Intelligence is a superpower

By | May 18, 2015

Hell yeah, someone who is not a fucking moron writing about Supergirl.

The whole piece is great so it’s hard to pull a quote. Just read it. But this part is an easy pull for me because I tend to appreciate someone who actually knows the history of anything. That is very, very rare.

The point to remember is that riffing on existing tropes isn’t inherently bad. It’s the combination of teenage-girl high school tropes and superhero action that helped make Buffy The Vampire Slayer the glorious piece of genre television that it is. I’m not saying Supergirl will definitely be the next Buffy, but the potential is definitely there. It isn’t automatically bad that it looks familiar.

And the thing about superheroes is that romance is baked into their DNA. Hardcore comics nerds will know that when superheroes became popular in the 60s, it was off the back of writers and artists who had been working in the romance genre for years beforehand. Pick almost any 60s Marvel book off the shelf – Daredevil, Spider-Man, X-Men, Thor, Iron Man – and you’ll probably find a romance subplot inside. After creating Captain America in the 1940s, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby literally invented the Romance comic genre with 1947’s Young Romance #1, and that visibly fed back into Kirby’s Marvel work in the 60s – and you’ll struggle to find a Marvel Studios movie that doesn’t in some way rest on Kirby’s work.

And this.

The problem with this complaint is that the phrase “strong female character” has been misapplied so long to mean “physically and mentally without weakness” rather than “well-defined” (as it briefly, originally meant), that sometimes people hoping for a strong female lead get disappointed if a woman has personality traits that might be seen as in any way weak or frivolous.

Most feminist complaints seemed to amount to, “She’s not being a badass every single second of her waking life. She has doubts and fears and sometimes feels weak or unsure. Therefore the show is a failure!”

What a ridiculous grievance. I don’t even have words for how worthless that sort of criticism is, or how terrible and un-fun watching that sort of character usually is.

The show might end up being terrible. I don’t know. But most of the criticism about the trailer and the show seems to be some of the most clueless and unintelligent that I’ve read about anything.