Young Adult Author Ellen Oh Beautifully Explains Why We Need More Female Superheroes
You ever wake up, check your Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr/whatever, and then immediately do a face-palm when you remember it's 2013 and the world is still full of blatantly sexist pricks and unequal representations of women? Oh, every day? Us, too! Author Ellen Oh seems to experience this tiring occurrence, as well, as Oh recently wrote an essay for Hypable outlining the continuing pitfalls of patriarchy, the benefits of girl heroes, and how Legend of Korra is exactly what feminism needs.
With the success of The Heat this past summer, and the past successes of films like Bridesmaids and The Hunger Games, more and more people are getting with the supremely obvious picture that women-led projects can draw just as much, if not bucket loads more success than the never-ending line of films, TV, and books with men at their center.
And yet, when Prophesy author Ellen Oh was doing a presentation at a school recently, a little boy still shouted “Girls can’t be superheroes!" When pressed as to why, he responded with a "Because they aren’t strong enough," and then a, “Well, who cares? Girls are boring.”
“Oh,” I said. “So The Hunger Games is boring?” Immediately, the entire room shouted “No.” “What about The Legend of Korra?” I asked. The room exploded with excitement. Everyone loved Korra. Even the boy reluctantly agreed. “Ok, then,” I said. “So girl heroes are interesting, right?” While the entire room was in loud and vigorous agreement, the boy was determined to have the last word. “Yeah but, there aren’t a lot of them, are there?” I nodded. “You’re right, but isn’t it time to change that?”
The dearth of diverse, quality representation of girls and women characters in stories is a long-running battleground of an issue, especially when it comes to stories focusing around heroism. We spent a little time yesterday admiring Sleepy Hollow 's Abbie Mills as a more recent role that follows in the footsteps of the Buffys and the Xenas of the past and stakes a claim on women's rightful place on television.
Looking at the kids in front of her, Oh reflected on the much-beloved Nickelodeon show Legends of Korra as another. It's also one particularly invested in the portrayal of boys and girls as equal.
Like the Last Airbender series before it, The Legend of Korra is set in a world where girls are equal to boys in every way. ... Shows like The Legend of Korra makes the television landscape a better place. ... Because not only is Korra a female lead character, but she is also a person of color. ... I live for the day when the rest of our television and film industry will break free of their sexist views and produce more programs and films that celebrate girl power in all of its various forms.