Superman, Batman, Wolverine…bla bla bla. It’s about time that we heard it for the girls who keep the Earth spinning properly on its axis, in the face of campy-cruel villains and their danger. Television has provided a bountiful array of badass lady leaders and heroes. But where’s the restrospective on their heroic and female-positive ways that they deserve? We’ve noticed this dearth and seek to amend it with this article, chronicling our ten superheroines who make a rescue feel like a rock concert. Maybe they’re born with it, maybe it’s mayday-mania. But something about these power women makes us swoon.
1. Wonder Woman
Originally based on the prowess and indomitability of the Amazons, Wonder Woman has gone on to take up a position in our society as the emblem of feminism that kicks chauvinistic butt, and takes names. She’s been around since the 1940s, but vaulted to fame through the 1970s series starring Lynda Carter. Warner Bros. has announced plans to revamp the series for a modern audience.
Batman and Robin met their girlpower match with this battily beautiful figure. She first appeared in the comics in the mid-1960s, and Barbara Gordon charmingly embodied her character on the kistchy television series just a year after Batgirl’s comic debut. What’s the secret to her popularity? Perhaps its that combination of a not-a-girl-not-yet-a-woman vibe with some slick wings that bat away evildoers with ease.
3. The Bionic Woman
The Six Million Dollar Man, a hit superhero fantasy series of the ’60s, found its match in Lindsay Wagner, who brought a feel of “anything you can do, I can do better.” That affirmation held true, as Wagner eventually earned her own series as the beautiful Bionic woman. The show ran for only two seasons, but Wagner’s mechanical wrangling sensibilities successfully infiltrated the zeitgeist.
4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The nineties were all about two things. One was marveling at a certain president who could — gasp! — jam on the saxophone. The other was ogling over the brand of voluptuous grit harnessed by Sarah Michelle Gellar as she vanquished Dracula’s descendants on this hit cult fantasy series.
5. Claire the Cheerleader
Hayden Panettiere made a quantum lead into the higher echelons of celebrity with her invigorating performance as a rah-rah-sis-boom-bah girl who can conjure a new foot, nose, or hairdo as it’s needed. Her bravery was such a hit in our culture that “save the cheerleader” became the hottest catchphrase of the mid-2000s.
6. Kara Zor-El
Kara, aka Supergirl, is not Superman’s daughter, but rather his cousin. And what a crimefighting duo they have occasionally come together to make. The very fact that Supergirl exists is testament to the truth that all ladies know — there’s no way that near-omipotence should ever be restricted to the boys.
Currently portrayed by Courtney Whitmore on Smallville, Stargirl comes off like a melange of Supergirl and Sailor Moon. There’s nothing silly about her compunction against evil though — a great message for young girls, in that being pretty doesn’t mean being a pushover.
8. Electra Woman and Dynagirl
So… this wasn’t exactly the most successful superheroine series to ever air on television. In the shadow of Bionic Woman, this female duo couldn’t capitalize on the extra power-woman love and lasted only one mere season. Still, the pairing is remembered for being the sweet yet sock-it-to-em antidote to Batman and Robin.
9. Powerpuff Girls
There’s no way any superheroine listing of any real import could ignore the uber-cute sensation of this animated trio. Arguably more than any other figure on our list (besides Buffy and Bionic), these little girls showed how feminism and ferocity were ultimately irresistible.
10. Birds of Prey
Only a baker’s dozen’s worth of episodes resulted from television’s attempt to chronicle the prowess of these eagle-elegant ladies. Still, the Birds of Prey linger in memory ten years later, because their steely commitment to virtue consistently took flight.