Representation/refrigeration of Women in DCnU

As part of the new line-wide relaunch, DC has promised more diversity in their characters in terms of sexuality, race and gender. But as many female fans have already pointed out, Gender diversity seems to be about the same as before the reboot, maybe even worse. So far Power Girl has lost her title, and by the looks of things, her powers along with the name “Power Girl”, Zatanna lost her title. Oracle can walk and is Batgirl again, which has fans divided, Amanda Waller went from a big black powerhouse to Tyra Banks.  

DC also made a commitment to giving their female characters more appropriate clothing (or pants in most cases) Then decided to change their mind and leave them running around in their underwear. After hearing all this, you can’t really blame the female audience for being a tad upset, can you?

One of the points they have brought up is that most the female characters that have been given their own ongoing series all fall under the banner of a major male Character, with the exception of Wonder Woman and Voodoo. Batwoman and Batgirl fall under Batmans shadow, along with the Birds of Prey and Catwoman, and Supergirl falls under Superman’s shadow. Oh, and in case it is later brought up, Hawk and Dove hardly counts.

 So does a female lead title need to have BAT or SUPER attached to its name in order for it to sell? Would Batwoman still sell as well if she was called “Nightlass” or “Crimson Rose” or something along those lines? Would Batgirl be able to sell as well if she remained “Oracle” or even “Barbra Gordon”? Theses questions seem to have split views amongst fans.

At the end of the day Dc Comics is a business, and one that isn’t doing as well as it was 20 years ago, so taking the safe approach to the re-launched titles and attaching BAT to most of the female centric titles seems like a safe bet. But should this mean that lesser known female characters shouldn’t be given a shot? I don’t believe so.

I know there is a classic argument to all of this: “Its pointless making more female lead comics, because most comic book readers are male” and yes, this is true, but the fact is DC Comics or any comic book company for that matter isn’t going to gain any more female readers if all they see on the shelves is a bunch of buff dudes in tights beating the shit out of another buff dude who is also in tights. And if im not mistaken isn’t the whole point of this reboot to gain more readers and give them a jumping on point?

At the end of the day, its seems all the average female fan wants is a Superheroine Female Character who is relatable, independent and firmly rooted in her own ways and ideas.

 Believe it or not, I have found the solution.

 A solution that seems so obvious I bet it will be announced for release some time in 2012. This female character is a familiar one who has walked into the spotlight recently and gained quite a following, she represents what women really want from a female superhero: a strong-willed woman, who lives and walks by her own values, she’s smart, she’s strong and she belongs up there with Wonder Woman.

 She is Mera.

And before you even start, I do realize that she is Aquaman’s wife, so does that kill the whole point of “a woman who can stand on her own without a male?” Well No. It doesn’t. For one simple reason: she isn’t “Aquawoman”, she’s Mera. Her only connection to Aquaman is through marriage, she isn’t his sidekick, she wasn’t trained under his wing to fight “the never ending battle against evil” and she certainly doesn’t live under his shadow or symbol. And I think that is what all female readers new and old would want from a Superheroine, a woman who isn’t restricted by a mans symbol or beliefs.

 Make no mistake, Mera is a woman who has gone through a lot and has come out strong rather than stuffed in a refrigerator, and if anybody read Blackest Night they would know what I was talking about. Towards the end of the series The Flash said something to Mera that still sticks in my mind today.  As most of the worlds heroes seemed to be defeated and all hope seemed lost (as usual) The flash turned to Mera and told her “…You’re Wonder Woman now…” and the man had a point. She shined in the series, as well as the Blackest Night: Wonder Woman mini she appeared in, I believed she came out as one of the best Characters of that series and was written as one of the big leagues as she deserves.

 All Mera needs is an all-female creative team, and I believe DC would have a sure-fire hit on their hands.

More on DC’s new 52


3 thoughts on “Representation/refrigeration of Women in DCnU

  1. Mera I think will actually stick in as being under Aquaman’s shadow to most despite the things you stated. If you want a good female lead, I think Zatanna would be the way to go. Off the top of my head at least, she is the one that pops to my mind of not having any real male attachments in the DC Universe and is at least decently known too. I also don’t really see the Birds of Prey as falling under Batman’s shadow.

    Gail Simone by the way has talked a little about women and Batgirl no longer being Oracle (there was another article I read that I can’t find atm). Basically it sounds like DC has plans to include more disabled characters and more women a little later in. Why not more from the start, I’m not sure but perhaps they wanted to mostly play it safe with their starting titles?

    I would kind of like to see a repeat of this though after all the titles come out. I think waiting after Birds of Prey, Catwoman (does she really fall under Batman’s shadow being one of his most elusive foes?), Wonder Woman, and Teen Titans come out since all of them have a pretty good and recognizable female cast going for it.

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