How does the TV show Supergirl represent gender? Part #2
When Kara Danvers decides to become ‘Supergirl,’ she immediately begins to try on various outfits for her superhero costume. In the clip below, she first comes out in a tight, very revealing outfit that shows her stomach. Her shorts are also very short and they reveal her legs. The second outfit that she tries on includes a skirt, and her final outfit includes tights and boots that appear to have heels.
If you see Supergirl and Superman side by side, it is evident to see the differences between their two outfits. Superman is completely covered from head to toe, while Supergirl wears tights that reveal her legs, a short skirt, and boots with high heels. The two outfits are examples of what femininity/masculinity or man/woman are “supposed” to look like. This can send a message to children who idolize superheroes. They are taught from a young age what it means to be a girl and what it means to be a boy.
With a quick Google search for girls’ superhero costumes, you can see that all of the costumes have skirts, even the costumes for Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, and Robin, despite its characters being males in the comics who wear pants.
The “boys” costumes, on the other hand, all have pants, and they also have muscles on them. This gives children the idea that men are supposed to be strong and muscular.
It is clear that the portrayal of superhero characters in comics, films, and television shows have an affect on children. They receive messages of what men and woman are supposed to dress like, and then children and parents act on this during Halloween when they choose their costumes. Without even looking at the signs on clothing racks, children quickly realize which clothes are meant for men and which are meant for women.