Violet no longer shrinks

I’ve heard some muttering along these lines myself:

I know, the more men’s-rights inclined types have complained that “why do all girls in shows have to be smart and tough, now?” Well, my bros, it’s because in LIFE you have to be smart and tough to survive, both for boys and girls, but ESPECIALLY if you’re a girl a lot of the time, and arguably, that is partly something you bros have wrought in the world. So there. You don’t like that we’re suspicious of your motives? Stop doing stuff that makes us suspicious of your motives, and teach your brothers to be the same way.

It’s an ongoing process. In 1961, Marvel Comics introduced the Fantastic Four, a quartet of unwilling superheroes who’d had superpowers thrust upon them. The three guys all were capable of kicking butt should some supervillain or Yancy Streeter give them any problems. Then there was Sue Storm:

The Fantastic Four pin-up page

Sue had essentially two functions: stand there and look cute, or stand there and look like empty space. This worked for a while, but the lack of character development dragged down the series. Gradually Marvel built up her powers and her backstory, but it was 1981 — specifically, issue #232 — when John Byrne took over the title and realigned everything. What most people noticed was that the Thing had gotten his own magazine; but Byrne’s version of Sue was arguably the most powerful member of the troupe, and she has remained so ever since.


  1. Dan T. »

    26 September 2017 · 10:10 pm

    When she discovered her ability to project invisible force-fields, that immediately made her a powerful, important member of the team.

    But even the original invisibility power has many uses if properly exploited; look at all the things Harry Potter did with his invisibility cloak.

  2. CGHill »

    26 September 2017 · 10:35 pm

    Oh, indubitably. But the bevy of villains Marvel threw at the FF were usually dispatched by the boys in the band.

    Then there was that whole thing with the Sub-Mariner, but … no, maybe we shouldn’t go there.

    There exists an odd piece of fanfic in which a troubled Sue seduces Peter Parker (!) in a locker room. Not being seen was a distinct advantage in that case.

  3. fillyjonk »

    27 September 2017 · 6:05 am

    Though I dare say, give the average teen boy an invisibility cloak, you know EXACTLY what he’s using it for.

    (Perhaps even: “give the average HUMAN….” I know many women who would use to the opportunity to invade a men’s locker room if they knew no one could see them)

  4. McG »

    27 September 2017 · 7:42 am

    I’m afraid an invisibility cloak would give me more ideas for supervillainous activities than superheroic. Especially if it came with matching gloves, to keep my fingerprints invisible.

  5. John Salmon »

    27 September 2017 · 8:48 am

    The “Woman as both Superhero and Victim” notion is getting a little tired, in politics as well as pop culture. Here we literally see both, with the contradiction blissfully ignored.
    The truth is that women don’t need to be smarter than men to get college degrees, good jobs, or anything else. And here’s an equally compelling question-why are most men on TV portrayed as idiots? The larger question is that the best resolution of the age-old conflict of the sexes is neither to diminish women as Muslim culture does, nor to diminish men, as is increasingly popular in the West. The opposite of one evil, as a wise person once said, is often another evil.

  6. Roger O Green »

    28 September 2017 · 8:28 am

    Sue Storm Richards was too often, early on, the victim – Namor was in love with her and kidnapped her, e.g. The elevation of her powers was welcomed.

RSS feed for comments on this post