When the show Supergirl came out on CBS in 2015, it was introduced as a female-driven show meant to inspire girls of all ages. The first season lived up to that and taught girls that they can do anything, even if other people believe they can’t.
The show was switched to The CW in its second season and it completely abandoned that message. A new character was introduced within the first minute of the sophomore season, a man from another planet named Mon-El, who later goes on to be the love interest of Supergirl’s alter ego, Kara Danvers.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with a strong female lead having a love interest, but a strong female lead being in an unhealthy relationship is problematic. He belittles Kara, doesn’t listen to what she has to say, lies about his true identity, verbally disrespects her, and argues with her more than what is healthy. The worst part is, the show plays off their toxic fighting and argument as comical.
This male character also seemed to take the spotlight this past season. The show is supposed to be a female-centered show, but now a man is getting all of the attention. Kara’s character development seemed to be nonexistent this season, as she was used as a plot device in her own show. All of Supergirl’s energy was focused on fixing Mon-El’s flaws, cleaning up his messes, and proving that he can be a hero just like she is. The problem is, Mon-El didn’t even want to be a hero because he wanted to help people; he wanted to be a hero to impress Kara because he knew that’s what she wanted for him.
Honestly, his character isn’t even all that great. Mon-El is a very flawed character, which is expected because he is new to the planet and isn’t used to how things are here. The problem is, he doesn’t grow away from his ignorant behavior. Between Episode One and Episode Twenty-Two, he is still the same majorly flawed character as he was when he was introduced.
I will admit, he does add some funny lines to the show at times, but most of the lines that are intended to be funny are actually quite offensive. In one episode he told Kara, “Things were easier on [my planet] when I objectified women and didn’t care about anything.” This was supposed to be comical, as quirky music played in the background when he said this, but that line was anything but comical; if anything, it was offensive.
The worst part about this is that there are so many other characters that are worth focusing on, like Lex Luthor’s sister, Lena Luthor, for example. She moved away from her family’s horrible reputation and made a name for herself without them. She’s the CEO of her company at the young age of twenty-four, is a scientific genius, and has saved the world from aliens twice.
There’s also Alex Danvers, Kara’s adoptive sister, who is a secret agent and can fight any alien or human and win. She also went through a journey of self discovery this season as she figured out that she was gay and came out to all of the people in her life. These are characters worth focusing on, yet they put the spotlight on a male alien who was just… there.
There was good news at the end of the season when Mon-El had to be sent back to his home planet. Most of the fandom got excited and had hopes for a better Season Three. Without him in the picture, Supergirl could get back the feminist message to being what it was in Season One. Even better, Lena Luthor was promoted to a series regular, which excited fans even more! It looked like the writers and producers heard the fans and wanted to fix the mistake that is Mon-El.
The excitement didn’t last for that long, however. Recently it was announced that Mon-El would be returning and how he got back to Earth will be the “central mystery” of Season Three. Because of this new information, many people have said that they’re not going to watch the show anymore. Others said that they were going to watch the show until he returns and then stop.
The writers and producers are well aware of the opinions of the fanbase because of tweets and articles that have been directed at them. They know they’re losing viewers, yet they are dead set on keeping this character in the show. This makes you wonder what message they’re trying to send and what direction they plan for the show to go.
The sad reality is, this happens in a lot of other TV shows and movies as well. Female characters are often sidelined and outnumbered by male characters; this is only one example of this. Strong female characters don’t get all the attention they deserve, or they are seen as weak damsels in distress that need saving. We need to fight for female characters to be main characters instead of being pushed to the side or being weakened.