Focused on Femininity (Please Help!)

How a characters feminism and sexuality resonates with fans -

  • What is everyone’s opinions on women’s depiction overtime?
  • How do women’s experiences compare to their male counter characters through the ages?
    What is different/similar?

From a few articles I researched, they pose the idea that “weak women get saved by strong men”, and these men fall in love with their repetitive damsel in distress nature and need to be saved (or need to be saved by them). This idea can be argued both in light of a women’s empowerment movement as well as mockery of women’s dramatic nature or display of emotions as their ‘utter downfall’. Straight women need saving which gives the male superhero the purpose/need to save someone ‘weak’ or in need.
this is NOT my opinion nor am I promoting a hasty argument

Just sharing to get some respectful opinions and responses! I want to know your opinion on this as a DC Universe member! Thank youuuuu

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You have a very early subversion if this dating back to the Golden Age with WW, where Steve Trevor was often the “damsel in distress, and saved by WW.

There were still anti-feminist uses with her in the Justice Society.

I think you find female characters given more agency and power as the feminist movement arose in the late 60’s early 70’s. And like feminism itself has had its ups and downs. However there are a few specific incarnations that have advanced women in comics, but let’s just stick with DC.

Talia Al Ghul: essentially figured out how to have Batman knock her up and effectively hid that fact for a decade. How much of this was Ra’s idea vs her own is debatable.

Lady Shiva: generally considered to be the most formidable hand to hand combatant in DC, surpassing even Batman.

Certainly in comics and animation, Black Canary, Huntress, Power Girl, Poison Ivy, Granny Goodness, & Big Barda can all hold their own against most of the heavy hitter males in DC.

Barbara Gordon in both her more modern incarnations of Oracle and Batgirl is highly independent and has no need of males to support or look out for her, often doing the inverse and saving male counterparts.

Batwoman is another character that is independent and in her case openly lesbian, which is a big step forward in terms of female character representation.

Supergirl is arguably the more paragon character than Superman, even dating back to her sacrifice to save Superman in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

People will argue about costume and poses being more overtly sexual, but this is just as often the case in other media as well. In some cases, Power Girl’s solo run for example actually leaned in to this for both comedic effect and using it as a mirror on how society still has views of women. But, as media will tell you, sex appeal sells. So what else is new?

Are things perfect when it comes to getting pure equality across the board, no. But, that is also a reflection of society as well.

Comics are a reflection of popular culture (including feminism) and feminism while still needing to make strides in the real world still needs to make strides in comics, but comics have changed with the culture as feminism has become more ingrained in that culture as well.


As a general rule the depiction reflects the society when the comic was written. The older comics do not always stand the test of time from that aspect. But it also reflects the writer. Some writers of today seem less progressive than some writers of the 50s.

I think that comics are mostly troublesome in that they tend to to talk the talk rather than walk the walk. If you read the comic, the speech bubbles say everyone is equal, but look at the distribution of female vs male protagonists, female writers vs male writers, female-led movies vs male-led movies etc and you wouldn’t think we ever left the 50s. There are always arguments for why that is the case, but ultimately this has been a bed of the industry’s own making and a heritage it carries with them. 80 years of male first comics and movies has created a bit of an inbred target audience that is reluctant to change. There is seriously a vocal part who calls social justice every time a female-led movie is in the making because they feel that they’ve been robbed of another Superman or Batman movie.

So, in my opinion, the “depiction” is getting better, but the industry itself is a bit of a cesspool that I don’t see reaching anything remotely looking like equality in the nearest decade. There is too much money in the status quo to reshape their customer base which might take generations.


Thank you for pointing that out! Like I said, this is not my opinion these are some questions I was sharing to kinda gage the communities opinions on this topic.

Steve Trevor, the American spy, is actually one of my examples I am using because you’re right. During the Golden Age when Marston created WW, Trevor was the “damsel in distress” who always was saved by his superhero love interest. And there is even a scene from the recent WW movie where we see Trevor is objectified!!

Great point thank you for emphasizing that perspective!


I agree completely!! The time and culture of the writer/reader etc. are all influencing factors to depiction and important to consider.

I really like your talk the talk rather than walk the walk example, your explanation makes so much sense. Wow you nailed that. Thank you so much for sharing and enlightening the community.

I appreciate your honest and just opinion because I see where you are coming from and I personally agree myself. The industry can only change so much so fast especially as they are a reflection of our society. Thank you for sharing!!!


But that is true of media at large. However it’s worth pointing out that CW DC series we have as many, if not more, especially with Stargirl on the horizon where the primary superhero lead is female. (Supergirl, Batwoman, LOT & Stargirl, vs Flash and Black Lightning). The latter having the other two super powered heroes both being female.


Yes CW has done a stellar job. I would be interested in how they managed to do what the rest of the comics industry is unable to do. Did they just decide to do it and the audience was there - it just worked, or did they work hard with advertising to pull a new customer base. Their success with female led comics series is sort of killing the age old argument of female comics don’t sell and is frankly painting the rest of the industry into a corner.


Times change

I recently reread
Silver Age Green Lantern
Carol Ferris
Even though she is the chief executive
Of a major aircraft carrier
She is portrayed as
Only wanting to
Marry Green Lantern
About whom she knows little

In DC the New Frontier
With the same job
She is the executive
Selected by the United States government
To manage
The Mission to.Mars project.


I love this example! I haven’t read much of the Silver Age Green Lantern but that is so interesting to note. I will have to look into that comparison so I can use it as a supporting example for changes over time.

Thank you so much for sharing this!!


I think it’s more understanding their demographic. While they have made strides to hit roughly a 50/50 split, male/female viewership. They know what brought them back and is still their most loyal core demographic…females under 35.

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