Thursday, 28 November 2013


Hello all

So this week is Book Week Scotland 2013.  There are lots of things going on (mainly in cities from what I can gather), check out their website here for more info.  How do I know about this?  Well, they're promoting it with one of those personality test things on Facebook - you answer a load of questions and it tells you which literary character you are.  There's a link to it from their webpage if you fancy a go (and if you do, let me know who you get).

Who did I get?  Batgirl from Batman.  Let's gloss over the concept of Batgirl as a literary character.  She's in books, she's a character.  It'll do.  

It is nice to be a superhero (and I had always suspected as much - Supergirl is called Kara, you know), but why are women superheroes so incredibly lame?

Why are they generally called somethinggirl, instead of woman?  Male superheroes are only called boy when they are actually boys, or they're being shown to be a bit pathetic.  So I guess women supers are generally seen as a bit pathetic.

What is she wearing?  It's not just batgirl.  Women superheroes, and indeed action characters do seem to have a penchant for clothes that wouldn't be much use down Tesco's, never mind for kicking baddie butt.  There are lots more women characters in superhero comics than make it to the big screen (like Captain Marvel - leader of the Avengers), but they do tend to wear silly outfits.  Not that the men don't, and thank goodness for that.  Chris Hemsworth doesn't do all that work on his body to be kept in a tracksuit.  There just seems to be a lot more fabric in the men's outfits for the most part.  I say fabric, I'm including textiles, leather, and metal in that.

There are notable exceptions among action heroes.  Sigourney Weaver's Ripley was rather fabulous, and wore clothes that real women might have in their wardrobes.  Catniss Everdene is, it is stressed, a real woman, who dresses practically (unless she's wearing a flaming cloak), but when it comes to supers they are few and far between.

Claire Bennet.  Yawn. pic from here
I think things have got better, with supers in TV series' - if you see them again and again they can't really get away with wearing silly outfits.  But still there are problems.  Did Heroes really need to "save the Cheerleader, save the world?"  I mean, if Claire Bennet had really wanted to avoid being seen to magically recover from injuries, wouldn't she have been the school librarian, rather than a cheerleader.  And did she really have to be so incredibly hopeless at saving herself?

I'm a big fan of Misfits.  If you haven't watched it, you totally should.  But don't let kids watch it.  They all wear orange jumpsuits, most of the time.  They all have super-powers (apart from the one who is someone else's superpower), and the one with the silliest superpower, and who is constantly posited as the sexy one.  That'd be a bloke.  Thank you for making me laugh a lot, Misfits.

To conclude, thanks, Scottish Books Week, for saying I'm a superhero, but if I am one, I don't want to be batgirl, thanks.  I've been thinking about it, and I'd like the character of Lauren Sorcha's Kelly (from Misfits - really, you should watch it), the strength and speed of Wonder Woman, and the sex life of Anna Paquin's Sookie (from True Blood).  Well, it's not going to happen is it?

Lauren Sorcha as Kelly.  pic from here

Sookie and Eric.  pic from here
By the way, what makes a superhero a superhero?  I am generally using it to mean someone with super powers, but in that case Batman and Ironman share the super power of lots and lots of money, and Batgirl?  To be honest I have no idea, but I'm guessing her super power might be her ability to fit into that outfit.  Which is quite impressive, so 7of9 should go on the list too.

So, if you were a superhero, which one would you be?  And why?  You're allowed a mash up.

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