Written by Gabriela Ortiz Flores, Developer of SUPERMUJERES, our next big devised performance!
Lately, I’ve been contemplating superheroes.
You know the classic American comic superheroes–Batman, Spiderman, Superman. Why do they all end in man? I’m not trying to hate on the opposite gender. I just want to know why most of the very famous superheroes are men. X-Men (note the “men” portion of that name) had some female superheroes, which I sincerely appreciate, but aside from them I don’t know very many other female superheroes. Super Girl? Bat Girl? They weren’t really all that cool or all that popular. And anyway who wants to be a girl when you can be a woman?
Of course when I say woman, Wonder Woman instantly comes to mind. I grew up watching Lynda Carter kick ass in high heel boots and a completely objectifying skimpy outfit and wishing that I could wear that outfit and be just as beautiful as her. Unfortunately, her beauty and her outfit are about all I remember. I don’t even know what Wonder Woman’s day job is. Does she have a boyfriend? Girlfriend? How did she become Wonder Woman in the first place? I have no clue and I bet most people don’t know either.
At least the female superheroes in X-Men are more interesting. Take Storm–I love Storm she was powerful and badass. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be Storm or Jean Grey but then Jean Grey went all crazy when she became Phoenix and I just can’t handle crazy. I didn’t even consider Rogue–not being able to kiss anyone would be a major bummer. Storm may have had tempestuous tendencies but at least she wasn’t crazy and didn’t have to worry about putting someone in a coma with a kiss. Also, she’s brown. Again, not hating on the non-people of color but why are there hardly any superheroes of color and how come hardly any of them are famous?
I’m sure there are super hardcore comic fans out there who can easily provide me with a list of superheroes of color, right? Although, even if someone did provide me with a list of superheroes of color, I would still want to know why none of them are household names (aside from Storm, of course)? Are they not cool enough? Are their powers not interesting or powerful enough? Are they too brown, perhaps? Just wondering.
I’m wondering and pondering such questions for a very good reason. Supermujeres will incorporate aspects of superheroes, which I’m really excited about. Unfortunately, while doing research on superheroes, I realized how few American female superheroes of color there existed. I found some black female superheroes but after digging around the internet for a couple of hours, I was only able to find one Latina superhero, a Spider Girl by the name of Anya Corazon.
Ummmmmm……who? I didn’t even know that there was a Spider Girl in existence, did you?
It seems to me that the Supermujeres we’re interviewing and the Latina superheroes in the comic world have more in common than their desire to fight the good fight and help others. Our lack of Latina female superheroes in American mainstream culture as well as our lack of numbers and support for Latinas who serve and protect our communities, illustrate that, despite their capabilities, Latinas are often still forgotten or left out both in the fictional and real world.
I don’t mean to see the glass half empty. Great strides have been made in modern society to make things more fair. However, it appears we still have a long way to go before true equitability exists. And who knows? Maybe Anya Corazon will someday grow up into Spider Woman and help make the world a more equitable place. Then again, here at TL we may just create our own Latina superheroes. After all, most of us Luna ladies grew up surrounded by strong and amazing women, which means we already know what real Latina superheroes look like.
::: Gabriela Ortiz Flores is a new ENSEMBLE MEMBER with Teatro Luna, the lead developer on Supermujeres, a CROSSED contributing writer, and a member of our touring company. She also just started GRADSCHOOL at Loyola University— wish her luck! :::