Editor’s Letter: The changing face of the female heroine

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Girls are jedis. Barbies are bigger. The face of the female heroine is changing, and it’s about damn time.

Growing up, I was more likely to be caught playing Legos than Barbies, for the sole reason that I had two brothers. While Legos are a little more gender neutral, the dolls I played with when my girl friends were over were a little one-dimensional. If I was going to be picking a doll to represent me, it was generally based solely off of hair color than any other factor. Because there weren’t many other different factors to distinguish my dolls.

But my real life mentors and female role models were far from one-dimensional. It’s so refreshing to see these mainstream brands like Star Wars and Barbie taking new steps to address diversity issues and make female heroines about more than just their fashion choices, body types and male suitors.

No longer are the only superheroes in the mainstream movies and television just female versions of their male counterparts (think Superwoman). Now we have heroines like Jessica Jones and Rey, who are defined more by their own powers than the counterpart to a more famous male hero.

While some people might say that the new Barbie types aren’t drastic enough, any step in the right direction is a good step. And while the Barbie move might be motivated by money, it does show that these brands are at least recognizing the dramatic power that they have on young girls’ minds.

I can’t expect change to happen overnight, but I’m just glad it’s happening at all.


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