Why Supergirl is the Most Feminist Thing on TV
Hear that? It’s the sound of hordes of fanboys wringing their male-centric comic books in their Cheeto-crusted fingers and mumbling about “feminist propaganda.” Beautiful, isn’t it?
When the bright red ‘S’ exploded onto screens last fall, it wasn’t the Man of Steel who swooped out of the skies to uphold peace, justice and the American way. No, it was meek, mousy Kara Danvers – his cousin – who tunneled through space in her own futuristic pod before crash-landing on Earth (and our TV sets) albeit under dramatically different circumstances.
And just so you know, that’s the last time our girl in blue will be referred to as “his” anything. Because Kara has quickly proven to be every bit as heroic as her ripped relative – and more than worthy of the family crest.
Many of the reasons Supergirl is noteworthy are also the reasons it shouldn’t be in 2016. For one, virtually all the major players are female. Let’s rattle them off, shall we? Aside from our leading lady, there’s Cat, reigning queen of the CatCo media empire and Kara’s ultra-demanding boss who can sniff out cheap cologne with an imperious twitch of her nose.
And of course there’s Astra, the willowy and mysterious eco-terrorist banished from Krypton who has more in common with Kara than just race. Not to mention Alex, an agent for the DEO (basically, the FBI’s answer to aliens) who also happens to be Kara’s adoptive sister, though she’s determined to prove that’s not all she is.
It’s impossible to tally up all the fist-pump moments from the pilot, so I hand-picked a few of the most iconic. There’s the time Kara barges into her boss’s office in a huff, demanding to know why Supergirl was trending on Twitter when it should’ve been Superwoman. When Cat lifts her gaze at the intrusion, you can practically feel the temperature in the room drop to arctic levels. “And what do you think is so bad about ‘girl’?” she responds smoothly. “I’m a girl, and your boss, and powerful, and rich, and hot, and smart. So if you perceive Supergirl as anything less than excellent, isn’t the real problem… you?” Oh, snap. Cat might be icier than an Alp, but that woman – girl? – is on fire.
Then there’s the scene where a beefed-up alien crook – who, come to think of it, looks a lot like that albino orc thing from The Lord of the Rings – challenges Kara to a knock-down, drag-out brawl. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he cements his status as the galaxy from far, far away’s biggest d-bag when he sneers, “On my planet, women bow before men.”
To which Kara fires back, “This is not your planet.” Cue a wicked kick to the groin that has meninists parked at home wincing and shifting in their seats. Yeah. That happened.
On one hand, it’s kind of whacked that we actually have to notice these things in the first place. But with the likes of Jessica Jones and Peggy Carter injecting some heart into a genre that’s been in cardiac arrest for some time, it looks like we’re entering a new age of superheroes – one where our starlets aren’t mere sidekicks who’re relegated the same ass-jutting, boobs-out pose.
For all of that, Supergirl is just a lot of fun. With super slick visuals thanks to CBS’s Wayne-Enterprises-sized special effects budget, snappy comic book dialogue and a charming cast, it’s potato chip viewing – bouncier than Gotham, lighter than Jessica Jones, and easily consumed in a single gobble.
Supergirl might not be the heroine we deserve, but we need her – in all her plane-catching, truck-flinging, ball-breaking glory – like a Kryptonian needs sunlight. A lot.