How does the TV show Supergirl represent gender? Part #5
In the Supergirl Season 2 ‘Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk’ episode, an alien named Mxyzptlk comes to Earth and “chooses” Supergirl/Kara as his wife. The clip below says many things about gender. First, Mxyzptlk uses his powers to make candles, music, and flowers appear because he believes that Kara would like it, since she’s a woman. He also proposes to her, which shows the gender roles placed in our society that men propose to women, and that the proposal needs to be elaborate in order to impress the woman.
Next, you see Mon El, (who isn’t Kara’s boyfriend, but was about to kiss Kara just moments before Mxyzptlk showed up) get angry and he says, “she’s with me.” Technically, Mon El and Kara have not started dating yet, because they just confessed their feelings to each other. However, Mon El feels offended by Mxyzptlk. The fact that Mon El wants to start a physical fight with Mxyzptlk shows the stereotype that men express their feelings with violence. This is also an example of the archaic idea that two men must fight in order to “win” the woman. It is also humorous that Mon El feels the need to defend Kara, when she is perfectly capable of handling herself, but this just reinforces the idea that men feel the need to protect their women.
Mxyzptlk then makes a wedding dress, earrings, and makeup, appear on Kara, more examples of gender stereotypes, which is the idea that women must wear dresses, jewelry, and makeup, especially for a special event such as a wedding.
Kara tells him, “I’m flattered, but I’m not going to marry you Mxyzptlk. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I’m just not interested.”
Mxyzptlk then replies, “Don’t be sorry buttercup. I know what you’re doing. You’re playing hard to get, which is utterly charming and delightful by the way. You’re flustered. You’re confused.”
He continues, “Let me tell you how this works. I chose you as my mate and now I will wow you with breathtaking fetes of ardent until you fall madly in love with me, and fear not Kara Zor-El, you will fall in love with me.”
This can definitely be seen as problematic, because it is about the idea that men can’t take no for an answer. They feel that women are just playing hard to get, and that they need to try harder to “win” the woman over.
This episode definitely had many layers of sexism and misogyny, and there will probably be more blog posts about this episode in particular.