Annabel loves My Little Pony and princesses, but she’s also crazy about superheroes. She often watches those Amazing Annabel movies we made with her when she was little, and pretends that she’s the Amazing Annabel around the house. When it comes to superheroes, though, her favorites are the old standbys from the D.C. and Marvel comic books.
Annabel is especially crazy about Spiderman, which is only partially because of the encouragement of Mike who is a huge Spiderman fan — he’s such a fan, in fact, that he even took us to see that ill-fated Spiderman musical years ago in New York! Annabel has taught herself to “climb walls like Spiderman” (by shimmying up the door frames), and loves to play-act getting bit by a radioactive spider and then realizing she has spider powers. She even has a Spiderman dress. This is all super cute, but there was a moment when she asked why there isn’t a Spidergirl. Mike told her there is a Spiderwoman, but when Annabel asked if she could watch that movie he had to tell her they hadn’t made one about her.
It’s the year 2015 and while there have been some past efforts to make cool female heroes, it’s clear Annabel doesn’t see it that way. She asked why there are no girl Avengers, and when we told her there was one (just one), she made a face. I always feel like I have to make excuses for why girls aren’t included in the superhero world as much. It’s hard to explain why there aren’t any Spiderwoman movies, when there are a bunch about Spiderman.
I’m hopeful about this new Supergirl TV show coming out. Yesterday Annabel saw a commercial for it and she just about lost her mind with excitement. I have no idea if it’s going to be any good, and Common Sense Media has an age guideline of 11+ (so I’m definitely going to have to watch it by myself first), but the fact there’s a primetime show about a superhero who is a girl (as opposed to a show where there’s a token female superhero among the sea of male superheroes) is exciting news in our house.
Things are getting better for girls, image-wise. It’s pretty cool, for example, to be able to show our kids there are two women running for President (even if they are still the minority among the candidates), and there’s a woman calling playoff baseball games on TV. Hopefully Supergirl proves to be an awesome superhero role model (and also a good TV show…most of the cast looks promising). If not, I’m already counting the days until I can introduce her to Buffy.
Actually, there is a Spider-Girl! And a bunch of other lady-spiders in the current Marvel comic book universe. Although, yeah, not in the movies yet. Maybe when Annabel is older (as Spider-Woman is Captain Marvel’s BFF and there will be a Captain Marvel film in 2019. Too far away, but.)
The Marvel universe actually is doing better with having lots of ladies in its TV shows–Agents of SHIELD’s main character is a female hero, plus there are three amazing ladies on the team; Agent Carter is headed by our hero and savior Peggy Carter–but they are probably a little too mature for her to get into. I think the Amazing Spider-Man cartoon has White Tiger, though, and she is pretty awesome.
Superiors are coming a long way in terms of female representation, especially in the comics. They are just not jumping to the screen fast enough, and not in a way that is age appropriate for little girls. Because although the powers that be recognize that adult women like their heroes, they still believe that little girls only like princesses.
Which, in a word: boooooooooooo.
Also, sorry for the typos, my iPad autocorrects to weird weird words.
Dark Angel was also a good series – For when she is older
Is she interested in reading physical comics? Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is pretty fun and should be age appropriate!
She will be, once she can read better! Right now reading a comic would be a little too difficult for her!
I don’t know if you’ve seen this yet, but this may be right up Annie’s alley.
And I just found the DC Super Hero Girls website, too.
This (& related Facebook page) is a great resource: http://www.amightygirl.com
I so enjoy reading your blog, Heather!
Check out SpiderMabel….it was a Children’s Wish Foundation wish come true for a young girl in Edmonton, AB, Canada. There’s lots of videos about how she saved the Edmonton Oiler captain. Your little Spidergirl might like to see what SpiderMabel did!
I don’t even have kids yet and I can’t wait to introduce them to Buffy! That show was the best, and the older I get, the more I get out of it.
Here’s a young woman superhero Annabel might like. She’s an Avenger and fairly new – still only in comics. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ms._Marvel_(Kamala_Khan)
Also there are several female X-Men: Kitty Pryde (Joss Whedon’s favourite character on whom he based Buffy), Jean Grey, Storm and of course Mystique.
“The Princess in Black” and the “Ladybug girl” series are pretty good. Not too tough to read.
Have you considered introducing her to anime shows? When I was in elementary school I used to watch Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura. A lot of the shoujo shows aimed at young girls feature female-centric casts with plenty of super powers. It definitely filled a niche for me when I was growing up. Annie is probably too young for Sailor Moon, but Cardcaptor Sakura might be a good fit. Plus, there are great Miyazaki films she’d likely enjoy (Spirited Away, Ponyo).
On a superhero note, DC Super Hero Girls is coming soon! And Miraculous Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir is coming to the US in December.
While the movies/TV shows are still playing catch up on the girl front, maybe consider getting Annie some comic books to read? They are fast getting a LOT better gender wise. Some I can highly recommend from the last couple of years are Ms. Marvel (female superhero and Muslim) as well as Lumberjanes (which is about a group of girls at a magical summer camp basically). There is also Lady Thor now although that might have to wait until Annie is a bit older as there are some pretty brutal bits in it
And of course there are the Amazing Spider-Girl comics!
We haven’t found any comics that are at her level yet, but that is definitely going to be something we show her once she’s ready!!
At the risk of underscoring my advancing age, can I ask if Annabel ever watched any of the original Batman shows from the 60’s? SOOOO funny. Especially the famous “Bat Dance” episode. She would love them. So campy and fun. She would also most likely get a kick out of the original Batgirl with her motorcycle and flip hairdo. Not the most sociologically advance portrayal of heroines across genders, but innocent fun nevertheless.
My daughter loves the Super Hero Squad show, which my husband describes as “marvel soup”. It has Ms Marvel and the Scarlett Witch as main characters and would be great for Annie’s level.
She also likes teen titans go, which I think is for kids a little older. It has 2 girl super heroes working with Robin, Batman’s sidekick.
I’ve been meaning to write to you Heather. I saw a commercial the other day where they invited a bunch of Moms and daughters to see the first episode of Super Girl. It looked like there were definitely some girls there around Annie’s age. I know you will still want to preview it first but it does look like they are expecting younger girls to be watching so hopefully that bodes well for it being appropriate for them!