• Yehudit Zicklin-Sidikman

Empowerment, Boundary-Setting & Consent in Pop Culture, Part 2 - Supergirl

Updated: Dec 16, 2020



Our second example of a positive example of empowerment and boundary setting comes from Supergirl.


Specifically, this scene where Nia Nal, a superhero "in training" defends her friend / romantic partner and ally Brainy:



What we can learn from this:


First of all, watch Nia's hands. Does that stance look familiar? I have rarely, or maybe even never, seen such an accurate portrayal of Empowerment Self Defense (even though they don't call it that) on television.


Second of all, besides being a great example of bystander intervention, the scene shows a woman (actually, a transgender woman, but hopefully someday that won't be as newsworthy) coming to the defense of a man.


How often do we get to see that?


Nia is a superhero. She could probably knock the pizza guy over with one finger. But she successfully uses verbal strategies before the physical.

And think about this. Nia is a superhero. She could probably knock the pizza guy over with one finger. But she successfully uses verbal strategies before the physical.


What I might change:


Personally, I'd think about removing the "Did I stutter?" line.


Nia's job is to de-escalate the situation and keep Brainy safe, neither of which require insulting the aggressor.


That said, Nia's superhero skills grow during each episode, and I do appreciate that the show makes a point of not fighting "for fight's sake."


That said, Nia's superhero skills grow during each episode, and I do appreciate that the show makes a point of not fighting "for fight's sake."

In the world of Supergirl, violence of any kid is always a last resort, and there are discussions about the difference between assertiveness and aggression:



"Well, I meant more 'hands on hips,' not 'screaming in face.'"


Well, I meant more "hands on hips," not "screaming in face."

I knew it! Supergirl "loves her hips!" (At least I like to think so.)


What are your favorite examples of consent in comic books / superhero stories?


< Part 1 - Frozen | Part 3 - One Day At A Time >

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