My Superhero Self-Help blog (male edition) was so well received (https://psychobabblechat.com/2015/04/05/superhero-self-help/) that I felt it only right to allow their female counterparts to represent as well. I know female superheroes (or superheroines) are not equally represented in pop culture, but their stories are just as pointed and important. Narrowing my list down to ten was a bit of a challenge, but I avoided those that were female counterparts to male superheroes (i.e., Supergirl to Superman or Batgirl to Batman). I did think it interesting they were always called “girl” to their partner’s “man”. That is a discussion for another day.
Here are the amazing self-help books these amazing female superheroes would have to offer:
- Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman was born as warrior princess of the Amazons who took on the secret identity of Diana Prince when she came to live in the “Man’s World”. She has a number of superpowers and abilities as well as an arsenal of weapons at her disposal (i.e, lasso of truth and an invisible airplane). She fought against the bad guys, while also often working together with other women to battle injustice. She was a woman who demonstrated her own strengths while supporting other’s successes. Title: It’s a (Wo)Man’s World
- Storm: Ororo Munroe was born in Kenya after her tribal princess mother fell in love with an American photojournalist. She was orphaned at age 6 after her parents were killed in a botched aircraft attack. Ororo suffered lifelong claustrophobia after having been buried in rubble during the attack. Ororo is classified as a mutant and was recruited with the X-Men due to her special abilities – complete and total control of all things weather-related. Title: Digging Out: Finding the Strength to Survive the Storm
- Rogue: Anne Marie grew up in Mississippi and had a relatively traditional upbringing until her latent mutant abilities kicked in injuring her boyfriend. Rogue’s ability includes absorbing the life force (and any special abilities) of any person with whom she has skin to skin contact. Rogue learned of this ability the hard way when she kissed her boyfriend leaving him in a coma. Rogue ran away from home ultimately ending up joining up with the X-Men. Title: Developing a Loving Touch
- Phoenix: (also known as Marvel Girl and Dark Phoenix) Jean Grey is a mutant with telekinetic and telepathic powers that manifested when she saw a childhood friend hit by a car. She is often found to be warm, loving and nurturing, but (despite all of her powers) is typically best remembered for her marriage to Cyclops, training with Charles Xavier, friendship/romance with Wolverine, and relationships with other X-Men. Title: More than Just a Plus One
- Black Canary: Dinah Laurel Lance is the child of the original Black Canary (also named Dinah) and private investigator, Larry Lance. The younger Dinah grew up with her parents and a number of disbanded Justice League members as her aunts and uncles. Young Dinah wants to be a costumed superhero like her mother, but her mother feels the world is too unsafe. Young Dinah became the Black Canary against her mother’s wishes demonstrating advanced fighting skills and reflexes as well as the “Canary Cry” which can damage or stun foes or objects. Title: Following in My Mother’s Footsteps – A Cry in the Dark
- Huntress: Helena Rosa Bertinelli was born in Gotham – the daughter of a prominent mafia family. She was kidnapped and raped at 6-years-old by another mafia don to torture her father. She was sent to boarding school (with a bodyguard) and was combat-trained. At 19, she witnessed the mob-ordered murder of her whole family and vowed to end the world of the mafia with her special battle skills. Title: Turning Your Pain into Purpose
- Elektra: Elektra Natchios was raised in Greece, living a privileged life with her tycoon father after her mother passed in childbirth. Elektra and her father were held hostage when she was 20-years-old and her father was killed. Elektra vowed revenge, dropped out of college and moved to Asia to study martial arts. She was eventually corrupted by her own impulses and became an assassin. Title: Revenge: Giving in to my Anger
- Invisible Woman: Susan Storm Richards was raised in Long Island, NY, with her parents and brother, Johnny. Their childhood was not without tragedy and Sue ultimately became a mother figure to her younger brother. When her boyfriend was about to lose funding on his research project, Susan and Johnny decided to accompany the boyfriend (Reed) and his pilot on an experimental test flight. They encountered cosmic radiation which endowed them each with special abilities. Susan can make herself invisible and control invisible force fields in combat. Title: Seeing the Real Me.
- Scarlet Witch: Wanda Maximoff is the mutant offspring of X-Men villain Magneto (discussed in a later blog) and his wife, Magda. Magda ran away with the twin when she realized Magneto had mutant powers. Magda ultimately went crazy and died. Wanda and her twin brother, Pietro, were bounced around as orphan children and suffered a number of tragedies. Because Wanda was raised near a mystical mountain, she developed the ability to use magic as her mutant powers. She can manipulate reality, is an expert combatant and is a sorceress. She briefly joined her father’s band of villains before becoming an Avenger and fighting for good. Title: Not My Father’s Daughter.
- Black Widow: Natasha Romanova was born in Russia during World War I (she looks really good for her age, right?). The Nazis set her apartment on fire and her mother threw her out the window to a Russian soldier before perishing in the fire. Her backstory is a bit sketchy after that – she was either trained with a group of female orphans to be spies or was later kidnapped and trained. She was a master assassin until she was able to break away (or be rescued) and began to fight on the side of good. Title: Your Life is Your Own: No One Can Decide For You
I must say I am amazed at the number of these women who had some sort of sexual abuse, molestation and/or rape trauma in their lives. My guess is the creators of these characters felt it would give them more depth and some sort of rage/unpredictability. Is there someone great that I left out? Did I screw up someone’s backstory? Let me have it! I can take it!
Sometimes when I am out for a run, my mind begins to wander. I usually like when this happens because if my mind is wandering I am not thinking about how much farther I need to go and how soon I can be done. While my mind is wandering, I often stumble on some unusual things. Yesterday, I started wondering what it might look like if superheroes wrote self-help books. Weird, right? I couldn’t get it out of my head, so I thought I’d flesh it out here with you. I am focusing today on the male superheroes – if there is interest, I’ll focus on the ladies next.
- Captain America: What can we learn from Captain America? Hell, he could write a ton about perseverance. Steve Rogers wanted desperately to be a soldier and go to war to fight for the United States. Unfortunately, he was on the puny side and had a number of health issues that precluded his ability to enlist. Did he give up? Nope. Now, admittedly, he ultimately used a super serum to turn him into a super soldier, but it was only his good nature and intrinsic sense of right and wrong that saved him from becoming a villain drunk on his own power. Captain America could write several books about not giving up and the importance of taking care of others – especially those who are weaker and in need of help. Title: Letting out your Inner Super Soldier
- Power Rangers: I know a couple of these heroes are female, but for this blog, I am going with the majority male rule. These superheroes each wear a specific color jumpsuit and can fight individually, but when the battle gets really tough, they band together and fight even harder. Their book would promote the importance of friendship and being able to work with others. It would be all about how much more you can accomplish when you work together than you could ever dream of doing alone. Title: It’s Morphin’ Time!
- Thor: Mighty Thor is a warrior prince from the planet of Asgard. He has strength, endurance and resistance to injury that had caused him to be arrogant and selfish. Thor’s self-help book would be about the power of change – how you really can choose to become a better person. Through his time on Earth, Thor learned about the importance of protecting and caring for others. Title: The Power to Change is Stronger than Mjolnir
- Superman: Superman was sent from his home planet (Krypton) as an infant when the planet was about to explode. His parents sought to send him to safety – he landed on Earth and was taken in by an American family who raised him as their own. Despite his amazing abilities (super speed, flight, x-ray vision, heat vision, strength, and impermeability to injury), Superman has one great weakness – exposure to rocks from his home planet. These rocks are called Kryptonite take away all of this powers and make him an ordinary man. Superman’s self-help book would focus on the importance of having awareness of your weaknesses. He could write about how only in knowing our weaknesses can we overcome them. Title: In our Weaknesses, We Find Strength
- The Incredible Hulk: Bruce Banner is a scientist who is exposed to massive radioactivity that turns him into the Incredible Hulk whenever he gets angry. He could totally write a book about anger management. Much of Bruce’s later journeys focus on learning to manage his reactions to people and situations, so he can control when and where the Hulk appears. Title: Anger: The Beast Within
- Iron Man: Tony Stark was a billionaire playboy who had inherited tons of money from his father, Howard Stark, and then parlayed it into an even more impressive fortune using his own intellect and skills. Here is the thing, Tony always felt that his father hadn’t approved of (or even loved) him. This caused him to act out in so many ways. His book would definitely focus on parent-child relationships and the importance of believing in yourself even when you doubt others do. Title: My Father, Myself
- Wolverine: Logan is an ageless man who quickly heals from all injuries. A secret scientist organization operated on him and lined his skeleton with adamantium, a virtually unbreakable metal. He now is nearly indestructible and also has adamantium claws that erupt from his hands whenever he is in a fight (hence the name “Wolverine”). What Logan really suffers with is difficulty accepting his own mutations and those things that make him different from others. He could write a great book about being proud of who you are. Title: Looking Past the Claws: Loving the Man in the Mirror
- Spiderman: Peter Parker was an unassuming, quietly nerdy high school student who happened to get bitten by a radioactive spider. This spider bite led to super speed, super strength, web shooting, precognition, and healing. We all know the classic line from the movie, “With great power comes great responsibility”. Peter learns from the tragic loss of his uncle that his powers come at a cost – he is charged with caring for others. His book would stress the importance of appreciating what we have and to give back to others. Title: With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility
- Batman: Bruce Wayne was the happy only child of the fabulously happy (and rich) Wayne family when tragedy struck and his parents were shot during a robbery. Bruce then dedicated himself to fighting the criminal element under the disguise of Batman. He would pen a book about building something positive out of trauma. He would talk about reframing the negative experience and focusing on what you can make out of it. Title: Rising from the Ashes – Finding Your Inner Phoenix
- Flash: Barry Allen was a police scientist (with no special abilities) who was doused with chemicals and acquired super speed. He then used his super speed to protect the citizens of his town and take out the bad guys. Even after he had developed his special skills, Barry continued to use his scientific skills to aid the police department in catching the bad guys – while also helping to “run them down” himself. His book would focus on the importance of using the skills you are given to the best of your ability – everyone is good at something! Title: The Race to Know Yourself
So… what do you think? I am feeling relieved to have gotten all of this out of my head! Did I get it wrong? Any suggestions or modifications? Sadly, what I really realized is how much I would love to write each of these books! Time to start thinking about all those powerful ladies in superhero land!
* Correction: I made a correction on 4/7/15 – The previous version indicated Bruce Banner (The Incredible Hulk) was either a reporter or a scientist depending on the version you watched/read. I was corrected – he is always a scientist though he trailed by a reporter who seeks to out him. Sorry!