Is Supergirl a Strong Female Role Model? Why CBS’s New Superhero Draws Her Power from Being Accessible

More than just the lead

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DC’s other shows feature some other female superheroes like Black Canary, Speedy, Huntress, and Katana in Arrow, and the soon to be introduced Hawkgirl in The Flash and Legends of Tomorrow. While it is certainly important to include these women in any superhero show, all of these women heroes are sidelined in favor of the featured, male hero. Supergirl quickly remedied this by featuring Kara in the starring role, but the show endeavored to go beyond just a starring role.

Supergirl is not only a show with a female hero at the center, but also one about needing more female heroes. The show’s pilot spends a lot of time discussing the tangible idea of having a strong female role model both in the show’s universe and, obviously, in the real world. Admittedly, Supergirl’s pilot does this incredibly on the nose to a point of fault. Nonetheless, the series promises to not only attempt to portray a relatable female hero, but also actually discuss what that might mean for both fictional and not-so-fictional worlds.

You don’t need x-ray vision to see more on the horizon.

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Later this month, Marvel will step up their own feminist game by debuting Jessica Jones on Netflix. Like Supergirl, Jessica Jones will feature a woman with superpowers as the lead character. It’s impossible to say if one show is a better feminist representation yet as one has not premiered and the other is only two episodes into its season, but its safe to say both shows will have their importance in moving these issues forward.

However, based on available trailers it seems that Supergirl still has one superpower that Jessica Jones will not: accessibility. To bring it back to my original point, Supergirl has a unique optimism in how it portrays not only superheroes, but also women in the world.

Glasses make me relatable right?

Glasses make me relatable right?

Kara faces struggles in the show but as a superpowered alien and a regular woman in America. Jessica Jones, seemingly in order to fit in with Marvel’s decided pessimistic Netflix universe (a la Daredevil), has taken a much darker tone. While this tone can have a value of its own, Jessica Jones will nonetheless appeal to a smaller group of viewers. Supergirl will draw strength from its ability to capture a wider audience and therefore express and represent ideas to greater amplitude.

Engaging Television

One of the show’s major goals seems to be existing as a talking point. Supergirl is as much an enjoyable TV series as it is a feminist call to action. The entire point of the show is to bring about discussion about feminism so please share your thoughts with us in the comments, and let’s keep the conversation rolling!

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