Tina Kakadelis
YA Author


Burn Before Reading: A Carly Allen Story

I Didn't Travel Two Thousand Light Years Just to Be an Assistant


So, if you read my post from earlier today, you'll know that I am very tired today. I'm not a morning person, but I work at 4 a.m. at a retail establishment doing shipment work. After a few days of that nonsense, I just get burnt out. Honestly, we weren't meant to be awake that early. By "we," I mean humanity as a whole. I definitely do not have it in me to write some long, well-thought-out blog post today. (Can you believe these blog posts have been me trying to write something well thought out?!). So this is just going to be a stream of consciousness blog about my thoughts and feelings about Supergirl season one.

As a preface, I don't really do superhero things. The first Captain America movie is one of the few exceptions. That and Supergirl, I guess. As I'm sure you've gathered, I'm a little shallow when it comes to pop culture. If there's a cute girl in it, I can suffer through a poorly written movie. And I was more than ready to suffer in the name of Melissa Benoist's gorgeous face feminism. Think about it. It was a female-led superhero show on the same network that plays Two and a Half Men and she wasn't going to be overly sexualized. What?! (Let's be honest though; her business casual wardrobe is so damned attractive. I'm sorry. I'll try to keep it together. Let's chalk this up to sleep deprivation.)

Season one of Supergirl is a genuine good time. It's funny, charming, and kick-ass. Kick-ass in the fighting sense, but also in the sense of the characters. The love story of the show is between Kara and her sister Alex. Calm down, it's not incestuous. Love stories don't have to only be romantic, they can be familial too. Cat Grant is a feminist icon who SHOULD'VE BEEN BACK FOR SEASON TWO. CW, I'M TALKING TO YOU. (The addition of Lena Luthor is a valiant attempt at making up for it, but, CW, if you make her a villain, I will write the strongest worded letter to you. You have my pinky promise.)

Here's my issue with superheroes; they're all so pouty. I'm not saying Batman and Spider-Man and other superhero dudes haven't suffered, but look at what Supergirl lived through! She left Krypton when she was 12/13 and her whole world exploded. Literally. Her family, her culture, and her home were all blown to smithereens. Kal-El (Clark Kent) was supposed to be her responsibility to take care of, but by the time she got out of the phantom zone where she was stuck for twenty-four years, he already got a life. He's Superman, he's got a gig as a reporter, he's got family, and he's got Lois. He doesn't have time for a kid cousin from a place he doesn't remember.

Poor little Kara doesn't have a purpose anymore. The kid she's supposed to protect is grown and she's a stranger in a strange land. She's overly sensitive to sounds, has super strength she doesn't know how to control, and has to process the fact that this is her life now. There's nowhere to go back to even if she wanted to. And she has to fit in at middle school, which is awful for anybody, regardless of their alien status.

Why isn't Supergirl more popular? As a show and as a superhero in general. What about her origin story doesn't make people interested in her? Why do we care more about her cousin when her story is far more fascinating?

I'm not reaching by saying no one gives a shit about her because she's a girl. You mean to tell me that if the roles were reversed and somehow Kara got here first before Clark that the focus wouldn't immediately shift to him? This boy who's small and had to live through seeing his world be destroyed before his very eyes wouldn't be fawned over? It's horrendously sad, okay?! But she's a girl, so she'll just get over it, y'know? She'll be fine.

All those other dumb superheroes are allowed to be angsty. Batman gets to mope around with his gravelly voice, Spider-Man gets to be mad hangin' upside down. Hell, even Superman gets to be upset in recent movies. I was reading some article online and the author was talking about this same thing. She said that Superman being super is like if the nicest boy in Nebraska suddenly got super powers. He's as American as can be. That's true. He left Krypton as a baby so he knows nothing of the world he left behind. He should understand the sadness on a surface level, but he can only miss something he didn't know so much.

Kara, on the other hand, has every right to be angry.  She's the last of her culture. Clark doesn't know the language, doesn't know what the planet looked like, and certainly doesn't know what it was like to live there. She is the last one. No one will ever know and no one could possibly know the pain of that weight.

I lost where this blog was supposed to be going. I just get so heated because no one gives Supergirl the respect she deserves. Girl's been through a lot. Anyway...let's refocus.

What I like about season one is that every chance they have to put a woman in power, they do. The president is only referred to in the abstract, but we know it's a woman. Cat Grant owns her own company and takes no one's misogynistic nonsense. Kara is also adamant that this is her story. It's not Superman's and no one should be measuring her against him because her failures and triumphs are no one's but her own. The show also focuses on women in the workplace. We see Cat Grant, a CEO and well-respected businesswoman, talk about all the times she was faced with the harsh reality of being a woman in a male-dominated industry. It's such a good dialogue they start. (Not to mention Jimmy Olsen getting to talk about how black men aren't allowed to be angry and how that affects him. Course this was before he got sidelined by a bland piece of white bread Mon-El.)

The last thing I will leave you with is this gem from the first episode. Kara just saved her sister Alex's plane from crashing. It was Kara's first time using her superpowers in years and the city deemed her a hero. Cat Grant brands her as Supergirl, which enrages Kara. She bursts into Cat's office and asks if Cat's being anti-feminist by calling Supergirl a "girl" instead of a "woman." Cat Grant's response is one of my favorite quotes from television:

"And what do you think is so bad about 'girl?' Huh? I'm a girl. And your boss, and powerful, and rich, and hot, and smart. So if you perceive Supergirl as anything less than excellent, isn't the real problem you?"