Role models are important to shape our personalities when we’re growing up. Having someone to look up to, even if it’s a fictional comic book character, helps us envision the future we’d like to build.
Fortunately, unlike other more conventional publications, comic books have proven over time that superheroes come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. And, most importantly to remind us these days, gender has very little to do with the scope of their superpowers and abilities.
To celebrate the diversity and inclusion in comics, take a look at the fantastic female superheroes who inspire us. There’s more to this Universe than female spin-offs of popular male superheroes.
Wonder Woman, the Ultimate Feminist Icon
One of the most complex comic book characters, Wonder Woman usually comes to mind as the first symbol when we think of feminism. Recently Greg Rucka, the current Wonder Woman DC author, has publicly confirmed that the female superhero is queer. In the light of female superheroes as role models, this is a major breakthrough.
Storm, the First Major Female Hero of Color
As the first major female hero of color in the Marvel universe, Storm would leave quite an impression as one of the X-Men mutants. She first became a mentor to her fellow mutant colleagues and later served as Headmistress of Xavier’s school. It only shows that certain job skills and abilities have little to do with the color of your skin.
Black Widow, Major Kicking Butt Skills
The Marvel character Black Widow isn’t new, but her popularity spiked since Scarlett Johansson became her in-the-flesh in the Avengers franchise. It’s the backstory of the villain who turned hero that makes her relatable and, well, human. And, of course, it’s also pretty cool to see her onscreen kicking some butt alongside her Avengers’ male teammates. After all, girls can play hardball as much as boys can.
She-Hulk, Radioactive Levels of Girl Power
Few women can say they rock the “turning green with rage” look like She-Hulk. And, although the character might be seen as just a female spin-off of the other famous Marvel freakishly strong green guy, She-Hulk has a very strong personality of her own (no pun intended) and a successful career as a lawyer. You may have loved Deadpool’s fourth-wall-breaking sense of humor, but that’s not new. She-Hulk got there first.
Jessica Jones, the Realistic Hero
Jessica Jones’ life is, let’s say, complicated. After snapping out of an abusive relationship (if we can call it that) with mind-controlling villain Killgrave, Jessica makes it her mission to destroy him. After completing her goal, she ends up as a superhero by chance. If you’ve watched the Netflix series, you’ll remember the character as snappy, very impatient, but with a kind heart and a dry and sarcastic sense of humor. She’s basically the antithesis of the all-accepting, always cheerful, girl-next-door archetype.
Scarlet Witch, Villain Turned Hero
If you remember the Scarlet Witch’s first appearance from the movie Avengers: Age of Ultron, you were probably secretly rooting for her to have a soft spot. If you were familiar with the character from the comic books, then you knew a bit more about her background as a former super villain. Stan Lee called her a “reluctant villain” for siding with Magneto over gratitude for him saving her from an angry mob.
Katniss Everdeen, Changing the Game
If there is one thing that Katniss Everdeen has taught us, it is that the rules of the game can be changed. The main character of the trilogy The Hunger Games steps in to save her younger sister from what could have been a very unhappy ending. In the process, she develops a very useful set of skills that makes her win the game without the aid of superpowers.
Having Jennifer Lawrence play this character in the movies has been the reason the character is even more likable, mixing the ordinary-girl vibe with the extraordinary circumstances that made her a superhero.
Misty Knight, Power Woman in the Quest for Justice
Netflix’s Luke Cage is the hit television series of the moment, and Misty Knight is among some of the other power characters of the show. She started as a supporting character in the comic books, but the kung-fu-fighting, bionic-armed, former female NYPD detective eventually gets to play a central role of her own.
Misty Knight is one of Marvel’s heroes for hire, and the no-BS attitude not only matches her skills but shows us how well women can take care of themselves.
Supergirl, Defying Gender Stereotypes
If you thought that girls had to pick a side between being girly girls or super confident forces of nature, Supergirl came to show you that girls don’t always fit in one box. Frankly, it’s not an easy balance to achieve, between those two seemingly opposing poles, and women can relate to it. That’s what makes Supergirl such a down-to-earth character.