Home > Uncategorized > Supergirl: A Bit of Light Amid the Dark — Why That’s Not a Bad Thing

Supergirl: A Bit of Light Amid the Dark — Why That’s Not a Bad Thing

So, the Supergirl trailer debuted yesterday, and the internet went bananas. It seems like there’s no middle ground – it’s either SQUEE or NOPE. I’m in the SQUEE camp, and here’s why: she’s layered and relatable. And she’s a charming badass. Let’s discuss.

The major complaint I’m seeing in that kind of a bumbling goofball, work-wise. But one thing I loved – that I related to – is the idea of working so hard to be normal (aka to fit in). Because I’ve done that. I’ve spent time trying to not rock the boat, to be less. And there’s usually some kind of impetus that shakes a person out of that. For Kara Zor-El, it’s her sister and an entire plane full of people being in danger.

In the pilot, Kara rescues a plane full of people. She flies. She kicks ass. And then has a goofy grin about it. Guys? If I were a superhero, THAT WOULD BE ME. Honestly, she reminds me a lot of Felicity on Arrow: smart, capable, and a badass. When push comes to shove, Felicity rises to challenges. Like Peggy Carter, she knows her own value. And so, when there’s a montage scene of Supergirl’s discarded outfits, I don’t see that as banal or twee. I see it as funny reference to all the crazypants outfits badass women have had to wear over the years – in comics and video games. I see it as a nod to the previous (and doomed) Supergirl pilot that never happened. And I see it as an evolution: she’s finding out how to be who she is. She’s figuring out how to express herself and be herself in a world that sometimes refuses to see strength in a girl who wears lipgloss. Or boots. Or heels.

As a woman, I express my personality through a lot of different things – one of them is how I dress and how I wear my makeup. We live in a world, unfortunately, when beauty is often prized over smarts – and where smarts and beauty are often seen as being mutually exclusive. But darlings, I can wear knee high boots and kick ass. Because while my clothing might indicate facets of my personality, they’re not the sum of who I am.

Yes, the show seems less dark than Arrow and Daredevil. But that doesn’t mean it’s less – less important, less awesome. And you know what? When Calista Flockheart gave her speech about the word “girl” and why it shouldn’t be seen as being a negative, I cheered. I love the word girl. I don’t see it as being an insult or a term that undervalues who I am as a woman. Girls are fierce.

There have been comparisons made to The Devil Wears Prada, and somehow, that’s been viewed as a negative. Devil has been labeled and chick flick and shoved in a corner. But a) chick flicks are not bad, and b) it’s really much more than that reductive assessment would imply. In that movie, the main character not only succeeds at her job (which she has no background in and a terrible boss to boot), but she’s strong enough to walk away from it. She’s self-aware and evolves. She learns and grows, constantly doing the impossible. There are worse movies to use a reference point. But I do want to mention one divergence: Cat Grant is not Miranda Priestly. Yes, Cat is blonde, imperious, and somewhat bitchy. But she also appears to be a feminist with a take-no-shit attitude. Um, yes please. More of that.

One final note on the tone of the show: it’s been criticized for its lightness. Apparently, superhero shows must all now by Daredevil-level dark. Um, no. For one thing, it’d be nice to a have a show that enjoys itself a bit. That is not all angst and drama, that has a bit of fun? A superhero who can stop a MAC truck AND make a joke? I’m on board for this. Light does not equal inferior. You can smile and still get shit done. Or are we now teaching women that the only way to be strong is to enshroud ourselves in misery?

Let me give you a point of comparison: The Flash. It is not all puppies and rainbows, but it is a much more lighthearted show than its counterpart, Arrow. Cisco’s humor is the best. Does his sense of humor and goofy smile automatically mark him as being somehow less capable? Do Barry Allen’s quips and mistakes render him anything less than amazing?

No, I think not. I think these are characters who are fleshed out and imperfect, who charge in for all the right reasons and sometimes hesitate for all the wrong ones. Barry often has crises of self-confidence, where he’s not sure what to do or if he CAN do something. He’s been encouraged and supported by those around him, and that’s not been seen as a negative. There is real potential in Supergirl for Kara to be amazing.

Remember in Smallville, it took Clark the ENTIRE series to SORT OF fly. It took him a long time to grow into his powers. Kara flies and rescues an entire plane in the pilot. To quote Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, bitches get stuff done.

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  1. May 14, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    Reblogged this on wanderingbarkhumanities and commented:
    So good. I can’t wait to watch now!

  2. ethneliane
    May 14, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    Hi! I was happy to read that there are people who, as me, enjoyed this First Look. I wasn’t really excited about the show to begin with, but now I am! My only cringe came, precisely, with Calista Flockhart’s speech. I didn’t like it. I didn’t *feel* it. Not because I don’t see her point, but because Kara wasn’t battling “Superman” vs “Supergirl”, she was asking “Why can’t I be seen as a grown up?”. It felt more as something I kept asking to myself up until a year ago (when I turned 25): I’m a career-oriented young woman, working hard in my line of job. Then why are people still seeing me as “that intern”, “she’s too young for that position”, “she can’t possibly be the web editor, she’s too young”? Then I realized I didn’t care, because my work speaks for myself. I feel like they were rocking different frequencies, so Cat’s speech didn’t get to me as the answer to what Kara was complaining about.
    Other than that, I can’t wait to watch!

  3. May 14, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Nowadays we need more Super girls.

  4. May 14, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    you know DC comics should be dark stuff and all, full of deep plotlines how this supergirl is, mayne no !!!!!!!!!!

  5. May 15, 2015 at 2:17 am

    Reblogged this on tribeprosocialsharing and commented:
    I Wish I am the Supergirl in the video 🙂

  6. May 18, 2015 at 12:52 am

    Reblogged this on Lady Socially Awkward.

  7. May 23, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    If the movie is anything like the trailer I’m a SQUEE + because (1) I’m tied of Superman and (2) Supergirl is normal enough to fit in anywhere…she also has a great look and I’m very into variety that goes against the everyday so-called norms of societies.

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