If you loved Wonder Woman, its time you get acquainted with others like her, writes Neha Pant

Over the years, super-heroines have been at the receiving end of much criticism for being sexualised, propagating stereotypes that fit general male fantasies. The fact that most of these characters were created by men only made the case for criticism stronger. Even Super Woman who was first created in the 1940s, had to bear the brunt of sexism, after all, she was a reflection of the times. But Wonder Woman, like its eccentric creator, Dr. William Moulton Marston, was always something else. “Frankly, Wonder Woman is psychological propaganda for the new type of woman who, I believe, should rule the world,” Marston once said. And ever since she came to life in 1941, that’s what she’s been. No other comic heroine has had much of an appeal as her.

Even though by the 1970s, the representation of women in comics was getting slightly better. But it was also a time when there was an “Adam’s rib effect.” According to Sean Howe, author of Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, “it wasn’t just that these characters were less well thought-out than their male counterparts; they were actually derived from their popular holdings.” Yes, the lack of a female readership was still a problem, but this was the time when Marvel Girl—the weakest character in X-Men—transformed into the unbeatable Phoenix. The 70s was also when Wasp from the Avenger’s became brainy. Since then comic books have regularly tried hard to appeal to their female readers by dishing out characters that range from the eccentric (Dazzlerto awesome (Wakandan Queen Storm)

Despite these efforts there have been some glaring missteps, the most recent being the time when Marvel decided to hire an erotic artist to draw a variant cover for the first issue of the new Spider Woman and the very recent DC fiasco, where the (New 52) Wonder Woman marched into battle with a pout and a teddy bear. Thank god we have the movie to erase that ghastly image from our memories forever. And if you’ve seen the movie and loved it as much as we did, we encourage you to delve deeper into the world of female super-heroes, there are so many and they are all empowering. Check out the sbcltr list below.

Kamala Khan

You can credit her for changing the game forever. She is a fifteen year old Pakistani-muslim-American girl from Jersey city. She is a regular teen who is struggling to deal with her parents, fit in and is also obsessed with The Avengers.  She is bestowed with the powers of healing and shape shifting one night when she has snuck out for a party and life is never the same again for her. She must learn how to navigate her superpowers the same way she is learning how to navigate her journey into adulthood. Quite a coming of age story we say! The best part about Kamala Khan is that she is written by an actual muslim woman, G.Willow Wilson.

Carol Danvers
            
It is hard not to love Captain Marvel aka Carol Danvers. She is one of The Avengers, lives in an apartment on top of the Statue of Liberty, has Spider Woman as her bff and is a trained Air-Force pilot. She can kick butt with or without her superpowers of energy beam and flight, which she received during an alien explosion. Oh and she also has a Cat called Chewy (hello Star Wars) and her own movie, which is set for release in 2018.

Barbara Gordon

She has an eidetic memory and a black belt and is committed to fighting crime. Plus she has a degree in forensic psychology from college and is trying to juggle her life as regular twenty something in Burnside (Gotham’s version of Brooklyn)  as she attempts to knock down psychopaths. Gordon’s aka Batgirl’s book these days also features some trans characters, which is refreshing to say the least considering how under represented in the comic book world.

Rat Queens

Their creator Kurtis Weibe, famously described them as Lord of the Rings meets Bridesmaids, the description fits most accurately. The comic book won the 2014 Eisner Award for the best new comic series and rightly so. It features four unique womenHannah, a necromancer who is drawn to the evil side; Violet, a dwarven warrior who shaved her beard; Dee, the shy cleric who is dealing with her escape from a cult and Betty, a halfling hippie bartender/thief who loves to get high. These girls don’t care what you think of them and this is what you will love most about them.

Suze

The Star of Sex CriminalsSuze has the power of stopping time every time she orgasms, after which she can meander freely through The Quiet (her name for the frozen world). She then meets Jon who can do the same thing and they decide to exploit their time-freezing powers as a couple to do some crazy things. The fun takes a stressful turn when it turns out they are not the only people who can manipulate time. The Sex Police is after them and they must find a way to get out quick. The heart of this book is Suze’s natural comedy.

Sonja

This Viking warrior has been around for longer than Wonder Woman , she is currently written by Gail Simoneone of the most talented voices in comics, who describes Sonja as “mayhem, blood, sex, and red hair,” and “lusty, a bit of a drunkard [who] does what she wants, says what she wants, and if you give her any shit, it’s entirely possible she’ll slay you and your best friend and your best friend’s cat.”  She’s as badass as one can be.
P.S: She wears a bikini because she can and because it makes her feel good, not so that you can ogle at her.

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