So, I read this article discussing female superheros and the Mary Sue character trope. Now, while I do agree with a lot of what the author is saying — there needs to be strong female superhero characters who are over-the-top as much as the men are — I have always wondered not so much why we need someone we can identify with by color and/or gender and/or religion and/or sexual alignment and/or whatever, but why we can’t be inspired by someone who is not our color/gender/religion/sexual alignment/whatever.
Perhaps it is because I have been an odd duck all my life. And probably naive. There were no famous female astronauts before I wanted to be one. Carl Sagan inspired me with Cosmos, as did Nova. My father was an electrician, so I’d wanted to be an electrician. I went into industrial arts in middle and high school not because that was where the guys were, or I was being a rebel feminist (I’d no clue about the feminist movement, because I hated the news then as much as I hate it now.)
I loved all the technical things. Photography, silk screening, drafting, all of it. I wanted to become a photographer, an architect, or design t-shirts just so I could play with multiple colors. I never once thought, “I can’t go into this field because there are no women in it.” I wanted to do it because that was what I wanted to do, I admired the men who were in the field, but never felt that, because there were no women, I could not do it. I figured there were women who were not famous, like there were men who were not famous, or I would simply be the first one and I would be awesome.
Why are we so dependent on someone else being our role model? Why are we so ready to tell people they can’t want to be Superman because they are a girl or not Caucasian? Or there can’t be strong women superheros? If there is a void, and you feel passionately about it, fill it yourself, or support someone who is working to fill it.