herself to win the hearts of her admirers. She earns their love without realizing she’s done it. She doesn’t even want a boyfriend.
So go ahead and buy into all that Hunger Games hype. I am fully on board.