Remember the Super Ladies
On Wednesday Matt and I went out and saw Batman: The Dark Night since every other person in the country had already done so. I am a wimp, and so thanks to the wonders of the internet I was able to identify and prepare for every single violent scene in the whole entire film before I saw it. Well done me. I liked the movie okay (Iron Man was better and I will SO beat you in a debate on that subject) and my husband loathed it, so that was interesting. Interestingly enough, as I watched the film I flashed back to an interesting point I’d read earlier regarding the violence. As I’d be searching for descriptions of the film’s violence I read an objection to how the women were dealt with in the movie. Indeed, there are a heckuva lotta ladies getting thrown about, punched in the face, shot down, and generally terrorized. There are a heckuva lotta men too, but since it’s men doing it to men it’s not as off-putting.
So no kick ass ladies. Fine. Whatever. Even incipient Batgirl hardly gets any screen time (to say nothing of her toddler status). But then I started trying to think of some great female superhero movies out there and I slowly came to the realization that there aren’t any. At all. Oh, there are female superhero television shows, sure. Buffy, Xena, that Million Dollar Woman thing, the Terminator gal, etc. On television superwomen are a dime a dozen. But walk into your nearest multiplex and think of the ladies who’ve commanded the screen en seul. Elektra? Ew. Catwoman? Floptastic. Supergirl? Be serious. Uma Thurman in Kill Bill? Getting warmer. Uma Thurman in My Super Ex-Girlfriend? Augh! Colder, colder!
Generally superwomen are in ensemble pieces like X-Men where they tend to go evil or stand back and let their male compatriots get all the good lines. My husband is a screenwriter himself so when we got home from Batman I informed him in no uncertain terms that it was now his job to write a good superhero movie starring a lady. Chop chop. Not just any lady either. I know that there’s been perpetual talk about a Wonder Woman film, but ugh. Talk about a humorless character. I want a funny lady superhero. A female equivalent to Spider Man (or, more recently, Iron Man). A fan of the comic book genre, Matt pointed out that funny femmes are few and far between. Men mostly write comic books and those men don’t do funny women all that often. That means that someone has to go and make a whole new character.
Unless you know of someone, of course. Tank Girl is the closest thing I can think of, and she did get her own movie (which I have not seen). And there was Tomb Raider‘s Lara Croft but that was a whole lotta nuthin’ right there.
I ask of you, the clever readership, this question: Are there some great children’s or YA novels out there starring fantastic female superheroes? I’m not talking ensemble pieces either (though if needs be a person could pluck a gal from the ranks). Anything? Preferably someone with a sense of humor?
This shouldn’t be that hard.
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About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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