The Female Perspective: Lady Thor and Gender Roles

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While it’s not news that Thor is now a lady, I think it IS newsworthy to discuss the fact that Lady Thor is outselling Man Thor by 30% – that’s a pretty staggering number considering the news of a lady Thor was met with mixed reviews. According to the Telegraph;

According to distributor DC Comics, the first five issues of the new female Thor series have outsold the same issues from the previous ‘God of Thunder’ series in 2012, featuring a more conventional male Thor – some by up to 36 per cent. And those figures don’t include digital copies.

Lady Thor is outselling her Male counterpart by 30%!
Lady Thor is outselling her Male counterpart by 30%!

This brings joy to my feminist heart because there were so many traditional comic book fans who though that making Thor a woman would be a terrible idea and there were those who openly opposed it. Well, I guess this proves something…women do buy comics and that a controversy CAN improve sales. We’ll have to see if Lady Thor continues to rock the market but for now, she has a pretty comfortable lead in terms of sales.

That being said, I came across a meme the other day that both amused the holy heck out of me and annoyed me. Below is the meme in question:

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Here’s my issue with it, why is this supposed Mom poo-poo’ing her daughters wishes because Thor is male? Why can’t young girls be whatever the heck they want for Halloween (or any day)? Who cares if it is a traditionally male or female role? Why can’t a young boy decide he wants to be Wonder Woman or a girl wants to be Thor? What are these pre-ordained gender roles that we all have to fit into? Shouldn’t that be the stuff of the past?

Now, I am not a parent, but I have been around my friends (and lived with) kids quite a bit, I have watched my friends parent their children (both male and female) with equal parts distress and ease. I have watched one of my friends young sons want to wear a one-piece bathing suit and read princess books and not once did his mother tell him that that was for girls. She allowed him to express who he was without shame. That is how it should be, kids should be allowed to experiment with different gender roles in order to figure out who they are! That shouldn’t be squashed simply because someone eons ago decided some stuff was for boys and some for girls! Who made that decision? It needs to end, boys should be able to do boy or girl stuff and girls should be able to do boy or girl stuff. Simple as that (and, by the way, I feel that this holds true for adults as well).

A funny example is the 80’s movie Adventures in Babysitting – a great movie, by the way. One of the lead characters, a young girl of about 10 or so was obsessed with Thor! She dressed like him and wanted to be him and I remember thinking, what a cool chick! Let’s face it, Thor is not only a pretty face, he’s a pretty awesome character,

From "Adventures in Babysitting"
From “Adventures in Babysitting”

Here’s the thing, we need to stop boxing people into specified roles. People are malleable, wonderfully complex human beings and if they want to defy the “rules” then I say go for it! I used to love the male characters in the films I saw and I would actually try to emulate them in certain ways. It’s both sad that there were so few female role models that I identified with and pretty funny that I much preferred the male characters. Why did I prefer them? Because they were tough, they were never the damsel in distress and they always came out on top. Today, the choice of female role models is wider and more diverse – look at characters like Agent Carter, Black Widow, even Michelle Rodriguez in the Fast & Furious movies. These are all strong, powerful women who go toe-to-toe with their male counterparts. It’s really awesome and I’m glad to see it!

The simple fact is, we need to let go of stereotypes. They’re boring and without merit. We need to instead embrace the unusual, the unique and let people be who they want. Don’t tell a little boy he can’t dress as a lady if he wants to, it might be a phase or it might truly be who he is. Don’t tell your little girl that she can’t be Thor because, as we’ve seen, Thor is a pretty mighty hero, whether Thor is a he or a she.

What do you think? Do you have kids and would you allow them to cross-dress (for lack of a better term) if they wanted? Sound off in the comments!

5 thoughts on “The Female Perspective: Lady Thor and Gender Roles

  1. My daughter is having a Batman birthday party and plans on being Spider-Man for Halloween. This run of Thor has both the Odinson and the mysterious female Thor. So perhaps the sales number reflects the impact of storytelling that crosses the gender line and includes both genders in a well-written and compelling manner 😉

  2. I love the fact that Thor is now a woman, its about time we see more female super hero become mainstream. In Anime and Manga females are a model of sexuality as well as heroes villains and sometimes the main character. Why are some men so scared to see a powerful woman. I welcome the new wave of female super heroes.

  3. Controversy is a form of advertising. Taking a character that has ALWAYS been male and introducing a female variant thereof is just a way of adding a hint of controversy to it. People will eat it up. Add to that the social push for feminist ideals and you have a lightly controversial idea to spark interest to be further fueled by a currently explosive social element. The only reasonable conclusion would be an earth-shattering kaboom. In this case, the impact seems to be quite fortuitous for Marvel. Could easily have gone the other way, though, had the feminist masses considered the possibility that their ideal was being used merely to drive up sales.

  4. I didn’t think i would get into this but here it goes. I have been a huge Thor fan for well.. long enough to have a good laugh about all of this. My private collection has the first appearance of the Destroyer, first encounter with the space god Galactus… and on it goes and tons of original art work as well.

    Over the years a main thread in the Thor story lines has always been the sharing of the Thunders power, such as Beta Ray Bill, Thorita, yes there was another female Thor already, a little further back during the first Ragnarok story line was Red Norvell as well. So, the fact that someone else is now using the name Thor and is female is not that surprising to me.

    However, I am somewhat perplexed with two Thor’s meaning same name…running around. Whosoever holds this hammer, if he or her be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor not take is birth-name.. But then again Red Norvell took his name as well for a time….. lol..

    I have read a few issues of the new Thor and found it to be a solid read and somewhat funny.

    In closing let me say I love strong female heroes but i also want original female characters that creators stick with and don’t abandon if sales are low, keep writing quality stories and people will follow.

    My three main characters are all female and they rock! Not sure how that happened but you know what I love it. 🙂

    ~MC~

  5. Rob Fossey, your daughter sounds like someone I could be friends with! Good for her and I agree with you!

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