Superwomen save society

Sarah Fox, Business Manager/R3 News Editor

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Welcome to the newest generation of powerful superhumans—or should we say superwomen?

​More and more, we see women taking a larger role in superhero films. In Wonder Woman and Justice League, we see Wonder Woman (played by Gal Gadot) save the world; in the CW show Supergirl, Supergirl (Melissa Benoist), protects her city.

After a steady trend of female superhero failures like Catwoman (2004) and Elektra (2005), Wonder Woman and Supergirl indicate change. Powerful performances by Scarlett Johansson in The Avengers and Margot Robbie in Suicide Squad are also examples of this new superhero movie era.

No longer do women flounce around in skimpy armor; rather, they’re essential characters. Without Wonder Woman in Justice League, there wouldn’t be the team or the movie. To many, Wonder Woman saved DC Extended Universe; according to Variety, the film won over 93 percent of critics. With unsuccessful releases like Batman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeWonder Woman was a much-needed boost. In Justice League, she proves to be a pivotal member in their quest to defeat Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons, large mosquito-like creatures.

While there’s evident growth in female empowerment, there has been a discrepancy in the costumes. In Justice League, Wonder Woman and her fellow Amazonians wear more revealing clothes than in Wonder Woman.

But Samantha Jo, who plays Amazon warrior Euboea, shut down the controversy in a statement: “I think that the Amazons (being a race that lives with only other women) should be free to wear as much or as little clothing as each individual wants. And this was reflected in the variations of the armor that was tailored to each individual.” Jo also said that she has “never felt more empowered” than while working with Justice League director Zack Snyder on set.

A change in the superhero industry isn’t only in movies, but also in television with hit shows like Supergirl, which revolves around Kara Danvers and her rise to power. Initially, she was sent to Earth to protect her cousin Superman, but because she gets lost en route, she arrives to see him grown up and off saving the world. Her original mission of protection over, she tries to live a normal life only to have to later unleash her powers—identical to those of Superman—to save her sister when she’s in a falling plane.

Supergirl isn’t a damsel in distress or a sex symbol, but a true hero. She does what needs to be done not to impress her male counterparts, but because it’s what’s best for the city. Supergirl earns respect for being a savior, not just for being pretty.
By continuing to portray female heroes in this positive light, Hollywood will reinforce the idea that a hero is measured not by physical features, but by strength and courage.