A women’s role is ever changing and continuing to make a great impact on our society to this day. Years ago, women were controlled by men and had very little contribution to society. “The 19m century is marked by the fact that women are regarded as objects in all the social categories” (Diversification and Conflicts, Mihaila). It was not until 1923 that the Equal Rights Amendment was introduced shortly before women were just getting their right to vote. Comic books writers always struggled with finding a way to appeal to female readers or feature a female superhero. Women’s roles in comic books are greatly reflected on women’s developing role in this world. Women have always been objectified. We were seen as objects used primarily for baby making.
As kids, we are told we are going to grow up, have kids and start a family so that our kids can have their own family one day. We are stay at home wives and men were the ones to go out and make the money. We clean, cook food, have babies and cater to the husband. The men were the main and mostly only source of income. Men have always been seen as the superior gender in this world. Slowly but surely that has been changing. Women are becoming CEOs, police officers, mayors, and maybe one day presidents. The first cellular phone was made on April 3rd, 1973 here we are 40 years later with phones that scan our fingerprints and read our faces. The world is evolving, and we see that in the way we ladies live our everyday life. Comic books are a reflection of our society. ‘Truth, Justice and the American way’ was commonly said by Superman one of the most well-known superheroes of all time. As time went on comics began to change along with society.
Authors were not only inspiring men, but they were also inspiring women as well. Women were inspired to get out of the house and get a job. ‘This was the Golden Age of Comics, and the decade when female superheroes were christened symbols of American strength, freedom, patriotism, and independence’ (Planet Women, Larew). Women were gaining independence in the real world and it was being reflected in the comics. In 1940 two of the first female superheroes were created, Fantomah and the Woman in Red. These two were created shortly after the Equal Right Amendment in 1993. In 2014 we got our first female Muslim superhero Kamala Khan who got her own comic book, Ms. Marvel. Kamala was not the first Muslim to be featured in comic books, but she was the first Muslim superhero. Muslims’ role in America has been rocky but author G. Willow Wilson gave Muslim kids a way to connect with comic books in a way they never were able to. Ms. Marvel is one of the many comics to come showing that females are just as superior as men, we can do whatever a man can do. Changing the way women were seen has always been on the to-do list ever since the Women’s Movement.
In the mid 19th century women were typically seen as the ‘dumb blonde’. ‘there are more women characters, more minorities, new family structures, job diversity, new roles for men, and a focus on issues of interest to women’ (WOMEN: Female Roles, Riley). Women are still very underrepresented in the workplace. Women represent 57% of college graduates, yet still get overpowered by men when applying for entry level jobs. Women are also less likely to be promoted. If women were promoted at the same rate that men were, we’d have double the CEOs and VPs. Men are very competitive and strive to be the top alpha, it runs in their veins. Women typically aren’t as aggressive about it which could potentially lead to our downfall. In 2013, women made up for 30% of speaking characters (major and minor) and only 15% of protagonists (Lauzen,2015). Women in the film industry have always played a lesser role in everything. You never see too many female directors or female leads in a movie. Traditional views of a woman as a housewife or a baby maker has recently been out of sight out of mind with new strong female roles in movies, Jennifer Laurence in The Hunger Games, Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water, Natalie Portman in Black Swan, or even in a classic like Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality. Even though these movies support a strong female lead, women are still identified as a mother, wife, or dependent on another.
Women are portrayed as sensitive, highly emotional, needy, and low of status. Women may be getting bigger and higher paid roles, but still haven’t reached an equilibrium with men. Women of color face numerous unique challenges throughout their lifetime. By the year 2050 53% of our world’s population will be made up of colored women (Ahmad, Iverson 2013). For women of color their work has mostly involved providing services to privileged people for example, people typically associate Mexican women and cleaning/house care jobs, whether that be maids, housekeeping at a hotel, and caregivers. That is especially promoted in movies, with a rich white family you will almost always see a Mexican woman as their house maid. America is dominated by a white society. 63 years ago, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to the white folk gathering onto the bus, which violated the city’s racial segregation laws. Rosa was then jailed which sparked a major outrage ending with the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott. When you pick up a magazine this may not be the first thing that comes to your mind but after looking though it you may start to notice there is a severe lack of colored women featured in these magazines. Women of color are generally underrepresented in national debates on our nation’s top issues, women’s health care, women’s right, the economy etc. Other people are making these decisions for them. Women of color have shown tremendous leadership in the workplace but, yet their earnings are still lacking compared to white women.
We say we strive for diversity, but America’s effort does not necessarily show it in the way that we treat them. What are we going to do about it, you may ask? I say we push for more women role models. If a woman sees someone like themselves taking on leadership positions their faith and drive for a higher position may be lost. I want to see more women in congress, currently women make up 20% of congress. We need to give these women motivation and bigger dreams. We need to eliminate gender bases roles in the work place. Closing the gap means providing equal opportunity for women and men. Women also need to advocate for themselves more. We have the right to an equal education, people who are properly educated are able to contribute to their own growth and development. For all the men reading this you should be advocating too, it’s not just about girls fighting for their rights, it’s about men and women standing up for what is right. We should all have a shared responsibility in this world, no person should be more significant or hold a higher power than another. Equality is key to this nation’s success, yet women are still getting treated poorly. We’ve been objectified since before I can even remember. Comic books are a way to see this world’s social change. We started out with only men superheroes and here we are with female superheroes getting their own books dedicated just to them. If you read a couple comics from when they first were getting published to now you can defiantly see the way the world has evolved over time.
Women are slowly making their way to the top in the workplace, take Susan Wojcicki for example, she’s the CEO of the multibillion company YouTube. You’re seeing more women on television or on the big screen playing lead roles in major movies and television shows. Although women of color are still being underrepresented, they play a huge role in our society and hopefully to the change in this world. Women are still making a huge impact on this world and will continue to grow and fight their battles that this world and society throws at them. A woman can do anything a man can do.