Superhero stories have been called the myths of our day, helping us understand who we are and what unites us. Since Superman first leapt tall buildings with a single bound, the vast majority of the characters have been white, straight, men. Movies and television have consistently held to this standard, giving us Han Solo and Luke Skywalker to root for as they rescue Leia. However, in recent years we have seen new faces in popular franchises and behind the masks of our already beloved heroes.
Mantels have been passed, creating a more diverse universe. Her TEDx Talk addresses why these new faces matter and why it’s important when a hero looks just like you.
Debra Jenson studies communication and social justice groups, including the representation of marginalized groups in popular culture. Her work has previously focused on narratives around religious feminism and the American environmental movement.