Will we rewrite all great male superheroes into women?

by Autumn Birt

Thor is now a woman.

Hopefully I’m not the first one breaking that to you and you’ve read the news. Marvel has rewritten the rugged, slightly depressed but definitely sexy, hero into a heroine. This goes along with other additions of great male characters, including a lovely she-hulk, spiderwoman, and heck, if you’re old enough, you can throw She-Ra in there. Actually researching this post, I realized there is a whole series of She-morphed names. There is also She-Dragon, She-Thing, She-Venom, and SheZow (ok, the last one is a little amusing).

imageI firmly believe there are not enough great female characters across all genres. Certainly not enough ones that break from stereotypes such a mother, protector, or sexualized icon. Sure, we are doing better than a few decades ago, especially in the indie arena. But there is still a prevalence in new literature of male dominated storylines, especially some genres. How many female detectives are out there or hard-nosed, tactical women military thrillers?

But is the answer rewriting formally make characters into female?

After reading a self-proclaimed tirade (not mine!) that took on this trend of remaking classic superheroes that have been men into women, I’m not so sure.

This insightful, if rowdy, comment that questioned why Thor had to become a woman and why does everyone wonder if the next Dr. Who incarnation will be a female made an excellent point. Thor has always been kick ass. There are female Asgardians. Why the heck does he have to become a she. I had a crush on Thor as a teenager. Now I’m admittedly confused.

The same can be said of Dr. Who. There are (were?) female Time Lords. Heck, the Doctor has a daughter! Why should he be recast as a woman? Does he need to be? What niche will that fill? Is it some final validation that women are important and have ‘come of age’ in the world of superheroes?

Gosh I hope not, because it feels as cheap as some of the rather unimaginative names. She-hulk — realy?

Apparently spiderwoman isn't a human woman based on that body...

Apparently spiderwoman isn’t a human woman based on that body…

Captain America, Thor, Superman, Spiderman… the list goes on, they’ve been around for awhile. So have Wonder Woman and a few other female characters that were, admittedly, invented more of a sidekick with a great body. Does remaking the guys into women fix this trend or are we just out of ideas on great characters?

At least the Xmen gave women a powerful role with some unique powers. And just when I started to believe that Marvel won’t take a risk on a unique woman superhero, they update Ms. Marvel by promoting the original to Captain and named a Pakistani-American teenage girl as the new Ms. Marvel. Wow and wow. Apparently someone out there at Marvel comics isn’t afraid of creating new ground for women or superheros. Even if Thor is now a woman.

And there are many amazing female characters not actually based on men out there in the indie universe. That is the trend I’d like to see growing and acknowledged. Writers are not out of great ideas for amazing characters. Heck, they can even come up with interesting names!

And as for this trend to create doppelgangers of male characters in female bodies, I hope it ends soon. The lack of creativity to create an exciting new heroine feels like a slight as big as only seeing sexy superheroines in tight leotards (at least the men get similar clothing!) who often need to be rescued.

What do you think? Is Thor better off as a woman?

Autumn is finalizing edits to her next dystopian story line, Friends of my Enemy, while pecking away at a new epic fantasy and planning a vacation in Peru. She needs a time travel device ASAP. Find out more about Autumn and her writing at her website http://www.AutumnWriting.com or find her online on Twitter at @weifarer or on her Facebook page.