How does the TV show Supergirl represent gender? Part #9
In the 17th episode of the Supergirl’s second season, we see several examples of the characters breaking gender stereotypes.
In the episode’s opening scene, we see Kara wake up to find that her boyfriend Mon El had made her breakfast. Mon El is wearing an apron, has prepared a delicious meal with flowers, and wishes Kara hadn’t woken up yet until the meal had been perfect. He wanted to make the morning romantic, while all Kara could think about is the food, yelling out, “BACON!”
Already, we see the characters break gender norms. Mon El is a male, and males are often associated with masculinity. However, in this scene, he is showing very feminine qualities, such as wearing an apron, cooking, and talking about romance. When Kara asks how he learned how to cook, Mon El says he had gotten instructions from a book, meaning that he put a lot of effort into preparing this one meal for his girlfriend. In so many media, we often see the women pleasing the man, but here, we see the man pleasing the woman.
Throughout this scene, Mon El is also the one initiating the kisses and talking about his feelings for Kara. Men in media are often portrayed as emotionless and only wanting sex, but here, Mon El is being very open, sensitive, and caring for Kara. His gestures are sweet, and not at all sexual.
His voice also gets a little high pitched here, which is often associated with femininity as well. Kara, on the other hand, speaks very casually, and even yells out “Crap!” The stereotype is that men use foul language, while women must refrain from doing so to seem “proper.” Kara, however, does not seem to care.
The most interesting point in this scene is the fact that when Kara saw someone in trouble, she had the instinct to put on her Supergirl outfit and go save the day. In so many superhero movies, we rarely see women fighting the bad guys, and instead, we see them as the love interests for the superheroes. It is refreshing to see a woman going off to fight crime, while her boyfriend is the one staying behind. In Mon El’s case, he stays behind to do some laundry, which is seen as very domestic and feminine.
In the final few moments of the clip, we see Kara fight an alien, and she displays angry and violent emotions. She throws some hard punches and defeats the enemy in just a short amount of time. Kara/Supergirl is strong and powerful enough to fight her battles all on her own. She is not a damsel in distress, instead, she is the hero that everyone looks up to. This is very rare to see in media, especially ones involving superheroes.