What constitutes a super heroine?

General discussions about superheroines!
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What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by sneakly »

I was thinking what makes a super heroine. Supergirl has a costume, fights baddies, has a secret identity and super powers, that is pretty straight forward. Batgirl has all that but really has no super powers at all. Sabrina, has super powers, fights baddies, but lacks a costume. Does she count? Lara Croft? Penelope Pitstop has no powers, does have a costume, interacts with baddies, but always seems to lose (a popular trope for super heroines....

Curious to find out what others think might be a qualifier.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by DrDominator9 »

It's interesting that both Batgirl and Batman get included in the superheroine/hero genre without any real super powers. So clearly superhuman strength isn't necessary. One could posit that both Bats have tuned their reflexes and fighting skills to superhuman levels; thus making them supers.

As far as powers go, anything that's beyond the skills of human ability... (far beyond those of mortal men, as the saying goes) is worthy of tagging a character as a superhero or superheroine. Whether its throwing flames or ice or even waves of love at an opponent, if that ability is beyond normal human skills, they make the hero chart.

I'd say having a costume is almost a requirement. Very few heroes in the genre don't have a costume. Even those without a "costume" have a regular style of clothing, maybe even the same clothes worn repeatedly, i.e. Lara Croft. If a hero or heroine doesn't have a costume or recognizable repeated clothing style their odds at succeeding for their creator seem much more limited.

Clearly, having an arch enemy puts you up the ladder when it comes to being a superhero. A highly recognizable opponent with whom a hero/heroine spars repeatedly seems a genuine draw for the genre and a key aspect of a memorable character. But I wouldn't put this down as an absolute requirement. A super character can fight an endless array of challenging enemies and still be more than worthy of the label. I just prefer a wonderful regular opponent.

In my opinion, a hero/heroine who constantly loses without any wins really doesn't earn superhero status... at least not in my book. While it might be an entertaining story for a round or two, a hero/heroine who constantly loses in a repeating series isn't worth my time investment since all the drama is taken out of the equation. That goes double if the hero/heroine is repeatedly taken out in the same manner again and again. Don't get me wrong, a hero/heroine can get into different perils over and over but if there's never a win for them at the end of the story, (doesn't have to be every story, mix it up) then how super is that character?

That's my take on the genre.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Mr. X »

But Batman is super. In Justice League Bruce Wayne said his super power was being rich. Batman has an photographic memory, genius level IQ, knows every martial art, has vast resources etc. Batgirl may not have those so I wouldn't call her a super hero per say.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by shevek »

Politely disagree. I would say anyone who fights evil using either 1) a costume or 2) superpowers or 3) both is a super hero/heroine.
So that would include Batgirl and Xena, Buffy and Sabrina, but it would not include, say, Lara Croft or Relic Hunter, who would be more on the adventurer side of things. They are certainly still heroines, just not superheroines.

And yes, a superhero/heroine has to win some of the time. Overcoming adversity is always fine, though. Builds heroic character.

In a philosophical sense, though, RJ from the Fourth Age Youtube channel (which is about comic books) has a very specific definition of a hero from Western tradition, which would also apply to a heroine. A hero displays much more of the four virtues than the average human being. Those virtues are prudence, courage, temperance, and justice.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardinal_virtues
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Damselbinder »

Ahh, my merry band, what an unfortunate thing it is not to have a background in philosophy! Alas. I weep for the unborn fruits of your minds. It is quite clear to me what the solution to our problem is. "Superhero" is a *game concept.*

"What's a game concept, o wise one?" I hear some of you ask. Well, friends, let us consider. What is a game?

"A game is something done for fun!" one of you says. Perhaps, perhaps, but I think we generally agree that professional football or basketball players are still *players*. They are playing a game, even though they're not doing it for fun. Besides, I might cook for fun. I might whistle for fun, and whistling in and of itself isn't a game (I suppose I could make it one, but that's beside the point), so just being done for fun doesn't make something a game. You could say "a game is something ONLY done for fun", but by that definition football and golf *aren't games*, which of course they are.

"Alright, smart-arse, a game is a recreational activity with rules to govern it." What about a child's imagining-game? That doesn't have any rules, does it? Indeed, a child's imagining game and a game of football bear as little resemblance to each other as two spheres of human activity can. "Game" is a series of related concepts in a kind of family with each other (indeed I think many philosophers now call them "family relations" or "family concepts" which, I think, doesn't get the point across). There's no way to come up with a single definition that covers them all without inviting things in we don't want ("cooking is a game"), or ruling out things we do want ("football isn't a game"). But we know, because of convention of language, what's a game and what's not. And it's not arbitrary, either: there are a chain of conceptual links connecting everything we'd call a game, even if you can pick two members of the family that look very, very different from each other.

Now let's come on to superheroes. A superhero fights crime. Is Hercule Poirot a superhero? Mais non. Okay: a superhero fights crime and wears some sort of novelty costume. Well in "Smallville" Clark Kent didn't wear a costume, and he was still a superhero. Alright, a superhero fights crime and has powers. Well no, because Batman. In fact, if Superman did nothing but rescue people from natural disasters, I'm quite sure we'd still call him a superhero even though he doesn't fight crime! "Superhero" is a GAME concept. There are a series of conceptual links between all the things we'd count as superheroes (it's certainly not irrelevant to his superhero-dom that Batman fights crime and wears a costume, even if those factors aren't all that can be said about the matter), even though it's impossible to create a single definition that includes everything we want ("no powers therefore Batman isn't a superhero") or that exclude everything we want to exclude ("a Swiss Guard wears a campy, elaborate costume, therefore Swiss Guardsmen are superheroes").

I hope, ladies and gents, that that settles the matter.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by tallyho »

Couldn't you have just run with
'I dunno'? 🤨
:giggle:
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Damselbinder »

tallyho wrote: 2 years ago Couldn't you have just run with
'I dunno'? 🤨
:giggle:
My Denzel Washington avatar would not have allowed it.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by DrDominator9 »

Damselbinder wrote: 2 years ago
tallyho wrote: 2 years ago Couldn't you have just run with
'I dunno'? 🤨
:giggle:
My Denzel Washington avatar would not have allowed it.
Yeah, I thought that tone sounded familiarly condescending. A great actor in 80% of his roles. Horrible in the remaining 20%. You, of course, damselbinder, are brilliant.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Dazzle1 »

For me

1. They fight the baddies

2. Has to have:

Special powers - Super Girl/Wonder Woman
Extraordinary training or weapons Batgirl/Huntress
3. Armour or magic device - Female Green Lantern

So although they are on the side of good and capable: Lara Croft or Modesty Blaise would not qualify
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Damselbinder »

Dazzle1 wrote: 2 years ago For me

1. They fight the baddies

2. Has to have:

Special powers - Super Girl/Wonder Woman
Extraordinary training or weapons Batgirl/Huntress
3. Armour or magic device - Female Green Lantern

So although they are on the side of good and capable: Lara Croft or Modesty Blaise would not qualify
By that definition, then, is King Arthur a superhero? He fights the baddies. He has a magic sword. Is the Doctor (Who) a superhero? He has all sorts of powers and special tools, after all.

Likewise, if Superman didn't actually fight crime, but just rescued people from natural disasters, would that mean he's not a superhero?
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Dazzle1 »

Damselbinder wrote: 2 years ago
Dazzle1 wrote: 2 years ago For me

1. They fight the baddies

2. Has to have:

Special powers - Super Girl/Wonder Woman
Extraordinary training or weapons Batgirl/Huntress
3. Armour or magic device - Female Green Lantern

So although they are on the side of good and capable: Lara Croft or Modesty Blaise would not qualify
By that definition, then, is King Arthur a superhero? He fights the baddies. He has a magic sword. Is the Doctor (Who) a superhero? He has all sorts of powers and special tools, after all.

Likewise, if Superman didn't actually fight crime, but just rescued people from natural disasters, would that mean he's not a superhero?
Arthur no because anyone could use the sword and he can be defeated.

In the case of someone who did natural disaster saving yes.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Damselbinder »

Dazzle1 wrote: 2 years ago
Damselbinder wrote: 2 years ago
Dazzle1 wrote: 2 years ago For me

1. They fight the baddies

2. Has to have:

Special powers - Super Girl/Wonder Woman
Extraordinary training or weapons Batgirl/Huntress
3. Armour or magic device - Female Green Lantern

So although they are on the side of good and capable: Lara Croft or Modesty Blaise would not qualify
By that definition, then, is King Arthur a superhero? He fights the baddies. He has a magic sword. Is the Doctor (Who) a superhero? He has all sorts of powers and special tools, after all.

Likewise, if Superman didn't actually fight crime, but just rescued people from natural disasters, would that mean he's not a superhero?
Arthur no because anyone could use the sword and he can be defeated.

In the case of someone who did natural disaster saving yes.
Isn't it sort of pretty essential to the whole King Arthur thing that it is very much NOT the case that anyone can use the sword?
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Dazzle1 »

Damselbinder wrote: 2 years ago
Dazzle1 wrote: 2 years ago
Damselbinder wrote: 2 years ago
Dazzle1 wrote: 2 years ago For me

1. They fight the baddies

2. Has to have:

Special powers - Super Girl/Wonder Woman
Extraordinary training or weapons Batgirl/Huntress
3. Armour or magic device - Female Green Lantern

So although they are on the side of good and capable: Lara Croft or Modesty Blaise would not qualify
By that definition, then, is King Arthur a superhero? He fights the baddies. He has a magic sword. Is the Doctor (Who) a superhero? He has all sorts of powers and special tools, after all.

Likewise, if Superman didn't actually fight crime, but just rescued people from natural disasters, would that mean he's not a superhero?
Arthur no because anyone could use the sword and he can be defeated.

In the case of someone who did natural disaster saving yes.
Isn't it sort of pretty essential to the whole King Arthur thing that it is very much NOT the case that anyone can use the sword?
Actually it wasn't. His father who raped his mother could use it
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Damselbinder »

An ancestral weapon's pretty superheroish, isn't it?
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Femina »

Whoa whoa whoa whoa WHOA!!!!

NOT just anyone could use the sword! Arthur was GIVEN Excalibur by the fudging GODS. That's NO different from Iron Man. Sure 'anyone could wear Tony Stark's Armor' and be 'an' Iron Man... but Tony Stark was the one MEANT to wear it.

Excalibur was A) Either a sword that absolutely NO ONE but Arthur could pull from the stone which made it something uniquely his own. That some other yokal might pluck it up when dropped is no different from a thug snagging a discarded battarang or B) Given to him by the Goddess Lady of the Lake as forged in the fires of Avalon.

If the fact that anyone can use Excalibur excludes Arthur as a Superhero, then the fact anyone can use a Battarang excludes Batman..

Don't @ me on Arthurian legend folks, I'll bite.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Mr. X »

Are cops super heroes? They fight crime and wear a costume/uniform.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Femina »

Mr. X wrote: 2 years ago Are cops super heroes? They fight crime and wear a costume/uniform.
Let's just not.

Anyway, I actually DON'T believe Arthur is a superhero. I just meant to indicate that particular argument to his exclusion wasn't really a good one.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Abductorenmadrid »

To me the question posed in the thread title would require a sort of fixed definition to resolve. The problem is there is a "feel" to some characters that would defy, or fall foul of any clever legal definition we might have in our heads for what a superheroine is.

I'd happily call Batgirl a superheroine - even though what my mind would define as a superheroine in a "legal" style framework would say she isn't.

Alternatively while Jessica Jones has super powers my mind just cant seem to place her as a superheroine. A heroine? Sure, but a superheroine? No.

"Superheroine" might just be a little too nebulous to try and rigidly define, there may be some qualities that don't fit in a binary yes or no situation.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Damselbinder »

Abductorenmadrid wrote: 2 years ago To me the question posed in the thread title would require a sort of fixed definition to resolve. The problem is there is a "feel" to some characters that would defy, or fall foul of any clever legal definition we might have in our heads for what a superheroine is.

I'd happily call Batgirl a superheroine - even though what my mind would define as a superheroine in a "legal" style framework would say she isn't.

Alternatively while Jessica Jones has super powers my mind just cant seem to place her as a superheroine. A heroine? Sure, but a superheroine? No.

"Superheroine" might just be a little too nebulous to try and rigidly define, there may be some qualities that don't fit in a binary yes or no situation.
Yes. Very much so. There is no one completely satisfying definition. It's a game concept.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by shevek »

Yes Jessica Jones is a superheroine. She has powers, and she fights evil. And at times she did also have a costume (as Knightress and Jewel). And she was in the Avengers and/or Defenders: super hero teams.

There is also another definition of superhero, which apparently came from something G.I. Joe comic book writer Larry Hama said (as quoted by Ya Boi Zack in a recent video), but I'm sure it's much older than that. Siegel and Schuster imagined that they were Superman.

Superheroes are a power fantasy. Whoever watches them or reads about them imagines that they are that powerful, reveling in the deeds that the powerful person does. Or conversely, reveling in the loss of that power (in the case of SHIP). In contrast (and this is where it gets back to Hama), a comic book with a military theme like G.I. Joe or Sgt Rock is a loyalty fantasy.

Again, just my two cents from a definition I've heard recently.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Damselbinder »

Luke Skywalker has powers and fights evil. Is he a superhero?
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by EvilDaria »

A superheroine has to show that she is 'super'. She doesn't have to be infallible - where's the fun in that? Drama comes from conflict, and if she always wins, or always loses, the character becomes a predictable yawn for me. To win with style, or power, or guts, or intelligence doesn't require super powers, but it does make her 'super' human - one who goes further than others.
I want the character to have doubts, fears, indeed any of a range of feelings and not be an automaton. A superheroine has to deal with a real life and a secret one and there's always going to be a conflict between the two crossing over: plenty of book, film and tv dramas handle this well. Remember 'Buffy'?
A signature costume, style of dress, weaponry or fighting style can also bring the superheroine classification to a character, but in many ways what they mostly have in common is strength, not just physical, but strength of mind, character and purpose.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by bare_thighz »

Damselbinder wrote: 2 years ago .
Well in "Smallville" Clark Kent didn't wear a costume, and he was still a superhero.

This is an example of a dependent narrative. The only reason why Clark Kent is still considered a superhero in the show is because of all the work people did building Superman's character before that show. If Superman never wore a costume, there would be no Superman and no character for later writers to deconstruct.

Similarly, there was animated movie about an aging out of shape Batman. One of the attributes not discussed here, and especially relevant to this site is that superheroes and superheroines tend to be young and physically attractive. Without the young, fit Batman, which countless artists before this movie have tried to create, there would be no character to deconstruct, hence, the old, out of shape Batman would have been impossible. That is the problem with dependent narratives.

But back to the original statement, a costume or distinctive appearance is indispensable to the concept of a superhero, even if postmodernists deconstruct this idea.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Damselbinder »

The problem with that argument is that you can extend it out to anything. Let's say I suggested the characters from "Heroes" as superheroes with no costume. Well you could just say "ah, that narrative is dependent on the fact that the series is being made in the background of other superhero characters that do have costumes. So it's the exception that proves the rule." So for any example, even if it's clearly a superhero without a particular distinctive appearance, you can say that it doesn't count.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Deceiver »

Part of the problem in answering this is whether we mean in the fiction or to the audience in reality. It's not necessarily the same answer. For example, Lara Croft isn't a superheroine within the story. However, she could be regarded as a superheroine by the audience watching the movie. In light of this, I would define a superheroine as:

A heroic woman who has an elevated status due to some unique or rare ability, or carried technology, used to regularly fight wrongdoers.

A superpower, a superheroine name, a costume, a disguise, an alter-ego, are all amplifiers. That is, they are recognisable signs of a superheroine, yet not essential.

You may ask, how about a superheroine who uses a secret power to fight crime? My answer would be her "elevated status" isn't secret to the audience watching...
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Damselbinder »

By that definition, Captain Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager is a superhero. Which I think we'd all agree she isn't.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Deceiver »

Damselbinder wrote: 2 years ago By that definition, Captain Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager is a superhero. Which I think we'd all agree she isn't.
Well, I don't know Voyager. However, I'm guessing she doesn't meet the criteria in the first place...
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by tallyho »

Damselbinder wrote: 2 years ago By that definition, Captain Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager is a superhero. Which I think we'd all agree she isn't.
What unique or special ability or technology does she have? The ship isn't unique it's one of a class of ships and any Captain can command it.
So I would say she doesn't meet the criteria laid out to begin with
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Damselbinder »

"Elevated status" yes, "rare ability or carried technology", yes, "used to regularly fight wrongdoers" yes.

And hell, if you don't accept that example, let's just say Seven of Nine. She has even unique-r abilities, she fights wrongdoers. Not a superhero though.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Deceiver »

Damselbinder wrote: 2 years ago "Elevated status" yes, "rare ability or carried technology", yes, "used to regularly fight wrongdoers" yes.
Saying "yes" doesn't explain what you mean. I've already said I'm not familiar with the show. Let's just park this. She's unlikely to meet the criteria anyway.
Damselbinder wrote: 2 years agoAnd hell, if you don't accept that example, let's just say Seven of Nine. She has even unique-r abilities, she fights wrongdoers. Not a superhero though.
Okay, this one from the same show is more interesting. She's a Borg. I remember these - a sort of alien cyborg. She has to be treated within the context of the setting. She's an alien officer aboard a starship in a universe where aliens are commonplace. When an ability is commonplace, it is no longer rare. I expect she has no "elevated status" in the way I would define it. For her to have such a status, I think she would need to gain a reputation for fighting wrongdoers outside of her role of the service.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by tallyho »

Damselbinder wrote: 2 years ago "Elevated status" yes, "rare ability or carried technology", yes, "used to regularly fight wrongdoers" yes.
What elevated status due to unique or rare abilities - she is a captain with the leadership qualities captains have which is why they get promoted to captaincy. There are lots of Captains. What carried tech? I assumed you meant Voyager itself but as I say that's one of a class of ships. She's not actively setting out to fight wrong doers, she's just dealing with them when they cross her path.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Maskripper »

You are all making it too complicated ;-)
My simple "solution":

Woman + costume + superpowers = Super heroine ---- (examples: Supergirl, Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman)
Woman + costume + special abilities = heroine ----- (examples: Batgirl, Huntress, Spoiler)

And they all fight against some kind of evil off course.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Deceiver »

Maskripper wrote: 2 years ago You are all making it too complicated ;-)
My simple "solution":

Woman + costume + superpowers = Super heroine ---- (examples: Supergirl, Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman)
Woman + costume + special abilities = heroine ----- (examples: Batgirl, Huntress, Spoiler)
When I was a kid, there was this trick question, which of the following is not a superhero? Superman? Batman? Or Spiderman? Of course, the answer was Batman. "He's not a superhero, he's a crimefighter!" we'd smugly reply.

In the superhero genre, nobody uses the term 'crimefighter' anymore. Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Batwoman are superheroes now. We're trying to find a definition which includes all kinds but precludes non-superheroes. It isn't easy...
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by batgirl1969 »

The perfect Superheroine!!
She-Ra.jpg
She-Ra.jpg (2.16 MiB) Viewed 3481 times
she is Blonde, has the perfect secret Identity as a princess, super rich, sexy, petite, lives in a castle, has a drop dead gorgeous God of a twin brother(would make a ffm 3some mind blowing with them) plus she is more than likely a Virgin, an untouched Goddess of a Girl....and now...a Lesbian...
we just wrapped up the Netflix She-Ra series so my GF and I are working on a Catra(me) & She-Ra couples cosplay. Imagine such a petite gorgeous tan blonde super sexy superheroine like her....every man on Etheria wants her and every woman wants to be her....her virginal powers make her even more wanted....imagine taking from her that which she protects as her virtue is almost angelic, unless while a subject of Shadow Weaver she was secretly seduced and shown the sapphic powers of the Horde witch!!!
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by DonShip »

batgirl1969 wrote: 2 years ago The perfect Superheroine!!
She-Ra.jpg

she is Blonde, has the perfect secret Identity as a princess, super rich, sexy, petite, lives in a castle, has a drop dead gorgeous God of a twin brother(would make a ffm 3some mind blowing with them) plus she is more than likely a Virgin, an untouched Goddess of a Girl....and now...a Lesbian...
we just wrapped up the Netflix She-Ra series so my GF and I are working on a Catra(me) & She-Ra couples cosplay. Imagine such a petite gorgeous tan blonde super sexy superheroine like her....every man on Etheria wants her and every woman wants to be her....her virginal powers make her even more wanted....imagine taking from her that which she protects as her virtue is almost angelic, unless while a subject of Shadow Weaver she was secretly seduced and shown the sapphic powers of the Horde witch!!!
That sounds like an amazing story or film!
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by bare_thighz »

Damselbinder wrote: 2 years ago The problem with that argument is that you can extend it out to anything. ...So for any example, even if it's clearly a superhero without a particular distinctive appearance, you can say that it doesn't count.
You want to be really philosophical here, I would say that a costume is essential to the very concept of a superhero, ergo, even the concept of a superhero wouldn't exist eidetically without a superhero's costume. So, yes, none of these examples would count, as we wouldn't even be talking about superheroes in first place without this essence of the superhero concept.

But, to consider this further, in a show like Wonder Woman, there are scenes where Diana Prince is subjected to some peril situations without being in her Wonder Woman costume. The question is, is Diana Prince, without her costume, still a superheroine? I would say no. As far as the fetish is concerned, I hate it when Diana Prince is in peril. I'm like, why couldn't they have done that to Wonder Woman? Or in The Killing Joke, where Joker shoots Batgirl, but only when she is Barbara Gordon. Why? Why? Why?

Your dick don't lie.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by DrDominator9 »

bare_thighz wrote: 2 years ago
But, to consider this further, in a show like Wonder Woman, there are scenes where Diana Prince is subjected to some peril situations without being in her Wonder Woman costume. The question is, is Diana Prince, without her costume, still a superheroine? I would say no. As far as the fetish is concerned, I hate it when Diana Prince is in peril. I'm like, why couldn't they have done that to Wonder Woman? Or in The Killing Joke, where Joker shoots Batgirl, but only when she is Barbara Gordon. Why? Why? Why?
I have to take exception to this, only in terms of personal preferences though, barethighz. I find it quite worthwhile when the heroine is caught out of costume and heavily imperiled...but only on a rare occasion and if it's well done. The difference also comes in with the heroine herself and her abilities. Without her spin, Diana Prince may be a half-decent martial arts practicioner but clearly she's no Wonder Woman. Trapping her so she can't spin into the mighty Amazon princess in costume can be very sexy. (Especially if you catch an upskirt or two!) Of course, catching SG out of her uniform or with it under her clothes can also be sexy (an embarrassing secret identity reveal being just one possible peril), but she is at full power no matter what she's wearing so if the villain knows who she is, he or she better be prepared to take her on! In any case, again, if well done, it can work well for me. Just one man's opinion.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by bare_thighz »

I agree with you. Dr Dom. Referring to what I said earlier, the idea of a superheroine is pregnant with the image of a superheroine in her costume, so even when a superheroine is not in costume, your brain still makes that association, but the degree of it can vary. In the situations you mentioned, the idea of the superheroine being in her costume is almost on the surface, so those scenarios do work.

I'll revise what I said though. Even when Diana Prince is just hanging around and has no intention of being Wonder Woman, she still is a superheroine, but to a much less degree than the mind acknowledges, and I think that's what I meant reply to damselbinder all along. Superheroinness can be felt intensely or mildly. A superheroine not wearing her costume makes her superheroinness more mild, but she is still a superheroine.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by batgirl1969 »

How about ballgagging Mary Marvel so she can't yell Shazam!! sexxxy!!
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by bushwackerbob »

DrDominator9 wrote: 2 years ago
bare_thighz wrote: 2 years ago
But, to consider this further, in a show like Wonder Woman, there are scenes where Diana Prince is subjected to some peril situations without being in her Wonder Woman costume. The question is, is Diana Prince, without her costume, still a superheroine? I would say no. As far as the fetish is concerned, I hate it when Diana Prince is in peril. I'm like, why couldn't they have done that to Wonder Woman? Or in The Killing Joke, where Joker shoots Batgirl, but only when she is Barbara Gordon. Why? Why? Why?
I have to take exception to this, only in terms of personal preferences though, barethighz. I find it quite worthwhile when the heroine is caught out of costume and heavily imperiled...but only on a rare occasion and if it's well done. The difference also comes in with the heroine herself and her abilities. Without her spin, Diana Prince may be a half-decent martial arts practicioner but clearly she's no Wonder Woman. Trapping her so she can't spin into the mighty Amazon princess in costume can be very sexy. (Especially if you catch an upskirt or two!) Of course, catching SG out of her uniform or with it under her clothes can also be sexy (an embarrassing secret identity reveal being just one possible peril), but she is at full power no matter what she's wearing so if the villain knows who she is, he or she better be prepared to take her on! In any case, again, if well done, it can work well for me. Just one man's opinion.
I too love the idea of the heroine being caught out of costume. The thought of her imperiled, and if she can only break free for a moment she can transform into her superheroine alter ego and rescue herself from the dastardly villain. I love that dynamic, the thought that freedom and rescue are only a twirl away. In the SHIP fiction I have found quite a few stories with that dynamic and they were excellent. I have seen a couple SHIP films with this dynamic and they are OK but they lose a little something in the translation in that the embarrassment and chagrin our heroine feels being captured by a villain in her civilian alter ego and unable to transform, you lose a little of that sort of psychological inner turmoil the heroine feels being caught unawares.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by dragontigerandhorse1985 »

Damselbinder wrote: 2 years ago
Dazzle1 wrote: 2 years ago For me

1. They fight the baddies

2. Has to have:

Special powers - Super Girl/Wonder Woman
Extraordinary training or weapons Batgirl/Huntress
3. Armour or magic device - Female Green Lantern

So although they are on the side of good and capable: Lara Croft or Modesty Blaise would not qualify
By that definition, then, is King Arthur a superhero? He fights the baddies. He has a magic sword. Is the Doctor (Who) a superhero? He has all sorts of powers and special tools, after all.

Likewise, if Superman didn't actually fight crime, but just rescued people from natural disasters, would that mean he's not a superhero?
How about Bruce Lee and his student Chuck Norris?

The only person Norris could not beat was his master, Bruce Lee, and Norris defeated all others.

Sadly, Bruce Lee was murdered, but his heroic spirit lives on in his disciples.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by arkane »

sneakly wrote: 2 years ago I was thinking what makes a super heroine. Supergirl has a costume, fights baddies, has a secret identity and super powers, that is pretty straight forward. Batgirl has all that but really has no super powers at all. Sabrina, has super powers, fights baddies, but lacks a costume. Does she count? Lara Croft? Penelope Pitstop has no powers, does have a costume, interacts with baddies, but always seems to lose (a popular trope for super heroines....

Curious to find out what others think might be a qualifier.
In my opinion "superheroine" or "superhero" are just a way of calling a person with some superior skill or magic ability or perception as a hero/vigilante in the public eye, in the scope of USA-created comics, cartoons, movies, etc. [and the following imitations in the rest of the world, see for example https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/They_Call_Me_Jeeg ].

If you try to get a precise factual definition, you'll overlap with a lot of different cases from other cultures, mythologies etc. A Norse god is not a superhero, but Thor has been treated as one by Marvel. Not all superheroes have superpowers, or costumes, etc. Many cultures have characters with something in common to "superheroes" without being necessarily perceived as such. So, IMHO, the only way you can state a difference is the origin of the character in the comics (and other media) from the USA or derivative from them.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by ThatOnePervert »

I think it's all about scale, there has to be a super element to them, that's defined by the universe around them. Are cops superheroes? No. Is Green Lantern a superhero? Absolutely. Why? Because Cops are rocking basic shit and they number in the millions while the Green Lanterns have incredibly powerful energy rings and are limited to 2-4 to a sector, their rarity and power make them, for lack of a better word, super.

Ironically with the King Arthur debate from earlier I would argue if Black Panther is a superhero why not King Arthur? If a magic herb and vibranium suits can make you a hero than a magic sword and a suit of armor should do the same.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Femina »

Batman isn't a superhero, he's a Vigilante. IF you want to call him a superhero than you have to then deduce that his intelligence is 'superhuman'.... but IMO he's not actually technically a superhero (Same with someone like Iron Man) but unless they possess something that is literally IMPOSSIBLE by natural means I would label them just a 'Hero' or 'Heroine' they may take UNUSUAL means to give themselves an enormous advantage, but essentially possess nothing that an ordinary human being could not POSSIBLY attain themselves. The Batmobile can be driven by anyone, ONLY Kryptonians and other supernaturally empowered characters can FLY.

... It's also worth noting (to play devils advocate with myself for awhile) that the SUPER status of a hero or heroine is essentially from the perspective of the regular human beings around them... because additionally in 'theory' at least the Kryptonians are JUST aliens that happen to be super powered on Earth and (at least also in theory concerning the DC universe) there likely exists planets in the galaxy where human beings are 'super'

......................

That said, IMO 'vigilante' heroes like Batman and them aren't Superheroes... and all I require for my enjoyment of the 'fetish' by example is that there be a 'heroine' SUPER is just spice.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Imagineer »

Paul Kersey (protagonist of Death Wish) is a vigilante.
If you wear a costume and successfully fight evil, you're a superhero.

You can make a distinction between the natural and the supernatural if you choose/need, and the tautology of Batman can be fun nerd philosophy, but the cultural consensus of the genre is clear.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Damselbinder »

Imagineer wrote: 1 year ago Paul Kersey (protagonist of Death Wish) is a vigilante.
If you wear a costume and successfully fight evil, you're a superhero.

You can make a distinction between the natural and the supernatural if you choose/need, and the tautology of Batman can be fun nerd philosophy, but the cultural consensus of the genre is clear.
Zorro wears a costume and successfully fights evil. So does El Santo. Are they superheroes?
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Imagineer »

Damselbinder wrote: 1 year ago Zorro wears a costume and successfully fights evil. So does El Santo. Are they superheroes?
Zorro? Yes, he is the progenitor for Batman. Whether his costume was distinctive enough to qualify de jure as a superhero costume in the post-Superman sense is perhaps up for debate, but sfaik all-black wasn't normal attire for the period, and he signed his work, so he wasn't just trying to pass for an anonymous bandit.

El Santo? YES:


BTW I want his car.
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Damselbinder »

Imagineer wrote: 1 year ago
Damselbinder wrote: 1 year ago Zorro wears a costume and successfully fights evil. So does El Santo. Are they superheroes?
Zorro? Yes, he is the progenitor for Batman. Whether his costume was distinctive enough to qualify de jure as a superhero costume in the post-Superman sense is perhaps up for debate, but sfaik all-black wasn't normal attire for the period, and he signed his work, so he wasn't just trying to pass for an anonymous bandit.

El Santo? YES:


BTW I want his car.
You've activated my trap card, because I completely agree with you.

Especially El Santo!
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Evil Spider »

Well obviously some mysterious superpowers and extremely tight and sexy spandex costume!
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Re: What constitutes a super heroine?

Post by Bert »

I don't see how vigilante and superhero are mutually exclusive. Most superheroes are vigilantes. Unless a superhero is working exclusively for the government or law enforcement, they are vigilantes.

As for the "hero" "superhero" distinction, meh, it's mostly semantics. They're just labels. You can still enjoy Alanis Morissette's "Ironic", even if it's not really about irony.
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