Flying, kicking ass and having breasts

Wasp and Hawkgirl possibly one of the hottest teams up for female superheroes I could think of (this week). Drawing from two universes, for the uninitiated Wasp hails from the Marvel Avengers universe. And for the very initiated I’m referring to the recent ‘Avengers Earth Mightiest Heroes’. Whilst Hawkgirl with her ‘fight first I’m going to kill anything that gets in my way’ attitude, her home is DC’s Justice League (in this case the animated series from the mid-2000s).

These characters stand out particularly because they fly, kickass and have breasts. A strangely uncommon combination of ingredients in the superhero world. Sadly not a sustainable combination in either universe. I say uncommon because too often I find that female superheroes flying or otherwise don’t kickass. For me to kickass, is to love what you, don’t hold back and if you can throw some one liners then you’ve won me. Well for at least a week of obsessive wiking a crash course to learn your back story with a healthy of deviantart and tumblr. What I don’t want to see is you sidelined as the female character, who needs to be saved or worst still is the heart of the group their softly spoken conscience.

Sadly Wasp and Hawkgirl are an example where there kickass-ness became weighed down by trying to find the right bra to support them in a world ending fight. Here is the confession from what was an idle thought about the potential for too hot female characters from favourite shows to team up to take down Darkside and Kang, became a long winded thought (a lot like this sentence). Namely about how these characters started out great but their writers got lazy and sloppy.

Wasp’s downfall was quicker. Though she got the acclaim for naming the Avengers but then becomes the main heart of the group, the big eyed “we can’t do that” started to come into play. Things got a lot worse when she broke up with fellow superhero Antman left her. Apparently she had emotional insight when it came to –  we can’t just kill murderous villain in question they have to go to jail to face punishment situations. But when it came to her partner seemingly having a nervous breakdown, nope the power of emotional insight magically disappeared.

Then Hawkgirl was lucky to have Wonder Woman as a fellow female on her team. Surviving a couple of series before she too succumb to the travesty of bad writing. Unlike Wasp she held off relationships till the end. Even when she did finally get together with Green Lantern, she retained a healthy competitive attitude with him. Brilliant she was consistent, having from the start stood against anything and anyone that saw her as less fighter because she was a woman. Then she briefly betrays the world. Turns out she was lying to us all along and had been on a scouting mission to find out how to destroy Earth. Thankfully in the end she was loyal to her boy Green Lantern and saved humanity.

When it comes to women in fiction especially superhero universes, isn’t time we got past the stereotypes of God’s first betrayer Eve. Because I’m pretty sure the betrayal gene is not hidden our breasts.

Of course, I’m not claiming this is true of all female characters in the superheroes.  When Wonder Woman is having the sense not to become Superman’s girlfriend, she is a great character. Though like a lot of female cartoon characters lacking a sword – seriously trying naming more that 3 that have a sword and are not called She-Ra or Mulan. As with the ‘real world’, gender issues remain prevalent if you are willing to open you eyes.

Yet it could be worse it could be Black Widow of the recent Avenger’s films. Awful accent for one. And yes that is rather nicely fitted costumes but seriously your power is persuasion and manipulation. Come on! Could you be any more cliched. All the tied up to a chair and breaking free fights scenes, will not detract from the fact your power comes from being a woman. Those last five words might sound empowering but really they are just belittling. Characters should be strong in themselves regardless of gender.

I want my characters to be smart, to have a female Tony Stark. Actually for christ sakes Pepper Potts go make your own invincible suit and help save the world.


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