Tag Archives: Agent Carter

Strong Female Heroines and Why They’re Awesome

I’m the new blogger for the Geeky Mormon.  My name is Elizabeth but you may call me Lizy. I will answer to Liz.  Some people are picky about being classified as either a geek or a nerd, but I will answer to either.

Female characters, especially strong ones, are definitely a reason that I enjoy sci-fi and fantasy.  I don’t mind identifying myself with the girl who needs to get rescued, but I have always been interested in heroines who take care of themselves, fight their own battles alongside the boys, and sometimes even get to do a bit of the rescuing.  The heroines who really catch my attention are a little of both. Below are just some of my observations and thoughts on what makes a strong female heroine, based on about a year’s worth of writing, research, and observation.

The point of fantasy is that you can identify with the character in some way and because of that experience what the character is going through.The first Marvel movie I ever saw and enjoyed was Captain America: The First Avenger.  While I primarily liked the film because I could relate to the underdog Steve Rogers, I was in awe of Agent Peggy Carter.  She was smart, beautiful and absolutely fearless. She took absolutely no nonsense from any of the other guys, but she not only liked Steve but she believed in him.  (As a side note, I have not been able to watch the Agent Carter TV show yet but I want to very badly). That is the kind of person I felt like I could emulate.

Is it too much to say that I think Agent Carter is the reason I'm a Marvel fan?  Via boingboing.net

Is it too much to say that I think Agent Carter is the reason I’m a Marvel fan?
Via boingboing.net

Sometimes I am less interested in the female leads and more in the fantasy elements or the story.  But that being said I am still excited for Captain Marvel, because we will get all of that and a female lead too.

One of the first Star Wars characters I loved was Queen Amidala.  As a little girl I loved her wardrobe in The Phantom Menace and I spent many happy hours pouring over the pictures of her dresses in the visual dictionary.  And in addition to that, she fought for the freedom of her people. When I got older, I discovered the original trilogy.  I liked Princess Leia a lot, and I still like her a lot.  She didn’t have the visual glitter of the Queen, but she spoke her mind and carried a blaster. I wanted to be tough like that when I was a kid.  It was when I was older that I came to appreciate her tender side as well.

This is one of my first real heroines Via digitalspy.co.uk

This is one of my first real heroines
Via digitalspy.co.uk

Years later, I found out that a lot of people didn’t like Padme Amidala because it was clearly a bad idea for her to pursue a relationship with Anakin Skywalker, and then it didn’t make sense for her to die in Revenge of the Sith. I liked Padme too much as a character to let these things get in the way of liking her.  But I have thought about these issues a lot.  People don’t like having to identify with female characters who make decisions differently from the way they would, especially when it comes to love.  But Padme’s failure, to me, makes her all the more human and relatable.  As far as Anakin is concerned, she had a fatal blind spot, but his decisions were not her fault.  And when a heroine fails, sometimes something good comes out of it.  Usually this means she is able to get up again and confront the problem, but in Padme’s case it meant that her love for Anakin lived on through Luke.

And then there are the people who think falling in love is absolutely demeaning for a female character to experience.  I could not disagree with this more. If the love story is relevant to the plot and it strengthens both characters, then it can be a good thing. It is natural and human to fall in love. In all honesty, I was not thrilled that Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow tried to pursue a romance with Bruce Banner/the Hulk in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. But the online backlash against the love plot was ridiculous. I do not think that having Natasha fall in love was completely demeaning. I make missteps in my love life too sometimes. And it made sense in context of the larger theme that Joss Whedon was trying to get across.

The fact that Natasha was sterilized in the Red Room is a symptom of her much bigger problem: she was created to be an assassin in both mind and body, to the exclusion of all else. She has her worst fears, and she has a dark side I can scarcely begin to imagine. What makes her more interesting is the way she copes with her darkness, by being the auntie to Clint Barton’s kids, by being compassionate to people in need, by protecting those who are weaker than herself, and by relying on her quiet, inner strength.  I like Natasha a lot more now than I did three years ago. And while I’m upset about her pursuing Bruce I can at least forgive her for that.  What matters is that he is a well-rounded character.

Via theworkprint.com

I like Natasha because she has a very human side. Via theworkprint.com

The matter of the strong female heroine is only an issue of gender to a point: it is about the development of character and how that influences how gender is represented.  This is important because the media has a huge influence on individuals as well as cultures.  But all heroines are not alike and should not be expected to conform to some invisible standard. We can allow our heroines to be human just as much as the men.  Isn’t that what makes these stories great, by seeing the characters we sympathize with have human experiences?

Read More:

A Fandom of Her Own: Women of Today’s Sci-fi/Fantasy Franchises (Capstone paper)

Women of Science Fiction and Fantasy : Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 Panel

The Strong Feminism behind Black Widow, and why the critiques don’t stand up by Alyssa Rosenburg for the Washington Post

 

Marvel vs. DC: Small Screen Edition

Fall is just around the corner.  Ok, for all intents and purposes, it’s here.  That means that new TV is on the air, and right now, geeky TV is all the rage.  A big portion of this new geeky TV is a bunch of shows based on material from comics, mostly superheroes.  The two big comics publishers are presenting quite a bit of new material this fall, and a lot of it looks pretty good.  While Marvel seems to own the summer box office, the small screen seems to be up for grabs. Here are the offerings from each company for the Fall:

DC

Arrow

ol

This may be the best superhero themed show ever.  Notice what I wrote there.  Not just going on right now, or in recent memory, but EVER.  It is well written, well acted and well produced.  When this show premiered a couple of years ago, it took me a couple of weeks to really get into it, but once I was in, I was in.  I like the Oliver Queen/Green Arrow character.  He’s like a grittier, somehow darker version of Batman.  Plus, even though he’s filthy rich, like Bruce Wayne, he seems more relatable.  Plus, the growing supporting cast is pretty good too.  This has a lot going for it, and as it continues to succeed, more money will go into it and it will only get better.  Plus, Ra’s al Ghul. This is worth checking out for sure, and until I see something better, this is the champ of the comic book shows.  Arrow: Season 3 premieres on the CW on October 8.

The Flash

flash12f-1-web

Want to know if a show is doing well?  One clue is if the studio behind it decides to make a spinoff.  Enter The Flash, featuring a Barry Allen that we meet for the first time in Arrow during Season 2.  This is the second full on super hero show that DC is bringing to the masses on the CW.  It looks to be of the same quality as Arrow, so let’s hope it holds up, and maybe there are more shows coming down the pipe for us, based on more characters in the DC multiverse.  The Flash is about a guy, Barry Allen who gets struck by lightning near some chemicals and this gives him super powers, as he becomes “the fastest man alive.”  I love the Flash character in the comics.  He was always upbeat, positive, a genuinely good guy, and I think this Barry Allen looks the part.  Another interesting thing is that the show introduces us to the term metahuman, which is the DC version of people with super powers. I am excited to see where this new series takes us, and I hope it does well.  The Flash also premieres on the CW on October 8.

Gotham

GOTH_Publicity_003_V7_RR_FF

Gotham brings us the story of Gotham City and James Gordon before Batman.  It gives us a glimpse of life in the city before Bruce Wayne grew up.  It seems like we are going to get the back stories of some pretty nasty characters and see what life was like for a young Bruce Wayne just after his parents were murdered.  From all of that, I feel like this is basically giving Batman the Smallville treatment.  However, this has been getting rave reviews from critics, and geeks everywhere are anxiously anticipating the premiere of this series.  One major difference between this show and Arrow and the Flash: Don’t expect to see the Dark Knight in costume, similar to what we saw with Smallville.  The show still looks interesting, with plenty of very disturbing and fascinating supporting characters in the Batman universe.  Gotham premieres Monday, September 22 on Fox.

Marvel

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

MARVEL'S AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

Agents returns for round 2.  This was a runaway hit last year for Marvel.  Many people wondered how fans would respond when Marvel tried to bring their big screen world to the small screen, and people loved it.  Of course, most of the season was partially building up to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, helping people to get excited for the new film.  In return, the film rewarded the show by destroying the titular organization, S.H.I.E.L.D.  I imagine that this season will deal with how these agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. go on in a post-S.H.I.E.L.D. world.  The biggest draw for this show is the connection to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  It builds on that hype, but really delivers little in the way of actual super powered people.  Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2 premieres on Tuesday, September 23.

Agent Carter

agent-carter-tv-show

Agent Carter from Captain America will also be getting her own series this fall.  Late this fall.  No trailer on this one, and not a lot of information, except that this series will follow the adventures of Agent Carter and Howard Stark.  Fans have been excited about this idea for a while now, so there is a lot of buzz.  The series, though, will not be starting with the rest of the fall bunch of shows.  Instead, it will be premiering during Agents of SHIELD’s mid year break.

Lots to look forward to from the big comics studios.  In addition to the shows listed here, DC’s Constantine will be premiering on NBC this fall, and the productions for Marvel’s NetFlix shows are moving forward.  IT’s too bad that we have to wait for Daredevil and Ironfist on Netflix before we get a Marvel show about actual super heroes.

What do you think?  What are some of the shows you are looking forward to this fall?  Share your thoughts in the comments.