The release and success of Captain Marvel firmly marked a new era in the world of superheroes: a strong female representation within one of the most influential, top-grossing sectors of Hollywood. However, this trend isn’t new or unique to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Well-known female heroines Supergirl and Wonder Woman were created in the 40s and 50s. DC released its female lead TV show, Supergirl, in 2015 on the CW. On Netflix, Marvel released Jessica Jones the same year. In 2017, DC released blockbuster-hit Wonder Woman in theaters. While the story of Wonder Woman, nor the story of any of these heroines, isn’t new, when their stories were told on the biggest stage, promoted across the world and the internet, it promoted something bigger than a movie: the empowerment of women.

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A game-changing film for DC, Wonder Woman not only reinstated faith in the movie franchise after the Suicide Squad debacle, but it became the fourth top-grossing movie for DC at $821 million. Beyond the numbers, Wonder Woman was a film about the power of femininity. Her comic book conception was to rival masculinity, so it was fitting this movie made waves against the male-dominated genre. Wonder Woman told the story of a strong, fearless, feminine hero dominating on the historically male-dominated battlefield. She embodies the duality of strength and morality, while emphasizing the need for kindness and fearlessness.

Captain Marvel embodies this same strength and fearlessness, but through a modern lens. Her journey towards becoming a hero starts long before she has superpowers. In flashbacks, we see young Carol Danvers pushing the boundaries of gender and society. She faced the same real problems that many women have faced. Her superpower isn’t being able to shoot beams of energy out of her hands, but rather, her ability to pursue what she wants relentlessly and being resilient to adversity despite a male-dominated environment. She becomes an airforce pilot in a time when women aren’t allowed to fly into combat yet and battles the misogynistic culture that is holding her back. Her drive and fortitude coupled with her sense of duty makes her a hero that didn’t need powers to fight for what’s wrong in society. Sure, having beams of radiant energy shoot out from her extremities contributes to her high rate of success, but standing up to her foes, whether it be a societal concept or alien races, is something that inspires women of all ages and backgrounds to do the same.

These movies aren’t just about generating box office success; they’re about inspiring little girls to be strong and resilient, to rise up against any foe, to embrace their femininity, and be powerful without regret. They’re about providing a visible role model to inspire women and young girls alike. For so long the only “heroes” people could look up to were white and male. Now, a new generation of young girls is beginning to see more heroes like them. SuperHERoes are shaping the way women view themselves and envision their futures, and I’m here for it.

COVER PHOTO: Gamespot