She orders him around

I guess it would be really surprising to see Stephanie Brown ordering Tim to help her look after her child once she’s got a lot of things to do. Completing her education or learning something new, working at a restaurant and looking after her family whilst trying to keep calm. That actually sounds like what many other people go through.

The only problem is some people would find it hard to believe that Stephanie’s now a working mum who nags at Tim. Never mind there’s already a precedent or two in both DC and Marvel. Marvel’s got Peter Parker who started working at a young age to support himself and Aunt May after Uncle Ben died. Then there’s Iris West who infamously nags at her bf Barry Allen. It’s not a big stretch for Steph to do both.

That’s other than letting go of the Steph they knew before.

Working with Spoiler

If it sounds odd that Spoiler would become a working mum should she continue to care for her baby, chances are it’s actually not at all impossible. Working mothers were actually there since the Middle Ages and Renaissance especially whenever they ran local businesses and the entire household where they even got paid for it. It wasn’t necessarily any better before but at least that’s needed for survival. The man as sole breadwinner happened more recently.

Even today, working mothers still exist in almost all jobs. There are some mothers who even turn to prostitute to make a living. That’s not even impossible even if it’s not admirable. Though that necessitates wondering why such mothers aren’t taken kindly even if it does exist and has existed since before if hunter-gatherer and rural communities are any indication.

(Same reason why we could’ve gotten stories where Tigra works as a huntress and takes her child to hunting trips since some mothers already do this and some women do hunt.)

It’s not impossible for women to continue working even if they have families and it’s not really that bad if it’s done for survival and to help gain income and have something better to do. All what writers have to do’s to be more open to these.

She’s got to work

I still think should Stephanie continue caring for her child, chances are she’s going to get a job to support herself and her family which would mean she’s going to make Tim help her look after them. If some people do become attached to their children, as with some mothers (based on a documentary I watched) then losing the child by having them adopted by somebody else would be just as bad. I also think some essayist had a good point about the portrayal of motherhood (and child-rearing).

Not only does it interfere with idealised sex fantasies (not just with the pregnancy part but also where said female character may end up nagging at her male counterpart for not helping*) but also where it’s sometimes treated with suspicion or at least any degree of it. Madelyne Pryor, who begat Cable, turned out to be working for Mister Sinister and became evil. Stephanie Brown got impregnated by another man and was something of a troublemaker.

Cassandra Cain and Damian Wayne have villainnesses for mothers and both Cable and Rachel ended up being raised by somebody else. (The latter being Jean and Scott’s children though Jean did raise the former and Scott cared for the latter.) I don’t think it simply affects children but also nieces, nephews and even grandchildren.

Supergirl is Superman’s cousin but for an extended period of time her own relation to him got changed significantly and even in the older stories despite meeting Superman she ended up being raised by people other than him (in Superman’s defence he was practically orphaned upon arrival). Bart Allen came from the far-flung future and his own relatives were sent to live there or something.

Not only that he also got raised by somebody else, killed off, then reappeared with his relation to Barry changed and then reverted back. Sometimes superheroes’ children are never to be seen away, whether if they’re ignored or killed off (in Punisher’s case). I mean we could’ve gotten stories where Tigra not only hunts pests for a living but also takes her child to hunting and fishing trips.

Some mothers do the same to their own children and some women in general do hunt. Same with Stephanie Brown getting a job to support herself and her family, it’s not even unprecedented in superhero comics since Peter Parker did similarly and Supergirl also worked as a waitress (earlier still as an actress).

It’s not that motherhood and parenting are entirely devalued in superhero comics but that it’s hard coming up with superheroines who’re also dedicated biological mothers and aunts. Chances are such examples are few to begin with where you only have Jean Grey, Susan Richards and Helen Parr. There are good stepmothers like Rita Farr.

But having a superheroine remain a dedicated biological mother/aunt’s even rarer, hence why it proves somebody’s point right in linking superhero mothering with anything a little fishy (illegitimate impregnations, sometimes stemming from rape and the like). And why we never get to see Steph as a dedicated working mother.

Or Black Canary being Tim’s loyal but somtimes overprotective biological aunt.

*See also Iris West and partly why some people can’t stand her despite her importance in the Flash stories.

If/when anime dies

I have a feeling if/when anime dies, chances are it will be substituted. I even have a feeling that China and India might become the biggest animation hubs in Asia. As for manga, that too will die with anime and logically any other non-Japanese country would have to fill in the gap. Even DC and Marvel will do the same when you think about it. As for Marvel, it would be like Mangaverse but earnest in the sense of filling in a big gap.

Not to mention I even half expect romance and crime fiction to end up substituting for anime, light novels and manga. In the sense that if the anime well dried up, anime fans would have no other choice but to accept substitutes. A good number of crime writers will turn out to be anime fans. Chances are, anime’s loss would be so severe that any company and franchise will step in and fill in a big gap.

Not really feminist but

Keep in mind that the original authors behind New Gods and Legion of Super-Heroes weren’t any less misogynistic and sexist as they did have their moments. So did the writers behind the Carol Danvers stories. What I’m saying’s that there is a precedent for having a physically strong, grumpy blonde heroine in their stories. Marvel’s got Carol Danvers though she might not be the only one (if you count her alternative universe counterparts).

DC’s got Supergirl (at least in recent stories), Power Girl and Andromeda but the latter’s xenophobic at first. Conversely speaking, DC really had no issues pairing the super-strong Supergirl and Big Barda with their physically weaker male counterparts. So it wouldn’t be much of a stretch for Stephanie Brown to end up better than weightlifting than Tim is as well as nagging at him for lazing around.

The other problem’s that I think for Robin writers and even some fans, the thought of Steph being much stronger than Tim is emasculates them. (There are some Superman fans who’re intimidated by the possibility of Supergirl being stronger than him.) Never mind that DC had no issues pairing Supergirl with Brainiac 5, who’s much weaker than her. Again it’s sexism.

Sexism over there

I’m not doubting if Disney is flawed, both its creator and the entire company itself. I won’t doubt if people already speak about their shortcomings. But as for Pixar, it seemed there wasn’t just a profound atmosphere of sexism (indeed just a few female characters, let alone female leads at that) but also what could’ve been Pixar’s first female directed film. If Brave was supposed to take place in a winter setting and was going to be directed by a woman, wouldn’t that make Frozen (itself was there in the making) practically what Brave should’ve been?

Given it fired certain sexist professionals there, I won’t be surprised if it’s putting much more effort in making female characters be protagonists though it could’ve been there before. (I even suspect somewhere in the vaults, there are drafts of a more assertive or flawed female character which morphed into certain recognisable Pixar heroines.) I won’t doubt if Disney these days does bother improving existing female characters, including those it acquired from other companies.

Maybe into maximum overdrive but still.

In 30 Years Time

It’s been a long time since Disney bought Marvel (almost and technically a decade ago), I think children by this generation would’ve already known Iron Man and Captain America as Disney characters. I even think my own children and grandchildren (if I get them soon) would think the same way too. Being from an older generation, I would’ve been used to thinking of Marvel characters as separate from Disney characters which would make sense as Marvel wasn’t owned by Disney then (though it did publish Disney comics before).

However since Disney bought Marvel, it’s unsurprising to see Marvel merchandise coexist with Canonical Disney merchandise. Marvel programmes now air at the Disney Channel. Unsurprisingly and conversely speaking, Winx and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles now air at Nickelodeon if because Viacom (that channel’s owner) bought a substantial stake in Winx’s studio and the entire TMNT brand. DC was bought by WB a long time ago so it’s really unsurprising Green Lantern showed up on Duck Dodgers.

(And I even remember it!)

Same with Star Wars and in 2049, people would see them as Disney characters too.