Welcome! This is the weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!
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*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.
If you’re a regular reader of this blog (and you should be) then you know that I have mad love for all things superhero. Man, woman, Hulk, etc, if it’s a superhero, I love it. One of my all-time favorites is Supergirl. Don’t get me wrong, Wonder Woman rocks my socks off but my very first superhero memories are of the Supergirl movie with Helen Slater and Peter O’Toole. That movie made me feel so many of the feelings and to this day I adore it and no one can talk me out of it!
You can imagine then that I turned into the new CBS adaptation of Supergirl with lots of excitement and a pinch of trepidation. Were they going to make her over-sexed and stupid? Were they going to make her kick-ass and awesome?
Oh CBS, you did not disappoint me. I simply adored the first episode of Supergirl this week. I can’t wait for more! I can only hope that the rest of the season is as good as that very first episode. There were a few times I got chills, always a good sign.
Supergirl Isn’t a Trollop Or a Moron (Thank God)
It’s so easy these days for female superheroes to be treated as nothing more than eye candy. Short skirts, up-skirt shots, tight outfits and … well, being a woman in a mostly (but not for long) male-dominated world can be a challenge. In recent years we’ve seen a wonderful surge in strong female superheroes (thanks Black Widow!) that gave me a lot of hope that this version of my favorite flying lady would be amazing.
CBS did a lot of things right with this permutation of Supergirl, from her costume (which went through a couple of versions, with a funny nod to the boy shorts and crop top look she had at one point *shudder*), to Kara’s personality. They didn’t make her dumb or slutty. They made her a total nerd, which I LOVE. She’s goofy, she’s clumsy, she’s awkward but she also has this powerful side of her, this side that can beat bad guys and punch in the front of tractor trailers. How can you not love her?
Also, as a side note, well done on the new Jimmy Olsen, I can see why Kara went speechless when she met him the first time!
She’s More Than Just Super
So often these days strong women are seen as bratty, as bitches and that’s so often very far from the truth. It’s an endlessly frustrating discussion, why can’t women be strong and be seen as strong rather than cranky or PMSing?
This Supergirl is strong without it being annoying. She doesn’t go around (so far) acting tough and doing strong…stuff just for the sake of it. She is learning how to be a hero and she wants to do right by her now destroyed world.
When we meet her, she’s conflicted about her strength and unsure if the world needs another Super-anything but when she gets a taste of her true power, she is addicted to it. She needs to help where she can. She needs to do the best she can by her adopted people. She needs to be a hero because she is a hero. Supergirl is born.
What I’ve always enjoyed about Supergirl is that she’s just as powerful as her cousin Superman and what I enjoy about both the 1980’s movie and the new show is that they let her fight and be beaten up. In fact, she’s punched into the sidewalk at one point, it’s pretty brutal and I loved it. They didn’t shy away from showing how strong she really is nor did they shy away from showing that being a superhero can be a tough gig. They showed her being beaten up just like Superman would have been. Like any male character would have been and the best part? She gave as good as she got.
It’s Not Perfect But …
So far, CBS did right by Supergirl and I can’t wait for next week. I know the show isn’t perfect, I wish they had connected this Supergirl to the current Superman movies or at least alluded to them in some way, that would have been really cool to know that people are used to or even perhaps a little weary of the superhero’s in their midst. The destruction their kind can cause when they are trying to do right. That would have been great. They also mentioned Superman A LOT. A LOT. I’m hoping that isn’t continued throughout the whole show.
It seems as though this Supergirl exists in a world where Superman has been around for 24 or so years so it’s long past the time of our current Superman (I think, anyway. The timeline was a little confusing) so fine, I can live with that.
I LOVED that they used Dean Cain (a former Superman) and Helen Slater (SUPERGIRL!) as this Supergirl’s adopted parents, the Danvers. I thought that was a clever nod to the past permutations of our favorite Super-folk.
I’ve heard some rumblings about how this is “feminist TV” and I thought about that last night as I contemplated my blog for today. There were the same rumblings when Furiosa kicked butt in Mad Max: Fury Road and it also made me pause, who cares if it’s “feminist TV”?
What IS “feminist TV”?
Is it regular TV with women as strong lead characters? If so, I’m okay with that.
So why is it said as if it’s a bad thing?
Oh, that’s right, because there are still men out there who are threatened by strong, powerful women who are their own hero’s. That don’t need saving by a man. That’s right. I forget that sometimes. Those guys can shove it. Give me more FEMINIST TV!
Regardless – I’ll take a good dose of feminist TV any day of the week over some of the more misogynistic, male-dominated fare that has dominated TV and other entertainment my entire life. Now, I just need to see that Supergirl toy and I can’t wait for Rhode Island Comic Con this year, I am hoping to see a few Supergirl’s running around!
What did you think of the new #Supergirl? Tell me in the comments!