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hail HYDRA | by maryann johanson

question of the day: What advice would you give to a writer creating a female superhero?

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female superhero

An interesting post at GeekFeminism.org caught my eye yesterday. A reader of that site writes in:

I am male who wants to write a novel about a female superhero. Since this is a superhero novel there will be violence and at some point my hero will have to lose a fight (though of course she wins in the end).

I am wondering how I should write the scene where the supervillain beats the crap out out of my female hero. Should I just write as if she were a male? Or do I need to take precautions so I don’t end up glorifying violence against women?

The uncredited GeekFeminism.org editor writes, in part, in reply:

[Y]ou don’t want to “write as if she were a male”… because she isn’t. You want to write as if she was a person. Your current thinking on this seems to be edging towards “men are the pattern for people, women are special unique cases of people” which is a little concerning for your characterisation of a woman!

Which is excellent advice!

What advice would you give to a writer creating a female superhero? Not only in reponse to this male writer’s specific question but in general: In what ways should a female superhero differ from a male superhero, and in what ways should they be alike? What other specific issues, problems, challenges, and bonuses come with creating a female superhero in our male-superhero-dominated fantasy worlds?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)


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