ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

Now, say what you like about Marvel and DC's depiction of women in movies (no, really, do), but the names of our cinematic female heroes are pretty darned awesome. From Black Widow, Captain Marvel and Gamora, all the way through to Wonder Woman and The Wasp, the naming of female superheroes exists on very much the same level of general bad-assery as that of their male counterparts.

Back in the day, though, that was very much less the case. There have, historically, been a whole lot of perfectly awesome female superheroes who've wound up lumbered with some truly awful - and monumentally sexist - names.

Here are ten of the most ridiculous...

10. Power Girl

Now, Supergirl escapes mention on this list by virtue of her actually having been very pointedly a teenager for most of her existence, but her alternate reality counterpart Power Girl? Well, she's still stuck being called 'Girl' despite being both insanely powerful...and very much a grown ass woman.

9. Ms Marvel

Much like Supergirl, the new (Kamala Khan) Ms Marvel can legitimately get away with being called Ms Marvel, seeing as she's actively dealing with being a teenager. The original (Carol Danvers) Ms Marvel, on the other hand, was basically intended to be a female version of the male superhero Captain Marvel, making even the token gesture towards feminism of making her a Ms rather than a Miss seem like too little, too late.

It's no real surprise that Danvers recently switched to Captain Marvel...

8. Lightning Lass

Now, in some ways, Lightning Lass probably deserves a pass here, seeing as she's a part of the (invariably ridiculously named) Legion of Superheroes. After all, her twin brother has the similarly silly-sounding name Lightning Lad.

Even so, though, she's not Scottish, so the 'Lass' just comes across as vaguely patronizing.

7. Shrinking Violet

While she may have had naming issues, Lightning Lass did, at least, get to be something of a pioneer in another area - with her relationship with fellow Legionnaire Shrinking Violet proving one of the most notable (and enduring) same-sex relationships in DC comic book history.

It's just kind of a shame that Shrinking Violet's name was basically just there to indicate that she was both able to shrink, and painfully shy. Note that, by contrast, Superman isn't named Red-and-Blue-Do-Gooder, or Batman known as Childhood-Trauma-Issues-Man.

6. Lady Bullseye

Another variation on that whole 'unnecessarily feminized variation on a male character's name' deal, Lady Bullseye is a spin-off of the crazed assassin Bullseye...who's also a lady.

Why she isn't just called Bullseye - much like the awesome female Hawkeye, Kate Bishop - is only partly explained away by her being inspired by manga legend Lady Snowblood...

5. Elektra

Now, on the one hand, Elektra could simply be a cool-sounding Greek name which was deemed to work as both a first and code-name by her creators.

On the other, it's a weirdly on-the-nose reference to her obsession with the men in her life (and especially her father) - what with an Elektra Complex being the Jungian psychological concept of a woman competing against her mother for her father's love...

4. She-Hulk

Another classic example of an awesome character tagged with a weirdly male-character-based name, She-Hulk has forever been defined by her cousin Bruce Banner, simply because her name is just his, but with 'She' shoved in front of it.

The fact that she's a super-smart lawyer with far fewer rage issues - as opposed to her id-monster cousin - doesn't seem to have been much of a factor...

3. Looker

Originally an introverted bank teller, Emily 'Lia' Briggs was transformed into a metahuman by the passing Halley's Comet (the '80s were weird), and suddenly became a stunningly attractive and immensely confident superhero/model named...Looker.

Because what was clearly far more important than her superheroic psionic abilities was her ability attractive?

2. Thor Girl

Now, this is technically another example of the same sort of 'girl-ification' of an existing superhero as Supergirl, et al - but with one notable, and problematic, difference.

Thor isn't the superhero's codename. His name is actually Thor.

So forcing the Norse goddess (well, sort of) Tarene to be 'Thor Girl' is basically the equivalent of making a female Spider-Man be 'Peter Parker-Girl.'

Also worth noting? The new female Thor is not called Thor-Woman.

1. Lady Cop

She's a cop...who's also a woman. Therefore...Lady Cop.

As opposed to all of those other female police officers, who just call themselves, y'know, cops.

The best part? DC comics have actually had two separate heroes called Lady Cop - with the most recent debuting as recently as the 1970s...

What do you think, though?

via io9


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