Superpower Girls

Superpower Girls: Female Representation in the Sci-fi/Superhero Genre

A study by Women’s Media Center and BBC, October 2018

SuperheroStudy

Key take-aways:

  • “Every demographic group we spoke to expressed a strong desire for more female superheroes…”
  • “Female sci-fi/superheroes are more impactful sources of inspiration for girls than male heroes are for boys, empowering girls—and especially girls of color—to believe they can achieve anything they put their mind to.”
  • “Teen girls are significantly less likely than teen boys to describe themselves as confident, brave, and heard. And these challenges are even more pronounced for girls of color.”
  • “Despite notable campaigns to boost women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), we still see a 23-point gender gap between teen boys and girls with regards to interest in STEM careers.”
  • “1 in 3 teens [including boys] agree that girls have fewer opportunities than boys to be leaders.”
  • “If you can’t see her, you can’t be her,” BBC America President Sarah Barnett

Library considerations:

  • How many sci-fi/superhero movies for teens does my library show featuring strong female leads?
  • How many strong female leads does my library emphasize when we have sci-fi/superhero fandom events?
  • Looking at displays of TV and movies for teens in my library and at my library’s online presence, how many items feature a strong female lead?
  • What percentage of my library’s teen advisory council (or similar) are girls? Is this representative of the percentage of regulars who are teen girls?
  • Looking at the leadership opportunities my library offers teens, what percentage are offered to teen girls? Is this representative of the percentage of regulars who are teen girls?

Book Review – Chime by Franny Billingsley

From the book jacket – “17-year-old Briony Larkin has a secret.  She believes her secret killed her stepmother, destroyed her twin sister’s mind, and threatens all the children in the Swampsea.  She yearns to be rid of her terrible secret, but risks being hanged if she tells a soul.  That’s what happens to witches: They’re hanged by the neck until dead.

Then Eldric arrives–Eldric with his golden mane and lion eyes and electric energy–and he refuses to believe anything dark about Briony.  But he wonders what’s been buried beneath her self-hatred, hidden in Rose’s deepest thoughts, and whispered about by the Old Ones.  And Briony wonders how Eldric can make her want to cry…especially when everyone knows that witches can’t cry.  A wild, haunting mystery and romance that is as beautifully written as it is captivating.”

From Booklist – “…Exploring the powers of guilt and redemption, Billingsley (The Folk Keeper, 1999) has crafted a dark, chilling yet stunning world. Briony’s many mysteries and occasional sardonic wit make her a force to be reckoned with. Exquisite to the final word.–Leeper, Angela Copyright 2010 Booklist”

From me – A poetic and atmospheric tale set in backwater Britain.  The language creates an atmosphere that doesn’t leave when the book is over.  On my list of potential Mock Printz titles.