I’ve liked superheroes as long as I could remember. As a child I watched the ultra campy 1970s Super Friends tv show. By the time I hit high school, I had run out of super hero cartoons to watch and since I didn’t have access to the comic books, I spent hours on Wikipedia reading about characters and plot lines, just trying to satisfy my craving for capes. In college I wrote about superheroes in my persuasive writing course and got the paper published in a campus journal.
But despite my devotion, I always felt sort of like an outsider in the fandom. Sure, I loved superheroes, but they weren’t for me. I was always felt myself outside the target audience. Like superheroes were made for the boys and I should feel lucky that I got to tag along.
There were a lot of things that made me feel this way. Male fans who felt the need to quiz me and make sure I was a real fan. Comments about how I probably only wanted to watch the Marvel movies to see the abs of some Chris. But more than anything it was that the stories were not women’s stories.
There were female characters. But there weren’t as many and they weren’t as important to the plot and they usually didn’t have fleshed out personalities and they were often wearing ridiculous outfits and they frequently were fridged and pretty much always they were over sexualized.
In short, they were stories with women. But they were rarely stories about women and never stories for women.
Then there was Wonder Woman.
I finally saw a woman on the big screen saving the world. She is strong, brave, powerful, and loving. She isn’t there to be a sex object. She is there to be a hero.
I actually cried. Kind of a lot.
I thought I knew how much it would mean to me to see a woman front and center and kicking trash. I had no idea. I didn’t realize how much I needed a female lead hero until I was sitting in the theater seeing a superhero movie that was actually made for me, one where I wasn’t an outsider. It was like I was finally part of a family I’d been attending reunions for for years.
And apparently I wasn’t alone*. A lot of my friends said the same. It means something to us to see a woman starring in a superhero movie.
One thing is certain. Wonder Woman can’t be the token female film in a genre of male-lead titles. We need more of this.
*This is a really great article. Don’t read the comments unless you need more proof that insecure men have a compulsive need to attack anything that women enjoy.