Hate to break it to you Jeb Bush, but Supergirl is not here for you to ogle. She's here to save the world. At the College of Southern Nevada on Wednesday, Bush said Supergirl was "pretty hot," when he was asked to name his favorite superhero. At first, he cited Batman, though he's "a little dark these days," and joked that he would want to buy Marvel as "someone that believes in capitalism." But the Republican presidential candidate didn't stop there — and he really, really should have. Instead, he decided to talk about CBS' new show Supergirl. "She looked kinda...she looked pretty hot," Bush said of actress Melissa Benoist. "I don't know which channel it's on, but I'm looking forward to that."
Even as the crowd chuckled at this less than presidential answer, Bush knew he had put his foot in his mouth: "That'll make news." And it did. Pretty much everyone had a take on his "hot" comment. Jezebel wrote "Jeb Bush Isn't Afraid to Speak the Truth: Supergirl Is 'Pretty Hot,'" while Slate noted "If America Wants a Leering Older Rich Guy For President, It Can Already Elect Trump." But it was Guardian columnist Jessica Valenti who perfectly highlighted why many would be totally creeped out by his answer: "Jeb Bush says Supergirl (who is 11 yrs younger than his daughter) is 'pretty hot.' Very presidential!"
Supergirl hasn't even premiered yet — that happens on Oct. 26 — and Kara Zor-El's appearance is already making news. Not that surprising, but it's not what the cast and crew were banking on. This Supergirl is intended to be powerful, not sexual. She's an empowering figure for women, and she dresses accordingly. Supergirl costume designer Colleen Atwood even told Vulture she made some necessary tweaks to her super suit for the remake, most of which had to do with keeping the suit functional.
Atwood built an undersuit to help keep Supergirl's cape in place while fighting. "The weight of the cape isn’t pulling the costume around on her body," she said, "so it balances a lot better for action scenes.” She added a pair of tights so that Supergirl's legs wouldn't be bare — though she makes it clear Benoist legs would look just fine without them. This is more about making sure she doesn't just look like she's wearing go-go boots.
Most importantly though, Atwood used a fabric called "Eurojersey" that "has a four-way-stretch quality, which is good for action," making it clear, this Supergirl will be getting into the action. She won't just be standing around looking pretty with her hands on her hips. And wearing the Supergirl suit made Benoist feel like a real superhero, as she told Extra."The first time I put the costume on, I definitely felt, like, this transformation — something inside of me clicked," she said. "It's kind of impossible not to feel strong and brave."
And that's what's so offensive about Bush's comment. This is a new female superhero for a new time. Women aren't interested in being the object of men's affectionate. We want to be our own hero, and this new take on Supergirl seems to get that. Early reviews of the show mention how feminist it seems. The New York Times even wrote the headline "‘Supergirl’ Leaps Tall Buildings While Leaning In" for its review.
And while some sites like The Mary Sue worry about the obligatory Kara-Jimmy Olsen-Lucy Lane love triangle that seems to be in Supergirl's future, people are much more excited to see how the show handles Kara's relationship with her foster sister Alex and her boss Cat Grant, played by Calista Flockhart. Women actually interacting with women on this show in ways that have nothing to do with men. That may be the reason Jeb Bush should watch — he may actually learn something.
Images: Warner Bros. Television; Bonnie Osborne/Warner Bros. Entertainment