Where Are All The Female Heroes?

Suzy Freeman-Greene in The Age newspaper asks why all the superheroes have to be men.  She loves having superheroes who take out the bad guy or rescue the galaxy as role models, but worries that her daughter only has Spiderman and no Spiderwoman.  The recent trend in superhero movies , as she points out, comes from the comic book world which is primarily aimed at a male audience so the balance is very skewed.  However, I think she could look to the X-Men movies for some strong female heroes.  I’m not writing this post to point out strong female heroes though – I have another point.

When this conversation comes up, as it frequently does in the media, everyone points to the failure of Catwoman and Elektra at the box office as reasons why there won’t be any more female superhero movie made and examples for the side saying they’re not popular.  They both come up in Freeman-Greene’s article too.  These arguments are completely missing the point because both Elektra and Catwoman are “bad guys”.  They’re enemies of Daredevil and Batman, respectively.  True, they’re part of the boy culture of comics and appear as a temptation to the hero, so have each been romantically linked to the hero, but they are both criminals.  If you want to make a female superhero movie, make it about a hero.  Buffy the Vamire Slayer was so successful because she was a hero.  Xena the Warrior Princess was so popular because she was a hero.  These two are both mentioned as being successful in the article, but perhaps as anomalies.

There’s no mystery here, folks.  If you make the hero of the story heroic, your chances of attracting an audience are going to be much greater.

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