What I want to discuss in this post is why role models are important. All of my previous posts are about how there are many good female superhero role models, but why am I writing about them? So this post is about the need for role models and representation for young girls.
The first article I will summarize is “The Importance of Role Models” by Mark Thomas. In his article Thomas outlines why role models are a necessity in young people’s lives. Thomas points put that young people are analyzing their role models and use them as a “blueprint” for how they should act. Young minds are like a sponge and absorb so much more than many people give them credit for and this is why we need to select good role models for young people. Even as we grow we still seek role models in our lives. We must make good choices of who we look up to.
This next piece is why we need good female role models. All people need a quality role model but there are significantly less role models for adolescent girls. If you think that this is false or that this isn’t a problem i want to ask you why is “like a girl” an insult? Being a girl has been socially contorted to mean something bad and this is due to the lack of female role models. Having good female role models will change the way society views women and soon being a girl will no longer have a negative connotation. Always has done a series of ad campaigns to highlight the way we view girls and how it is impressed upon us from society. I encourage you to watch the attached video.
The new series Supergirl starring Melissa Benoist premiered on the CW on October 26th 2015. Right away fans were obsessed with the representation of Supergirl and women in the series. First this story does not rely on the Man of Steel to get it going. From the very beginning it is about Kara (Supergirl). Hank Stuever, a writer for Entertainment, remarks on how well the script is written and the series “easy breezy feminism”. The cast is load with strong female characters, Supergirl- Melissa Benoist, her sister Alex Danvers played by Chyler Leigh, the successful CEO Cat Grant played by Calista Flockhart, Supergirl’s biological mother, Alura Zor-El who was a well respected judge on her planet played by Laura Benanti, even the villain of the show is Supergirl’s evil aunt also played by Laura Banenti because they are twins. In the first link below Melissa Benoist talks about Supergirl as a role model for young girls. The CW invited 400 mothers and daughters to a special viewing of the pilot episode and Benoist talks about how the special viewing was a success and how her character being a role model has affected her as a person.
In the attached article, History Professor Jennifer Ball from Clarkson University, analyzes and annotates the importance and the influence of Wonder Woman. Debuting in 1941 Wonder Woman was the first female superhero. Unsurprisingly, her arrival came just as women were encouraged to leave the home and join the work force. She embodied the idea the women could do anything that men could do, and that they weren’t small delicate beings that depended on a man’s protection. William Martson, the creator of Wonder Woman, is quoted saying “No one wants to be a girl. Even girls don’t want to be girls.” and this moment sparked a female revolution that is still going on today. Professor Ball explains in her article how Wonder Woman is a feminist icon, and how she represents the changing role of women over time. I especially want to point out how Professor Ball highlights the fact that Wonder Woman deeply respects sisterhood, and how she is baffled when she has to fight other women. Women should not be out to get each other or pitted against each other. Wonder Woman was the first female super hero role model, and she continues to be today.
I thought that this video “Rise of the Female Superhero” by Katie Couric deserved its own post all together. If you watch the 16 minute video, you will notice a lot of interesting facts about women in the comic book world. The dynamic of the fan base is changing, and this culture that once shunned females is now made up of 47% women and girls. All 12 of the writers, editors, and publishers in this video discuss the evolution of women in comic books, from damsels in distress to superhero. The people delve into how female writers are sparking a revolution in the way women are represented and how this is affecting and inspiring young girls to pursue their passions and to see themselves as the hero.
I wanted to talk about Disney’s Big Hero 6 because of how they portrayed their female characters, GoGO and Honey Lemon, and the trends incorporated into the film. First, both of these young women are very intelligent and pursuing their passion in their fields, particularly the Science Technology Math and Engineering (S.T.E.M.) field. Girls should be encouraged to participate in these subject matters, and having an example of young women who are work in the S.T.E.M. field and loving it will hopefully encourage more to take part in it. I also want to take note of Honey Lemon’s outfit because yes you can fight crime and wear a dress that is accessorized with a matching purse. This is important because so many other female superheroes wear ridiculous outfits, young girls need to see that they don’t need to be stereotypically “sexy” to be important. My third point is GoGo’s catch phrase “woman up!”. Consistently through out the film she uses the phrase to motivate herself and her teammates. This is so significant. Instead of saying “don’t be such a girl” which gives a negative connotation to simply being female, GoGo implies that women are tough, strong, creative thinkers, and something to aspire to be. I find this to be important to young girls because instead of making them feel bad about being a girl, we are empowering them and in turn improving their self image. The tend of “woman up” is catching on in media. Overall, I feel that GoGo and Honey Lemon are positive role models for adolescent (and even non-adolescent) girls.
I have been questioned about where I am getting my information from so I would like to respond to that. In this post I have not claimed to site others’ opinions and that is because this is my analysis of the film after viewing it multiple times. The film itself is a primary source for this post. In regards to my view of the S.T.E.M field, i am a female in the S.T.E.M field. My first hand experiences are also a primary source. The rest is my personal analysis of the trends found in the film. My statement about female superhero outfits will be followed up in another post that will address costumes the “broke-back pose” and the role of women in comics in thorough detail. All my posts are already planned out and connected. Thank you.
My blog is about how female superheroes play a role in the life of adolescent girls, particularly as role models. I want to discuss the trends that have been changing and the trends that have been arising in comics, why these changes are important, and how they are affecting young (and older) girls. I am particularly fond of this topic because even though i will be focusing on the age group of 10-25 year old females, it still includes and applies to women of all ages. It is also important to note that even though I am focusing primarily on the affect female superheroes have on young girls, everything that is discussed does have an affect on the male population as well.