Will Comic Book Movies Ever Get Female Heroes Right?

Published 10 months ago by , Updated July 2nd, 2014 at 12:07 am,

Female Superhero Women Discussion Will Comic Book Movies Ever Get Female Heroes Right?

As superhero after superhero makes their big screen debut – and earns sequels, team-ups, and crossovers with a successful launch – the lack women in the spotlight is becoming impossible to overlook. Wonder Woman was long-hailed as the greatest example of the need for young women to see superpowered role models on the big screen, and that absence is set to be addressed in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. But it isn’t just progress or equality that demands women be treated differently in superhero blockbusters – it’s the laziness that seems to go into shaping them.

It’s hard to even discuss women in comic books without enraging some readers/movie-goers, so let’s make one thing clear: we’re NOT intending to attack studios on the grounds of sexism, or feel a need to explain why more women in superhero franchises is a good thing. We’re even less interested in determining whether the treatment of women in comic book film universes is ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’

The battle for equality between men and women in superhero films is a fight plenty will volunteer for, but the narrow field of roles (and powers) afforded to women isn’t just about equality – it’s about boring storytelling.


The Facts

X Men Days of Future Past Full Cast Photo Will Comic Book Movies Ever Get Female Heroes Right?

Some will claim that there is no real difference between male and female heroes, and point out that Marvel, DC, Fox, and Sony have all included women in their ensemble casts. Presence = problem solved, right? Unfortunately, it seems every studio has determined that in a superhero story, women are allowed to fit into one of a handful of painfully rote molds.

It’s fair to say that male characters have been just as restricted, showing slight twists on the classic ‘hero’s journey’ (Thor, Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, Steve Rogers, and Peter Parker all endured a personal tragedy that shaped them into heroes). But as cookie-cutter as superhero drama may tend to be, the preassigned roles for women are less interesting, less important, and simply more played-out than their male counterparts.

As the current frontrunner in shared movie universes, Marvel offers the most evidence of the problem. With female characters ranging from deadly super-spies to Norse goddesses, and the high-powered executives in between, Marvel’s movie universe has all the makings of a gallery of strong, interesting women. Some prove to be just that; others… less so.

Thor 2 The Dark World Official Photo Natalie Portman Chris Hemsworth Earth 1024x681 Will Comic Book Movies Ever Get Female Heroes Right?

There is much to be said about the intelligent, witty, independent and charming Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and her constant need to be rescued (in Iron Man and Iron Man 2… and Iron Man 3), proving that the ‘damsel in distress’ trope is alive and well – even if the damsel in question is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. We’ll get to Pepper eventually, but it’s the Thor series that illustrates a few major problems most clearly.

We’ve spoken at length on the SR Underground Podcast about the lack of any real relationship between the titular god of thunder (Chris Hemsworth) and Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), and even fans of the film will concede that Jane’s existence functions largely as a walking, talking plot device. In the first Thor, the war-mongering son of Odin (Hemsworth) needed to realize humanity wasn’t below him, and be humbled – a problem solved when he fell in love with literally the first woman he met.

It’s hard to defend the use of Jane as a plot device in the first film (a more meaningful romance could likely have been shown developing, yet it is not), and much of the movie’s humor was based on Jane’s attraction to Thor based on little more than his sex appeal. But the issue got even worse in Thor: The Dark World – a film that would (for a nice change of pace) find Jane infected by the film’s MacGuffin, thereby requiring her to play a more active role in the plot.

jaimie alexander batman superman wonder woman Will Comic Book Movies Ever Get Female Heroes Right?

Then there’s Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander). Where the first film had shown Sif taking pleasure in fighting Frost Giants and skewering Destroyers, fans were promised a deeper look at the relationship between Thor and Sif in the sequel. A vague romantic interest between the two had been slightly alluded to in the past, but with screaming New Mexicans surrounding them, the pair had more important things to worry about.

Hopes were high, since Sif had quickly emerged as the only real ‘warrior woman’ seen in a superhero film to that point – despite being more of an ‘Asgardian’ than a bona fide superhero. What viewers got instead was a warrior goddess (who managed to exude sex appeal without showing skin) reduced to a spurned admirer, and the ‘exploration’ of the pair’s relationship a single scene where Sif made herself available to Thor.

The character’s shift from pleasantly unexpected to lovesick was disappointing, but what was worse is that Marvel decided that reducing Lady Sif to jealousy wasn’t just a worthwhile move, but one that should be used as a selling point.

Thor 2 Lady Sif Dirty Look Will Comic Book Movies Ever Get Female Heroes Right?

From The Dark World’s first trailer, it was clear Jane Foster’s arrival in Asgard would lead to an immediate love triangle, with a dirty look from Sif featured prominently. And just like that, Sif’s advances were rejected (for reasons we still don’t understand), and one of the most promising superpowered women in Marvel’s stable was reduced to one of the most stereotypical soap opera tropes imaginable.

The real crime is that Jaimie Alexander was capable of a much better story, having escaped most expected stereotypes in the previous film (landing her as a fan-favorite for Wonder Woman). Yes, male heroes are going to be romantically tied to female characters for the foreseeable future; and yes, those loved ones will always be the first targets for said hero’s enemies. But seeing women running, screaming, and needing rescue has gotten old – fast. Especially when the women doing the running and screaming seem to defy past stereotypes in many other ways (one would think that a scientist who theorized the existence of other realms, or took over Stark Industries could manage to see trouble coming).

Iron Man 3 Thor 2 Women Posters Will Comic Book Movies Ever Get Female Heroes Right?

And despite what Man of Steel may imply in regards to Lois Lane (Amy Adams), a romance doesn’t always add to the story. At least The Dark Knight trilogy had Bruce Wayne embarrassed and rejected by the women of Gotham for a change.

But that’s just dealing with the females in superhero blockbusters; what about the women hailed as bona fide superheroes themselves?


NEXT: Female SUPERheroes


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  1. I can’t believe you guys didn’t mention Scarlet Witch. She’s a pretty powerful character and she’s going to have a huge role to play in Age of Ultron.

  2. Women in action movies are about the same as men in YA/Romance movies, no? Usually written by the opposite sex and usually not true to the way men and women are in real life.

    If I wanted real life I would stay home, not go to the movies. We can all get out our nit picking tools but things are not that bad. As some have already mentioned this article seems to have selective memory over they way women have been portrayed in CBM’s.

    I’m not knocking the article or the author, it’s just weird timing as there is no current “this just happened” to point to. Unless I’m forgetting something.

  3. *Sorry for the long comment, but these things get away from me sometimes. Besides, half of it is quotations.*

    I’m not arguing against the idea of this article, or arguing that there aren’t valid points, but I have to say that it seems like the writer is stretching a bit.

    “In X-Men‘s …Cyclops fights with laser attacks, Wolverine fights with his claws, Beast fights with his strength, Iceman fights with… ice. For Marvel, Thor fights with Mjolnir strikes, Captain America fights with fist and shield strikes, Iron Man fights with weapon and repulsor strikes… Perhaps you see where we’re going with this.

    Now look at the women: Rogue leeches life and powers from others, Blink can open portals, Storm communes with the weather, Kitty Pryde can become intangible and phase through objects, Mystique can deceive with disguise, etc..

    Nearly every typical male superhero uses their gifts to attack, exercising power and dominance over whoever they face. Yet the female superheroes (who are presumably their equals) are relegated to support roles; or even more troubling, have their powers originating from an unnatural energy source, or a mental abnormality”

    First off, the male characters “fight with…”. whereas the female characters do this or that; like “commune with the weather.” Why not say that Blink “fights by creating portals”, Storm “fights by firing lightning”, Mystique “fights by kicking people in the head”, Shadow Cat “fights by using her intangibility”? Sure, they don’t tend to be as physical as Wolverine, Thor or Captain America, but why is Storm’s lightning less impressive than Cyclops’ powers?

    Secondly, why are we judging the value of the characters based on how they fight? Rogue stopped Pyro from killing policemen in X-Men 2, Shadow Cat rescued the kid (and managed to defeat Juggernaut in the process) in X-Men: Last Stand, Mystique infiltrates enemy strongholds, gathers information and helps rescue mutants on a couple of occasions. These may not be as flashy as the big battle, but punching somebody isn’t always the most important event in a story or the most interesting way of dispatching one’s enemies. Why not complain that the male characters only get to punch things while the women get to outwit their opponents, save lives and play key roles in the most important parts of the mission?

    Also, in a team, everyone should be playing a support role in the fights, and don’t all of those female characters get their powers the same way as the other mutants? Unnatural energy sources? And… “mental abnormality”?

    Later in the article comes this:

    “Jean Grey, Storm, Rogue, Emma Frost, and Kitty Pryde are some of the most influential and powerful figures in the comic’s history.”

    But, doesn’t Storm “commune with the weather”, Rogue “leech life and powers” and Kitty Pryde “become intangible” in the comics? If they are so “influential and powerful” in the books, then why are their powers a problem in the movies?

    “Fantastic Four‘s Susan Storm can disappear from sight, and lashes out emotionally with blasts of nonlethal energy when not complaining about her powers.”

    I don’t remember the FF movies perfectly, but I don’t recall Susan Storm complaining about her powers, at least no more than Reed and certainly not as much as Ben Grimm; only Johnny Storm seemed really pleased with his powers, as I recall. As for her lashing out emotionally, I thought she was one of the more stable characters of the Four, maybe I need to watch them again. But, I guess, nonlethal force is kind of girly.

    “(Pepper Pott’s) panic only subsides once Tony tells her that he can “sort out” the situation, meaning he’ll remove her abilities (ones every movie-goer would kill for).”

    She seemed to be doing pretty well with her powers IMO. And, what’s so wrong with her showing some emotion after she’s been kidnapped, imprisoned, genetically modified with something that could cause her to explode and nearly killed? Anyone would have some emotions after things like that; it seems more realistic than the male characters just walking away as if nothing happened; besides, Stark had been panicking for the whole movie anyway.

    “Men can love their powers as the gifts they are, but if women take joy in being different – something sinister lies ahead.

    For evidence, look no farther than X2: X-Men United’s Lady Deathstrike (Kelly Hu), The Wolverine’s Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova), Iron Man 3’s Brandt (Stephanie Szostak), X-Men: First Class’ Emma Frost (January Jones)… If a superpowered woman is laughing or taking pleasure while using her powers in a film, odds are she’ll be a villain or morally ambiguous at best (hell, even Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman stopped enjoying herself once she decided to fight for good).”

    Wasn’t Lady Deathstrike under some kind of mind-control? That might be why she didn’t seem to take any joy in her powers. And Catwoman stopped having fun after the city had been taken hostage and was being threatened with being blown up, and even then she seemed to be more easy-going than the male characters. And, considering all of the examples are villains, of course they are going to seem villainous. Where are the heroes that treat their powers as burdens? Other than Rogue, I can’t really think of any that seemed to act any more burdened than the male characters around them; of course, I could be forgetting.

    “We’re simply making the case that at this point, seeing yet another woman at the hero’s side receive powers, and complain about them rather than using them in a charming, or entertaining fashion is just downright boring.”

    I’ve read Mark Waid complaining about that attitude being used for superheroes in general, and I can’t blame him after seeing Superman moping around in MoS. I’d say the problem with female characters in this case would be the characters that have been used. The X-Men aren’t exactly the most upbeat characters around, so they aren’t likely doing cartwheels over their powers, but I found Mystique, Blink and Shadowcat to be very entertaining in their use of powers.

    “(Mystique) would later spend the course of X-Men: Days of Future Past trying to decide which of the men in her life she was going to listen to”

    I would say that she was trying to decide between the two ideologies the two men represented, but she never seemed to be subordinate to either man.

    “Moviegoers who assumed Rogue could use her power to copy every mutation of those around her were clearly dreaming – but that’s exactly what makes the comic version of the character so powerful. On the page, Rogue has flown into combat, and dealt out punishment with the super team’s heaviest hitters. It was only on film that her powers came to define her as a victim, instead of the complex character she’s always been.”

    Rogue definitely could have been used better, I won’t argue with that, but she was partially hindered by the fact that they couldn’t have her take Ms. Marvel’s powers, which would have made her far more formidable in a fight. However, it was not only in the films that her powers were presented as a burden for her, they were a problem since the time she joined the X-Men. Some might say that is a bad thing, but personally I’d say that has been one of the things that has made her “the complex character she’s always been”; and my favorite X-Men character. The fact that her powers are a burden and carry with them their own drawbacks, creating her limitations, make her very interesting and unique, IMO. To me she is like the Hulk, who no one seems to mind complaining about his powers.

    “But for whatever reason, movie studios seem stuck on one idea: women should complain, and see fighting the good fight as a burden.”

    Maybe I’m missing something, but I really don’t see this happening. The female X-Men never seemed any more burdened with their powers or less interested in fighting than the men. In fact, in the very first movie Wolverine seemed to be the most reluctant, and there was a scene with Storm trying to convince him to fight alongside them, and when there was a “cure” for mutations it was Storm who said they had no need for it. Mystique certainly doesn’t seem to be reluctant to fight; if she had been, then DoFP wouldn’t have spent the entirety of the film having Wolverine trying to convince Xavier to get back into the fight and to stop Mystique. Black Widow chose to fight (in fact, I don’t even know if she was supposed to be an Avenger until she went out with them), it was Banner who didn’t want to get involved. I don’t remember the Fantastic Four having to drag Sue Storm into a fight, she didn’t hesitate to face Doom to rescue Reed Richards, and was (as I recall) the first to attack Dr. Doom at the end of the first movie; even after Doom says “Let’s not fight.” She defiantly “lashes out emotionally” by calmly responding “No, Let’s” and then attacking him, all by herself (that’s even in the trailer.)

    Perhaps I’m nitpicking and forgetting some things, but the argument in this article seems a bit weak to me.

    • Read the whole thing. Best comment on the thread.

      • I second that.

      • Thanks for sticking with it. It didn’t look nearly so long until a pasted it onto the site, and it started out as just one quote and a comment, honest, but pretty quickly it got out of hand. It all happened so fast!

    • Just an English trick when taking huge quotations. Use period, space, period, space period, space (. . .) or [...] to cut huge segments out of a paragraph to bring it down to the essentials. For example:

      “In X-Men‘s …Cyclops fights with laser attacks, . . . For Marvel, Thor fights with Mjolnir strikes, . . . Perhaps you see where we’re going with this.”


      “Nearly every typical male superhero uses their gifts to attack [...] exercising power and dominance over whoever they face. Yet the female superheroes [...] are relegated to support roles;”

      Anyways, I agree with your response. Superheroines are not given the short stick in movies. The only consistent detraction I’ve seen is how oversexualized they are (but then again, so are the male characters, especially Marvel), but as characters, they are equal members of the team. Essentially, the strong, attractive woman suffers from the Lara Croft syndrome, where even though she has many positive traits and characteristics, feminists pick one thing and declare her a misogynistic fantasy.

      • You’re right, DragonKnightleader, some ellipses would have been a good idea, but by the time I finished, I was running out of time and didn’t think of it; wish I had. Even so, with the space I would have saved, I probably would have just added more quotations to comment on.

        The over-sexualization is one thing that gets annoying, of course, it isn’t limited to superhero movies or even just action movies. I like looking at Scarlett Johansson as much as the next guy, but does she have to always be facing away and looking over her shoulder on every poster?*

        Thanks for the response.

        *Nobody answer that!

  4. Guys stop complaining, Elektra was the best female lead movie ever made said no one ever

  5. Guys female lead movies will come in due time the worse thing to happen is a female lead with a rushed plot and cliche romance/story telling

  6. Guys female lead movies will come in due time the worse thing to happen is a female lead with a rushed plot and cliche romance/story telling

    P.S- sadly this America, so NO ONE is entitled to their opinion

  7. @ Silent Red

    Great counter-point (Not-So-) Silent Red.

    I think that Andrew wrote a nice op-ed that got a nice debate going, but it felt a little over-reaching and forced to me. Like one of the many college essays we all had to write where we had to use a healthy amount of BS and force it to have a theme. Sure, there is a lot of merit to what Andrew is saying, but as you pointed out, you can argue it pretty well from different perspectives.

    I especially liked your point about the Hulk. If the original Hulk had been a female, people would forever be trying to tie her rage to a woman’s PMS. We sometimes create links where there are none, and sometimes exaggerate ones that are present.

    Similarly, as a male, should I take offense at the fact that the majority of supervillains are male? Should I say statistically 50% of all villains should be female?

    “Secondly, why are we judging the value of the characters based on how they fight?”

    That was the other great point I liked. Professor X fights from a wheelchair. Does that make him weaker or less manly? I think not. Is his wheelchair a representation of some psychological or emotional flaw? Maybe. Or maybe the guy is just in a wheelchair and this ain’t Moby Dick!

    • Thanks for the response, and I agree with you.

      I appreciate what he is going for in this article, I just don’t think his argument holds up. I mean, I could complain about something in practically every paragraph. In his defense, I don’t figure he spent years writing this article, probably a few hours at most, so it isn’t reasonable to expect it to be flawless; I’m not trying to shoot him down as a writer or anything.

  8. Most Comic Book Movies Can’t Get Source Material Right! I Lament For The Female Heroes…

  9. Andrew makes some good points but definitely overstates the case. Female characters in these films have _generally_ but not _universally_ been poorly represented in these films.

    The X-Men films have been pretty good on this score and it’s unfair to show a picture of their cast then say:

    “Presence = problem solved, right? Unfortunately, it seems every studio has determined that in a superhero story, women are allowed to fit into one of a handful of painfully rote molds.”

    That statement simply isn’t true of the X-Men films and anyone who has seen them would instantly recognise that.

  10. Me like lady sif,black widow,jane foster,mary jane waston, and many other woman in marvel universe and they cool strong woman in marvel universe and woman that any marvel fan will like as well.

  11. Sounds like you have your own hidden agenda as well. As much as you say DC fanboys defend at all costs, you also hate at all costs so thanks for bringing balance back to the universe. When praising Marvel for their “plan” for Sif as a positive you rip on DC for having an equal plan…… I dunoo, some of your comments were beginning to make sense until it came across as bickering. None the less thanks for the read

  12. I would say that it is part of the human condition for both genders to be subconsciously drawn to a male character.
    But along came a female warrior named, “Katniss Everdeen”.

    • Perhaps, but I’ll admit that something somehow also draws me to female superheroes ;)

  13. I mean, “Lucy” is about to hit our theaters. I’m thrilled by the trailers, but I can feel some kind of emptiness inside when considering whether to see the movie when I contemplate that the protagonist is female.
    Even if this is due to subconscious conditioning experienced literally my whole life, do we risk societal chaos, possibly doing irrevocable harm to ourselves, and our civilization as a whole?

    • You think Lucy is the first movie with a female protagonist?

  14. This is the most ridiculous move for a new movie I’ve ever heard, you might as well just throw out any reference to Norse Mythology, as it is a slap in the face to anyone with ties to the Norse countries, Thor was the son of Oden NOT a daughter. Leave it to movie moguls to mess with historic myths and try to justify it by claiming to be more equal in their portrayal of woman action heroes, such bunk! I say Leave Mythology alone, What’s next a Woman named Hercules? idiots!

    • I think you’re missing that it’s the comic books that are introducing a female Thor, not movie moguls.

  15. Mystique was completely changed in the movies. In the comics shes strong , independant, and for years had a lesbian relationship. In the movies shes this insecure character who cant make her own decisions nor choose which man to follow. The X-men movies had horrible female characters, reduced to stereotypes without personalities. Emma Frost, shes also a strong character in the comic books, was reduced to an empty headed bimbo in the movies. Why did they allow these scripts? The X-men have always been a woman friendly comic, so why are the movies so sexist?

    • I don’t see Mystique’s portrayal that way at all. In the original trilogy, she didn’t seem to be weak, indecisive, insecure or uncertain about her actions, at all. In DoFP (spoiler alert for the rest of the paragraph, just in case) she seemed very self assured and didn’t seem to have any problems making her own decisions; the only time she seemed truly uncertain was at the very end when she finally ended up changing her mind; even then she seemed to be deciding to go her own way.

      The only time she seemed insecure or indecisive was in First Class, but her role in the story was to show the conflict of those caught in the middle of Xavier and Magneto’s ideologies, particularly those who choose to follow Magneto. The X-Men had already had three movies to show us the reasoning behind joining them, but Magneto’s side had not. I would say that Mystique’s story arc was meant to show us the reasoning behind the decision to join Magneto, so of course she takes some time to make a decision. The point of her role is to see what went into the decision; as well as being a receptive ear to Magneto for him to explain himself to the audience. She’s not indecisive, we are just seeing the process of her decision. Why is it a female character in this role? Partially Mystique’s popularity and familiarity to the audience, but also because she is the smart, strong and independent member of Magneto’s team; unlike Sabretooth and Toad who are normally portrayed as being brutish or subservient to begin with. That’s just the way I see it.

      Another thing that I think needs to be considered is the fact that when the first X-Men movie was made, superhero movies weren’t the sure thing they are now. The filmmakers had to shoehorn some popular characters in, because they may not have gotten another chance, so some characters had to be altered. Magneto had to be the primary villain, and his group didn’t need two leaders, so Mystique became the second in command, so now she’s somewhat subordinate to him. The X-Men didn’t need two leaders, Cyclops was the first leader of the X-Men, so Storm was subordinate to him; that changed as the story progressed, just as in the books, not to mention that Cyclops ended up doing exactly nothing for four movies, other than get captured twice and getting killed at the beginning of Last Stand, unlike Storm. There didn’t need to be two mysterious badas… um, tough-guys(?) with shady pasts, but they did need someone to show the problems that mutants face, such as losing family, being an outcast, having powers that are dangerous to themselves and others, etc. Wolverine is the most popular X-Man, and Rogue is one of the most popular X-Men with pretty much all of the problems that a mutant could have (that don’t make them ugly at least); plus, without Carol Danvers available, they couldn’t have Rogue at full power anyway.

      Emma Frost I’ve never had much interest in, so I can’t say how well they presented her. I always thought, however, that Sebastian Shaw treated everyone in the Hellfire Club pretty badly, and that she really flourished after getting out. Not that she wasn’t necessarily a strong figure as the White Queen, but that Shaw kept everyone under his thumb. Maybe I’m wrong; I mostly pieced her story together here and there. As for the movie, January Jones makes every character seem “empty headed” to me; and the nature of Emma Frost’s character would need a better actor not to come across as a bimbo. That isn’t an insult to her character, it just seems her character is very sexual and could come across badly if not handled just right. Also, we don’t know what her story arc was intended to be, she seemed to show some signs of strength when she was on her own, and it seemed that they intended to bring her back at the time. Possibly they had intended to show her develop over time. After all, the most important characters are often the ones that grow over the course of the story, not the ones that are start out fully developed.

  16. I’d agree with about 70% of this article. Noaln’s Catwoman did, to a certain extent, enjoy her abilities. Things got serious with the possibility of the end of the world so she toned it down, there was no problem there. I am yet to see IM3, so will stay out of that one, however the points about female vs male powers and actions are very valid.

    A lot of people are responding with ‘but Storm has radical powers’ and that sort of thing, they’re missing the truth that women are often handed PASSIVE powers (where their ability is not about fighting itself. Commanding the weather and someone with eye-laser beams is the difference between someone commanding a paintbrush as they paint–it is neither positive or negative, depending on what they paint–and someone having control over a knife–which is inherently linked to fighting and self-defence. The men are granted ACTIVE abilities, which means the essentially can go head first into a fray and control the action from within, whereas the women’s passive abilities means they play support, usually from a distance. We all love The Hunger Games–I know I do–but even that has Katniss using a weapon that relies on distance (the bow and arrow).

    A lot of the superhero types are, unfortunately, still informed by the history of superheroism. It’s only when we break out of the old Marvel box from the beginning until the 80s will we start to get unique flesh and blood characters, male and female, who don’t fit the tropes. There aren’t many, yet, but there are some. Look at Batwoman, where the main character was a complex female who jumped into action (though the second group of writers were terrible, and destroyed her character), or Y the Lat Man where the majority of characters are female and the main character, while a man, is protected by his female companion (though he is not helpless, thankfully. That would make for a dull main character). Or Avatar the Legend of Korra, where the main character is both a female and all-powerful, and her active (re: masculine) nature is actually a problem rather than a good thing. And thankfully we had Buffy back in the day!

    Changing the nature of superheroism will take time because it has extended from history and society, but seeing the problem is the first step. Unfortunately I feel like a lot of respondents to this thread missed the truth, instead thinking ‘but she can do that, that’s enough’, without noticing the inequality.

    Silent Red, while you made some good points, you misunderstand the idea of passive vs active abilities. Kitty doesn’t fight by phasing through things, she has to outwit people (long since considered second to fighting hand-to-hand, and also once considered manipulative, and therefore negative. It’s a historical thing.) This is the same with Blink. Mystique, while she can fight hand-to-hand, her power is based on her appearance. (So ridiculously ‘female’). Rogue steals other’s powers, and theft has also long been considered sneaky and female. Storm commands a force that is, let’s face it, a thing that shifts like moods and is also considered feminine. Rain and lightning? Check. Fire power? That’s masculine because fire is innately destructive, so we’ll give that to the guy. Can you see the difference in powers that are assigned to men and women? It doesn’t just end with Marvel or DC. This whole idea that women with power are passive/protective goes a long way. Bella Swan’s vampire power? She’s a black hole who can protect others. (God Twilight was just terrible, but it continues the idea of the types of power women get handed.)

    There is nothing inherently wrong with the women’s power, or the men’s powers, it’s that they are distributed very evenly – men get active, women get passive. There should be a mix to increase equality.

  17. Oh, and people who are like ‘what about THESE female stereotype-defying characters?’ Rememeber that they are massively in the minority, and are currently the exception to the rule.