DC Super Hero Girls Gives Female Super Heroes Teen Personas — Will They Offer Strong Role Models For Girls?
DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation, Warner Bros. Consumer Products, and Mattel will release a line of action figures, clothes, and TV centered around female super heroes during their teen years. The object of this initiative, according to a press release, is to create "an exciting new universe of Super Heroic storytelling that helps build character and confidence, and empowers girls to discover their true potential." Called DC Super Hero Girls, the stories will feature famous DC Comics characters like Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Batgirl as they are first discovering their super powers.
"I am so pleased that we are able to offer relatable and strong role models in a unique way, just for girls,” DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson said in the press release. Jill Pantozzi writes at The Mary Sue that this new line will encourage parents to buy girls traditional "boy" toys: "Many of us have no problem digesting super hero stuff 'for boys' but a lot of parents aren’t willing to buy their daughters items marketed toward boys."
But some commenters at The Mary Sue are less than thrilled. One called the characters "Barbies with capes," and they do appear to have Barbie-like proportions.
"It makes me apprehensive when marketing is specifically 'for girls', because there seem to be some misconceptions as to whether girls can prefer action and adventure to talking about boys and fashion," one commenter added. Another agreed: "It's also isolating super heroines as 'for girls only' and super heroes 'for boys only,' because girls wouldn't like super-heroes and boys wouldn't like super-heroines."
Unfortunately, while it's not unheard of for girls to play with action figures, it seems unlikely that boys will pick up a bunch of women super hero figurines. But maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised. These are, after all, central characters in many classic comics.
And hey, at least their poses in the pictures look like fairly reasonable positions for exerting their super powers, as opposed to all these crazy images of female super heroes strategically positioned to show off their, um, assets.
Given this line's target demographic of girls ages 6 to 12, we can only sincerely hope that it does not stoop to sexualization. And for the parents out there, maybe buying these toys for your sons can teach them a thing or two about acknowledging powerful women.