Saturday, September 24, 2011

Heroines at Center Stage - Why I'm even more thankful for Buffy and Batgirl

(I'm moving my older posts over from my old blog host. This one originally posted Sept 24, 2011)


I’m trying to make my way in this comics world. I’m new to comics, so I thought this would be a great time to toss my hat into the ring and check out some superhero comics. Dare I say, I was even hoping to find some butt kicking female heroes? (Why yes, women DO read superhero comics, and not just those who have been reading since childhood!)
I was excited about this past week, with the first issues of Catwoman and Red Hood being high on my “must read” list. I love the character of Catwoman (mostly from cartoons), and I was looking forward to a great introduction to her series. I’d also heard that Red Hood had a fab female character, so I wanted to hop on board that train as well. Unless you’ve not been following twitter or online at all over the past few days, you know how that went.
So, rather than rehash all the (very legitimate) issues with those two females, I thought I’d take a moment to express my gratitude for two of the other comics I’ve experienced since I took the plunge this summer – Buffy and Batgirl.

The combination of these two experiences set my expectations for what a female superhero can and should be.
1 1)  Bravery comes when we face real fears and challenges.
Both of my favorite leading ladies shine in this area. Batgirl won my heart with the way she handles her fears. She is strong, she is brave, and she can admit her fear and continue to fight. It’s this combination of power and vulnerability that draws me to them both.  
22)  There is no loss of face in relying on others
This is where the Scooby Gang shines. Yes, Buffy struggles with allowing her family (biological or not) to place themselves at risk. But she knows she is at her best when those around her are also strong. Others have said this before, but this interdependence and loyalty rings true for me. It brings me back for more.
3 3) Humor and wit help us make it through each day
Yes, life is tough. Especially when you have chosen (or been Chosen) to stand against the forces of darkness. But Batgirl and Buffy use humor to help them stay strong. I love that.
44)  A heroine has the right to take center stage and feel joy in her power
This is another thing that makes me passionate about Batgirl. You can hear it in her voice and see it on her face – she LOVES being strong. She feels joy in her strength. I want to model myself after this. I want to also be proud of myself, of my own strengths and passions, even if I can’t stake a vamp or swing across buildings.

So thank you. Thank you, Batgirl, for giving me a joyful hero to emulate. Thank you, Buffy, showing me that there is always light in the darkness, and darkness in the light, but that we can face both with humor. Thank you, Gail Simone, for being a woman who can craft a powerful superhero who sounds like an authentic woman. Thank you, Joss Whedon (and all who write Buffy) for being women AND men who can write authentic women.  Strong women heroes are out there. And I intend to keep finding them, and letting them light my way. 

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