And that’s not comic book hyperbole, kids.
Here’s a snippet of a conversation from a few months back that has been looping in my house (with subtle variations), for years.
ME: So, we going to Ant-Man?
MY 16-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER: Ant-Man? Is that going to be another huge sexist superhero spectacular where women are barely featured and reduced to the same tired damsel-in-distress role Hollywood has been selling for years?
ME: Well… yeah, I guess. But it’s got Paul Rudd… and it won’t be a huge sexist spectacular… because Ant-Man is… you know tiny. Like an ant.
DAUGHTER: You’re not funny, Skippy.
ME: I’m a little funny. But listen, superhero movies are getting better. Look at Black Widow –
A fatal mistake in my part. The words barely escaped my lips when my daughter jumped in like Jessica Drew.
DAUGHTER: Don’t get me started on Black Widow! She was a love-struck girlie-girl in the last Avengers movie and they even made her a damsel-in-distress after introducing her as a butt-kicking, fully-empowered female in the first Iron Man! And look at Felicity Smoak in Arrow; she was a full partner at first and this season she was reduced to wearing low-cut dresses and hopping from Ray Palmer to Oliver faster than Barry Allen!
She was just getting started.
DAUGHTER: It’s the same thing all the time, it seems. Females aren’t incredible, spectacular, mighty or invincible in the movies or TV shows. Iris West isn’t as concerned with her writing as she is with Eddie, Barry, or “The Streak”. Agent Carter was only a limited series. And we still haven’t seen a Black Widow or Wonder Woman film. And what’s happening with Captain Marvel? We make up most of the audience for these shows. Don’t they care about us?
Admittedly, she had me with that one.
But I recovered nicely.
ME: Orphan Black has a ton of strong female characters…
DAUGHTER: All played by the same actress. Who I bet only gets one paycheck!
ME: You’re killing me. But I’m still swinging. What about Supergirl?
DAUGHTER: What about her?
ME: She’s getting her own show. Granted, it’s on CBS, but still…
And with that, my daughter pulled a Jesse Quick and disappeared to her headquarters (her room), to Google the six-minute Supergirl trailer. She emerged ten minutes later.
DAUGHTER: THERE’S HOPE FOR WOMEN IN A MALE-DOMINATED NERDVERSE!
Again, she was just getting started.
DAUGHTER: You didn’t tell me Marley Rose (Melissa Benoist, for those of us of a certain age) from Glee is starring as Supergirl! She’s AWESOME!
ME: And she was in The Longest Ride.
I scored major “street cred” with that one.
DAUGHTER: It looks like they’re not going to show Superman, who would just overshadow Kara. They have the original movie Supergirl and a TV Superman! And the tagline rocks! “It’s A Bird, It’s A Plane, It’s A Girl!”
ME: So they’re on the right track? Young girls will be satisfied? A corner may have been turned and new age of nerdy equality is on the horizon?
DAUGHTER: Maybe. But Hollywood has A LOT of work to do to appease all the nerd girls out there.
ME: The never-ending battle continues.