So, after missing my girl Fish Mooney, Supergirl was a breath of fresh air for me. She reminds me a lot of myself when I was a twenty something. Watching the show, I assumed her character was about 26 years old, and actress Melissa Benoit is 27. (As a side note, I did NOT realize that the actress was also Marley Rose from Glee, but that makes sense). This Supergirl figure embodies everything that society finds attractive in an American female because she's tall, thin, and blond with fair, clear skin and light blue eyes. But I can forgive them for that because that description also fits another female superhero favorite of mine, Buffy Summers; it's just interesting to notice, from my researcher's perspective. Personality wise, though, Supergirl is more unconventional just because she's so quirky, and I love that about her. Also, I think she's getting tougher and smarter as the show goes on, and I can't wait to continue to see her grow. And yes, I got a little teary-eyed in the episode I just watched because she was online chatting with her cousin Superman and thanked him for saving her life. He said you're welcome, but he promised not to do it again because he and her male crush (a tall, attractive Black man) now understand that she needs to be the one to save the day. She has something to prove, both to her cousin and to her Ally McBeal boss.
I am still learning about feminism, but I believe Kara a.k.a. Supergirl represents third wave feminism, and her boss represents second wave feminism. Her boss reminds me a lot of Hillary Clinton, only she's a bit younger (Calista Flockhart, the actress who played her, was born in 1964). Like my mother, Supergirl/Kara's boss Cat Grant has had to work very hard to make their way to the top, which makes sense because only so many women have been truly successful in journalism up to this point. Kara, though, proves that a woman can be both adorable and strong. When Cat's article about Supergirl criticizes both her and the Millennial generation for being without substance, Kara fights back, on behalf of her superhero and her generation. Also, she makes it clear that she doesn't want her male cousin to rescue her because after all, she was sent from Krypton to help him and just got caught up in transit. To me, Supergirl is fighting for women, but especially for Millennial women who are trying to climb our way up in our chosen professions. I am only on the outer edge of this age group, but I can relate to her obstacles. I'm glad her older sister is also a brilliant bad ass and a scientist.
Kamala Khan is of Generation Y/high school age, younger than Supergirl and me, yet she is also a woman with something to prove. Just like Supergirl is trying to live up to Clark Kent's legacy, Kamala is trying to live up to Carol Danvers a.k.a. Captain Marvel, the original Ms. Marvel. (By the way, does anyone else think it's weird that Supergirl and her sister have the last name Danvers? Was that intentional, or just a common name for female superheroes)? I have written about Kamala and will continue to do so because she represents intersectionality, feminism, the immigrant story, and the desire to represent teenagers and youth culture in a positive light. She and Supergirl have many things in common: they both have narratives around the immigrant story (since Supergirl is from Krypton and Kamala's family is from Pakistan), they both want to be spokeswomen for their generation, and they both want to have their own identity as superheroes, not just be a shadow of their predecessors.
I believe that young women (and yes, thirty something women in addition to teenage girls and twenty something year old women) need Kamala and Supergirl to inspire us. We still live in a world where women make 75 cents to every dollar men make, where women are objectified, and where women have to fight harder to make it professionally and to get what we want out of life. I have thought to myself more than once, "I have a great life, but it would have been easier if I had been born a man. People would better appreciate my wit and my intelligence, and I wouldn't have to obsess about my physical appearance quite so much). As someone who was in gifted programs in school, had reconstructive jaw surgery, overcame bullying, overcame a learning disability, had a difficult geographic move when I was a teenager, and has endured a fair amount of personal loss for someone my age, the stories of these superwomen resonate with me. And yes, Kara should be Superwoman, not Supergirl. If I have a daughter, then I hope she'll have it easier than I did growing up, even though I still feel that I am growing up. Hopefully, she'll find her own super powers and learn to use them to make life better for the women who follow her lead.