7 reasons why queer women should check out “Supergirl”

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“If you perceive ‘Supergirl’ as anything less than excellent, isn’t the real problem you?”

Now, I wouldn’t go so far to say if you don’t like the new CBS show Supergirl that there’s a problem with you, necessarily. And while there are no openly queer female characters on the show just yet—nor public intention to add one in the immediate future—I do have a few reasons why you should give it a chance if you haven’t already. (And I’ll talk more about the above quote and its speaker, HBIC Cat Grant, in a bit.)

(Oh also, this is your warning, in case it wasn’t obvious, spoilers for the first two episodes of Supergirl ahead.) 

1. Melissa Benoist and all her faces.

Melissa Benoist "Supergirl" Visits The Empire State Building

You may know her as Sweet Marley Rose from the New New Directions on the later seasons of Glee, the girl with the killer voice, adorable hats, and slew of unfortunate storylines, or she may be a fresh new face to you, but either way, it’s a good face to know. Between PaleyFest and New York Comic Con, I watched the pilot three times before it aired, so I learned a few things right off the bat. And the first thing is, no matter who’s talking, keep tabs on Melissa Benoist’s face. She does more with a nose scrunch than most people do with an entire scene of dialogue. It’s fabulous. She takes the term “adorkable” to a whole new level. She may be married to her Glee on-screen occasional love interest, but she’s still worthy of some head-in-hands sighs and serious hair envy.

2. Girl Power

Supergirlvia CBS

This show is campy and cheesy and it doesn’t take itself too seriously, which all add to the fun of the experience of watching it. But what it does take seriously is feminism. It doesn’t shy away from it or try to be subtle about it or try to trick people into thinking feminist things. It hits the nail on the head and oh what a beautiful sound it makes when it does.

To go back to the quote I opened this piece with, when Kara Danvers’ super ego is dubbed Supergirl by her boss and founder of the major media corporation CatCo, Kara storms into Cat Grant’s office and asks why it wasn’t Superwoman. She complains that “girl” is making her out to be less than she is. She actually literally uses the word “anti-feminist” when voicing her concerns. But Cat pushes back. Who cares about the word “girl?” She’s a girl, and she can’t be stopped. She says if you perceive “girl” as less than “woman” you’re not as feminist as you think. It was an eye-opening moment for Kara, and she walked away looking a little more empowered.

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It actually reminded me a little of the Always “Like A Girl” campaign, which is aiming to remove the stigma of the term “girl” when it comes to phrases meant to be insulting like, “You throw like a girl” or “You hit like a girl,” implying girls are somehow less capable. At one point in the show, a man in charge of an anti-alien task force, Henshaw, is worried Kara won’t win against the Bad Guy of the Week, because he thinks she fights like a girl. And she does. She fights like Supergirl. And she wins.

But not the first time. 

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Besides not flying into the air perfectly on the first go, the first time Supergirl faces an alien with comparable strength to her own, she gets knocked down. Someone had to drop from a helicopter to save her. But guess who it was? It wasn’t Henshaw or Superman. It was her sister, Alex. In the second episode, Alex teaches her some fighting skills, because even though Kara’s strength and ability to fly and heat vision are all natural abilities, she doesn’t know how to use them all yet, not to fight. So her human sister teaches her moves and strategies for using her size and her speed to her advantage. It’s so full of the Girl Power the Spice Girls spread all over the ’90s, it makes me want to fly myself.

3. Supergirl breaks the mold

Supergirl

Supergirl may be fast enough to break the sound barrier, but she also breaks the superhero mold of her cousin before her (and some other superheroes of yore). She’s not tortured, or haunted, or a loner. She’s been through a decent amount for a 20-something alien on Earth, but she stays optimistic. Where heroes like Batman try fight the darkness, Kara seeks the light. Kara Danvers smiles so much and when she decided to put her powers to good use, she literally could not stop telling people. We’re two episodes in and she already has a band of misfits helping her out!

Also, having been older when she left, she actually remembers Krypton, and what life there was like. She’s a little more firmly rooted in her alien identity than her cousin, who came here as a baby, so is more of an Earthling with Kryptonian powers than a Kryptonian living on Earth.

Plus the show is funny. It’s more similar in tone to The Flash than it is Gotham, the early seasons of Arrow, or even Supernatural. (Full disclosure: I’ve only seen a handful of episodes of Supernatural, but it was my impression that it was a Dark show with funny elements, whereas Supergirl feels like a funny show that can be Serious when it wants to be.)

Not to mention, she NEEDS a team. As I touched upon before, she kinda sucks at being a hero at first! And she knows it! But she gets knocked down, and she gets up again. And it’s a beautiful thing. 

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