I really, really wanted to write about another topic in this post, but it’s a somewhat complex topic that can wait for another day. But I will be able here to clear out a couple of bookmarks related to..
Yep, Supergirl! I must be upfront that although I will watch an episode or two of a comic book-inspired show or motion picture on television, I don’t make a regular habit of tuning in, Supergirl included. (Note to self: It’s good to diversify your TV habits away from all sports all the time.) Part of the reason is that I’m preoccupied by other adult things, sorry. However, I must single out Supergirl for the route it has taken in its second and current season, with episodes obliquely or downright directly tackling real life issues we mortal earthlings are currently facing. Earlier this month, Supergirl aired an episode that had vividly clear and unadulterated parallels to the real life issue of welcoming and tolerating immigrants in the United States. And back in November — right after You Know Who was elected You Know What — one of the show’s significant characters, Alex Danvers (AKA the adoptive sister of Kara/Supergirl), disclosed her attraction for another woman in an episode that was a real pick-me-up from a distressing and horribly impacting election.
I’ll circle back around to the uplifting part in a bit, but as is often the case, the plot development of Alex coming out and developing a romantic relationship with another woman (police detective Maggie Sawyer, for the record) has been met with some criticism of Supergirl. Such was the case on Twitter, where someone who stated she regularly watched the show with her daughters asked Supergirl‘s producers to “tone down the homosexual messages.” Needless to say, said mother didn’t want to explain how two people of the same gender can fall in love. As reported here, that request was responded to by a great retort on Supergirl‘s official Twitter account. “Good,” the tweet stated, “explain to them that love is love and it’s beautiful no matter where you find it and who you find it with.” I thought that was a great response from the show. Indeed, love between two people is just that: Love. And has been basically been demonstrated between Alex and Maggie, love can be a beautiful thing regardless of the couple’s gender.
What was better than that, however, was learning about how Alex coming out really uplifted a fan of the show. As reported in this story from last December, an Indiana comic book shop employee, who is an open lesbian, went on Twitter and typed up one totally awesome thread, which that same link has in its entirety. The employee’s name is Mary, and she talked about a girl who came into her shop looking for anything Supergirl, which she said had become her favorite, as it was for Mary. Mary talked about loving Alex and her coming out storyline… and that’s when the customer broke down crying. It was then that the customer disclosed that she was queer and closeted… and had considered ending her life… until she watched Alex come out on Supergirl. It was then that she realized that, yes, it is indeed possible to be queer and be happy and amazing, not unlike Alex Danvers. With that, Mary recommended a quartet of comic book titles with gay themes. The customer bought just one, Batwoman, as she had enough money on her for only one.. but took home all four after Mary used her own money to buy the other three for her.
Now, as I said above, I don’t get into the comic book world very much. But with stories such as the one Mary shared, I will never deny that a show such as Supergirl can have true power over fans, and can also serve as an inspiration to stay strong and stay your true self, whether you’re man or woman, queer or straight. Yes, positive portrayals such as Alex and her coming out can literally be lifesaving.
Needless to say, Mary’s story and the gratitude she gave to Supergirl‘s cast and crew did not go unnoticed around the show’s Vancouver sound stages. Want proof? Look further down that same article and you’ll notice Alex Danvers herself, Chyler Leigh, reciprocate Mary’s gratitude with her own words of gratitude and a share to the rest of the Twitterverse.
But what about the title character, you say? Let me start this next section thusly: When I was a kid and came across a story such as Superman’s being depicted on Saturday morning cartoons or wherever, it seemed that Superman was treated as the man’s true identity, with “Clark Kent” being just an alias he hid behind when the need came up (hence my use of quote marks there). But that was during a time when superhero stories were depicted with much more shades of black and white. Nowadays, the script is flipped: The compound name (and the lycra suit that goes with it is) the alias; the real person wearing them has a real first and last name, deals with real human emotions, and can be as mortal as those he or she is trying to protect. Such is the case with Supergirl: Kara Danvers may be a “strange visitor from another planet,” but she is as human as anyone else. She is realizing the person she is and how she can use the powers she possesses, even if some of those powers are beyond any mortal’s comprehension.
It mustn’t be denied, either, that Supergirl can be considered a strong, three-dimensional depiction of a female lead figure. Yeah, Kara’s the product of comic book lore; still, though, she’s using her talents not to improve her love life but for things far more important — namely, saving the world and standing up for those in distress. At a time when we still don’t have a woman president here in the United States… and our current government is populated with and supported by misogynistic men who hold women in low regard… and the current First Lady appears to be nothing more than a bird in a gilded 50-story-high cage, content to be in the lap of luxury her husband “created”… and every girl of every age needs a female role model they can look up to, the story of a strong woman coming into her own and taking a stand can be more important than ever.
And an important stand was made on January 21, and at this point I want to share one more bookmarked link. January 21, if you recall, was when millions of people, women and otherwise, took part in various Women’s Marches, not only here in Madison and in Washington but around the country and around the world. And among the crowd at one of those marches was… Supergirl herself! Yes, Supergirl! Who can change the course of mighty rivers just like her manly cousin! Bend steel with her own bare hands, thank you very much! And who, disguised in her everyday identity as the actress Melissa Benoist, delivered a pointed (and, in some circles, not safe for work) message for You Know Who and his expressed proclivity to grab women in the you know where.
I learned about Melissa Benoist’s sign through this TVLine article (check it out, for she was far from the only famous person to march that Saturday), and am embedding the picture from her very own official Instagram account down below. Yeah, you better treat her and the other women of the world with respect; they are stronger than you can ever imagine… and while not all may be able to fly in a single bound, they all possess superpowers that are real… and spectacular. (Sorry, wrong show.)