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A World Turned Red: The Unbearable Burden of Superheroines

Well, I must admit Wonder Woman and the Black Widow top my list of all-time favorite female superheroines. But since Viki and Tina had the same thought, I had to dig deeper, think wider and come up with another  With some reflection, I decided to twist the topic just a touch–to look at a particularly difficult yoke all super heroes carry.

Isolation. The aloneness of an outstretched hand that never meets another.

While heroes feel it, in heroines it can take a very physical reality.

Two heroines in particular:  Rogue and Red Sonja–both redheads.

Rogue, of X-men fame, drew me from the start. Her inability to touch another human directly without draining their power and the 120px-Rogueemotional toll it took on her encapsulated the soul-wrenching loneliness of the powerful, the special, the supremely gifted. No other heroine or hero ever captured that reality as well as she did. When she fell in love with Gambit, never to touch… The sad irony, that to use her powers she must touch another, built into the character, a reminder that that which makes us strong can be our weakest link.  That cost has Rogue moving in and out of the dark side.

Red Sonja,  created by Robert Howard who is considered the father of the sword and sorcery genre, was stunning, sexy and indifferent to it. That woman was in full control of her blade and herself. A warrior for hire in the Conan the Barbarian men-are-men-and-women-are-chattel world, she cut her own way, exemplifying that women indeed could. The deity who gave her fighting skills did so with a cost–Sonja could only bed a man who could best her in battle. She too was given strict limitations on her ability to connect with a lover physically. For the most part, she walked alone and slept alone. Rarely to be held.

 

What do you see as the burdens super heroines (and/or heroes) carry?  Who’s your favorite?  Any other Rogue or Sonja fans out there?

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