Sexualized Saturdays: Batgirl, a Look Back at a Lifelong Hero and a Hopeful Look Forward

With the recent news  that Joss Whedon is in the works to do a (potentially amazing, if arguably problematic) Batgirl movie, I’ve been thinking about Barbara Gordon a lot. I mean, more than usual. BG’s always been a personal favorite and perhaps the first example I remember from my childhood of not only a real “strong female character” but a superhero I actually connected with. Babs has been a hero to many and while she has been used in incredibly problematic ways over the years, she remains one of the most prominent female superheroes to the average geek.

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This shade of purple was forever associated with Batgirl in my brain. (image via Batman Wiki)

As different artists have taken a crack at Batgirl over the years, she has gone through a few phases, as have most of the other major players in the Batman canon. Many of those different versions of BG have been used in exploitative ways. Despite this, many have made her a feminist icon and often a source of inspiration to fans of all genders. In looking back at some of these incarnations, I also hope to highlight a few things that will be crucial to the Batgirl film not ending up horrible.

TW: Discussion of themes related to sexual violence and ableism.

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Sexualized Saturdays: “Is Themyscira Even a UN Member Anymore?” A Retrospective Examination of Wonder Woman’s Ambassadorship

With Wonder Woman’s tenure as the United Nations Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls coming to a somewhat unceremonious end, I can’t help wanting to do a postmortem on her appointment and the controversy surrounding it. In addition to finding the whole affair oddly fascinating, I found it revealingnot only about global attitudes towards feminism but on how the most recognizable symbols of pop culture feminism are often inherently polarizing.

While I do not question that all parties involved genuinely had nothing but good intentions, there were some serious objections raised almost immediately (after the collective online shout of “cool!” dissipated, anyways) and they bear further examination, especially in light of the apparent success of said objections.

The three things that were most controversial about this “appointment” are all significant. The primary objections were that Wonder Woman is overtly sexualized, that a fictional rather than a real woman was unacceptable for such a role, and that giving “Wonder Woman” that voice for women was effectively just handing it to the DC Comics marketing department. While there were a few objections related to her history of violence and some that simply being a comic book character delegitimized her, the former was not really unique to this case in any particularly interesting way and the latter is something I won’t dignify with a response.

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No matter your thoughts on the politics of the campaign, this is an ad you’d probably want to stop and look at.

Before I jump into the fallout over all this, it’s probably a good idea to recap what exactly happened. While this was a big deal in geek and/or feminist circles, it was quick and a lot of us may have missed most of it. In October of 2016, the UN announced that Wonder Woman would be named an honorary ambassador. The press release mentioned that as part of a campaign with DC and Warner Bros, Wonder Woman would be connected to everything from fighting abuse to promoting examples of women making a difference. What would WW actually do though? Primarily, be featured in various social media campaigns to promote gender equality as part of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals.

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Rebirth, Rucka, and Redemption: Why You Should Be Reading the New Wonder Woman

For better or worse (mostly for better, from what I can tell), DC has finally laid the grim, poorly structured, and laughably undiverse New 52 to rest, and has started over under the header Rebirth. This sort of reboot to continuity is often a boon for readers looking for a convenient jumping on point, and Rebirth was no exception for me. When I heard that Wonder Woman would be starting over at #1, and more, that Greg Rucka, author of the iconic modern Batwoman story Batwoman: Elegy, would be writing her, I was super hyped. Wonder Woman has suffered any number of woes during the New 52, not least of all a writer/artist duo who didn’t seem to understand that feminism was not a dirty word.

I read the first issue of Wonder Woman Rebirth when it was released in June, before I got a new brickspace job and moved to a different state. Once I finally got settled, priority number one was catching up on the comics I missed during the whole process, and the first point of order of that mission was to acquire the Wonder Women I’d missed in the interim.

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Trailer Tuesdays: Suicide Squad

Aaaah! The more I see of the upcoming Suicide Squad movie, the more excited I get. I’m even more pleased with this trailer than the first. It shows a little bit more of the humorous aspects of the movie while still keeping the “gritty edge” that DC Comics seems unwilling to let go of for any of their movies.

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Trailer Tuesdays: Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice Revisited

Oh my God! So guess what, guys? I’m not as nervous about the Batman vs Superman movie anymore! Though as always, I still have some concerns.

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When the Roles Are Reversed: Steve Trevor & the Wonder Woman Movie

Wonder Woman & Steve Trevor Wonder Woman MovieHey, gang! We just wanted to let everyone know that we’re going on a long break for Labor Day Weekend—but don’t worry, we’ll be back on the 10th! Before we go on break, though, let’s talk about Steve Trevor.

Every time another superhero movie is released in theaters, we at Lady Geek Girl and Friends start to worry a little bit. Often the only female characters involved in superhero movies are the love interest to the hero, and while today those characters are usually given more to do, they still end up falling into the role of damsel in distress or are just portrayed as a simple love interest with not much else going on for them. Heck, even female superheroes are not safe from this treatment, considering what the last Avengers movie did to Black Widow. But now DC Comics is attempting to step up to the plate and really build their own universe to rival Marvel’s. Understanding how that’s gone in the past, many people are skeptical. But some upcoming movies look like they have a lot of potential, especially when it comes to female characters. Other than maybe Suicide Squad, the one DC movie I am most looking forward to is Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman is the female superhero. Yeah, you may personally like other female superheroes better, but there is no denying Wonder Woman’s cultural impact, both in the world of comics and feminism.

For the upcoming movie, there has been some speculation to how Wonder Woman’s romantic life will play out on the big screen. Because, you know, she is a woman, and so she has to have some sort of romantic entanglement. I suppose to be fair, if a Superman movie came out and didn’t feature Lois Lane, people would think it was weird. So, Wonder Woman has had several lovers over the years. In the current run of DC Comics, Wonder Woman and Superman are dating. In previous versions, Wonder Woman and Batman have hooked up, and then of course, there is her original love interest, Steve Trevor. Well, the news is finally out; Chris Pine has been cast to play none other than Steve Trevor. But I have noticed that when the script is flipped and we have a female superhero and a normal male love interest, then The Powers That Be tend to talk about things very differently.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Girls Want To Be Chosen Ones Too

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I mean, I’m not one for princess fantasies, usually, but even I would love to be a space princess.

Lately, I’ve grown so tired of watching male “chosen ones” and “jerks with the heart of gold” save the day and get the girl. Representation matters, and girls want to be chosen ones too, and not just princesses in distress. Women are allowed to hate the world and be brilliant while reluctantly saving the day. And we should be able to see ourselves, our stories, and our fantasies reflected on screen too. I’m always on the lookout for female characters subverting generally male character tropes, and today I would like to tell you about some of them and why they matter.

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