Recently I came across a video on the Rise of the Female Superhero.
It was rather disturbing to observe how delusional we women can be in that we think we are making a difference on the 'women emancipation chart' when more or less every character created is depicted no differently to the sexualised image of the ones that have been downloaded through men's eyes.
As a testimony to that statement, the heroines look light years away from how their female creators look.
So what is it about women wanting to beat men at their own game? Have we not been there, done that (many a time); carried banners, burnt bras, the lot... and where have we got to with it all?
Are we not fooling ourselves that just because of the fact that the Earth is spinning and us with it and because we can create a greater motion whilst riding on a merry-go-round of a feminist movement we are losing sight of the fact that we are actually firmly held by the axis that is not shifting at all. The only true variable perhaps is the fact that these comic events used to be attended 95% by men and now it's 50-50.
Is it possible that in reaction to the male dominated society we seek to match even through violence, as that might be the thing that will put us on par with men?
I ask Dr Maxine Szramka, a Rheumatologist, lecturer, writer for Women in Livingness Magazine, blogger and dedicated advocate for equality and care in society: What is it about being in a hypersexualised costume and a body shape unrealistic and unobtainable for most women, holding a weapon and beating people up that makes us women feel 'empowered'?
I found it really interesting to see that in the quest for female emancipation, they are creating women in the same violent aggressive and sexualised light that the men have created women in. And that's seen as 'feminism'! I also see that the body images they have created the women in, are quite unrealistic for the way that most women actually look, creating women in the image of an ideal, not truth and not reality.
Whilst there is no denying that it is true that there exists an inordinate amount of sexism and misogyny in the world of comics and fantasy, (as well as outside of it!) do we need an aggressive fantasy to feel empowered? Need we really see ourselves as fighters? Is that who we truly are?
Dr Szramka answers back with some further questions; If women are truly empowered, why the need to create women in a fake unrealistic and unobtainable image and costume? What is it about 'the costume', physical strength, fighting and violence that makes us feel 'strong' and 'empowered'?
She continues to say that a true superhero is a woman being true to herself in daily life, living a life that is unbound and unfettered by the ideals and beliefs of everyone around her.
"It takes far more courage in life to stand true to what one knows to be true, without bending, than it does to 'kapow' another human being."
Women have been harmed throughout the ages by being asked to conform to particular ideals and stereotypes in society, by being asked to be something that they are not. Sadly, we went for it....
One of the things that plagues women as a 'weaker' sex is that we feel we don't have any control. But where is this need to control coming from? What are we protecting ladies?
Is there something less empowered about the way we are and look in daily life?
We have seen throughout the centuries, that violence causes harm, misery and desolation? Why then would we want to consciously and willingly participate in any of that? How on earth is it 'empowering' to contribute to the anguish of others?
Intrigued how young women might feel about the topic I talk amongst a few with a 19 year old progressive student of politics, Rebecca Briant.
Growing up I always aspired to be like the super heroes I had read about in comics or seen in movies, however the female superheroes looked nothing like me, and the role model they presented made it seem that to be special or be super you needed something I didn't have - a special power, super strength or a magic gadget. As I grew older and with the support of some amazing women, I realised that there is no need to beat up bad guys and be tough, that there are other qualities we all have as women that are not explored enough which are 'super powers'. And as an older, most inspiring lady friend wrote a short time ago in my 19th birthday message:
"The power of a True Woman is not defined by any Golden Lasoo or star spangled hot pants, but by the very qualities you have and always hold within."
Ladies, have we been looking for super powers in all the wrong places?