Lots of interesting insight into heroines of all types in this edition of Fangirls Around the Web, catching up on a couple weeks’ worth of links.
Over at Action Flick Chick, Katrina Hill asks who you’d cast in the rumored all-women version of The Expendables action-movie franchise. I suggested Curtis, Jovovich, Beckinsale, Glau, Weaver, Liu, Garner, Sackhoff, Gellar, Thurman, Rodriguez, Mirren, and Jolie. How awesome would that be? And I have to say, seeing the tongue-in-cheek title Expenda-Belles has me smiling every time.
Brenda Chapman shared more with the Huffington Post about the creative differences that led to her removal as the director of Brave.
TheMarySue linked to two great pieces on comics. Pointing to an article by Brett White at Comic Book Resources, Susana Polo wonders why the role of women in comics fandom seem perpetually under-appreciated. And their Tumblr pointed to a description of Lois Lane and what makes her the perfect match for Superman, and vice versa, that really captures the character dynamic exactly as I’ve always seen it. From Brett White:
For anyone that doesn’t agree with me and doesn’t see the benefit of more gender-balanced superhero teams, why do you disagree? Seriously, why? Women make up half of the world, why should they not make up half (or even close to half; remember, the whole reason this article exists is because of a shocking 3 to 11 ratio) of every superhero team? And if not every superhero team, then why not at least the current premier one? A team half made up of women will not make a team book a “girly” book. And I ask myself, because I used the word, why is “girly” a pejorative? You know what else is “girly”? The U. S. Women’s Gymnastics team, Michelle Obama, Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman and Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. Oh wait, I actually just listed the four most badass things from this past summer, and it just so happens that they’re all “girly.”
Hey men, women like action, adventure, high stakes and dire straits as much as you do. They want to see Mockingbird gossip and shop just as much as you want to see Hawkeye do those things… and that’s “not at all.” They want to see heroes do heroic things, and having women on superhero teams is not going to suddenly inundate your fiction with doilies and Tupperware. It’s just going to make your superhero stories that much more representative of both the world we live in (where women count for half the population) and the one we should live in (where women are treated with certain equality).
If you doubt me, please read Brian Wood’s absolutely fantastic run on adjectiveless “X-Men.” This is a team with four women (Domino, Psylocke, Pixie and Storm) and one man (Colossus) and every issue has been about everything BUT that fact. Wood is writing a team book starring the X-Men’s proactive and high-action security team, and it just so happens to be predominantly female. It doesn’t feel forced and it doesn’t come up. It’s not an issue. Storm, as leader, has chosen people who can get the job done. Come to think of it, Brian Wood is coming close to writing that definitive Storm story I was wanting above. The series is great and perfectly illustrates that estrogen is not something to be feared in superhero comics. It just makes for great comics.
What it really comes down to is that I want other people to be inspired. I’m a white male. I grew up with Batman, Multiple Man, Han Solo, Cannonball, Flint and Gambit. I had my heroes who “looked like me” and that I could identify with or aspire to be. I want girls to have that chance too. And as much as I want boys to see women as equals, I want girls to know that they don’t have to identify with Disney Princesses or Really Cool Disney Channel Starlet if they don’t want to. They can identify with Wasp and Invisible Woman or Kitty Pryde. They can be Stephanie Brown or Batwoman or Black Canary. They have as many awesome superheroes as their brothers do. Everyone needs female heroes as much as male ones.
Did you catch that mention of Brian Wood?
In a pair of guest posts at the Connect the Pop blog, Robin Brenner discusses the portrayals of Black Widow in The Avengers and Selena Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises as positive examples of strong female characters written well without being sexualized, while also recognizing that there is still a long way to go, particularly in the comics industry and their movies.
Charlie Jane Anders at io9 has a great commentary on the September 10th episode of Warehouse 13, praising the show for introducing awesome female characters, then continuing to use them rather than killing them off, as well as the strong emotional and philosophical content of the episode itself.
Another article on io9 points to a neuroscience study raising the possibility that men and women may see the world differently – literally.
Fringe is back for its final season on Friday, September 28. Olivia Dunham has been on my strong female heroine list. While it’s bittersweet to see her story ending, I’m intrigued to see where they take it because the show has tried to blaze new ground in storytelling.