Explicitly, thematically and in subtext, the pilot episode of the CBS network’s primetime show Supergirl aims to drive a kryptonite dagger into the heart of feminism. And then, twist the blade.
While another new CBS show, Limitless, is quite subtle about portraying men’s family relationships in a respectful and caring light, and dismisses feminist innovations like sexual harassment training as meaningless business annoyances, Supergirl has a big “fuck you” to feminists in almost every scene.
The positive vision of men in Limitless makes you feel better about being a man, regardless of what your flaws are – I like it a lot in a quiet way. If you are an MRA familiar with the work of Karen Straughan (GirlWritesWhat) or any other FeMRA Supergirl will have you cheering.
It starts with the name: teenager Kara Zor-El (played as an adult by Melissa Benoist), the cousin of Superman, was sent to Earth to be a caregiver to him as an infant. Supergirl cares for children! It is, in fact, her only mission objective.
Although she insists her first name is pronounced like Car-Eh, her boss Cat Grant (played with Thatcher-esque snark by actress Calista Flockhart) pronounces it “Care-ah,” as if to underline the caring, traditionally feminine nature of Supergirl.
When Cat coins the name “Supergirl” for the new hero in “National City” (leaving Metropolis to Superman), Kara objects that the term “girl” is anti-feminist, Cat turns in a cold rage to give her the dressing-down of her life:
Cat: Didn’t you say she was a hero? I’m the hero. I stuck a label on the side of this girl, I branded her. She will forever be linked to Catco, to the Tribune, to me. And what do you think is so bad about “Girl”? Huh? I’m a girl. And your boss, and powerful, and rich, and hot and smart. So if you perceive “Supergirl” as anything less than excellent, isn’t the real problem you? And if you’re so smart, Kara, could you please give me one reason why I shouldn’t fire you? [Emphasis added].
Label, brand, girl, boss, problem[atic]: somewhere, anti-feminist Maggie The Thatch is smiling. Cat got to the CEO chair without smashing any patriarchy or glass ceiling; she claims the title of strong GIRL and gives zero credit to feminism – she even stomps all over their code words. You go, grrl!
Indeed, Kara has lived in a feminist “safe space” since she arrived on Earth far too late to nursemaid Kal-El. The pilot opens with her decision to grow up, take responsibility, and explode out of her safe space and engage the world as an adult – something feminists are loath to do.
In an interview with Stephen Colbert, actress Melissa Benoist claimed that Supergirl was feminist because she was “for everyone.” Only the most newb, naïve feminists actually believe that: feminism is about advancing women as a class, not helping men get equality with women. Feminists eschew helping men or even individual women. Kara is depicted as boy-crazy and obsessed with clothes and dating apps. As a superhero she will help anyone in trouble, not just women. Feminists have to be screaming with agony at what a girl she is.
When it comes to her superhero costume, Kara rejects the skin-baring outfit of feminist icon Wonder Woman so beloved by feminist slut-walkers. After several misfires she hits the balance point between radfem dowdy and 3rd wave slutty, implicitly rejecting identifying with either group.
The only sop to Social Justice Warriors at all is the character of Jimmy Olsen, who has left his Norwegian ancestry behind and is now “James Olsen,” (Mehcad Brooks) token black dude. I suppose I should object that Olsen has appropriated African-American culture – or did an African-American character appropriate a name from Norwegian culture? – but the character is played as such a strong, smart, and solid male image that I like the character regardless of all that other crap. Of course, changing a major character’s skin color is an SJW trap: you’re racist if you don’t have any African-Americans in the cast, but if you include African-Americans, you’ve committed the crime of cultural appropriation, and you’re still racist. Since you lose either way, it is better to stop trying to please SJWs and just tell them to GTFO.
There is one clearly feminist character: the leader of the bad guy Kryptonians opposed to Supergirl is a woman who craves power and hates families – she thinks nothing about killing her own blood relatives if they get in her way. It is hard to get any more feminist than that without having a standing open appointment at an abortion clinic.
It is hard to project the future of this show – will they fall into a feminist morass and die like the original Supergirl with Helen Slater did 30 years ago? (Helen Slater plays Supergirl’s adoptive mom in the new show – one more caregiver anti-feminist).
The pilot closes with one last costume adjustment – Supergirl’s cape is fashioned from Superman’s baby blanket. Once more, Superman saves the day – as a baby.
Use that for a chew toy, feminists.