Supergirl – queer representation on TV: are sanvers the queer heroes we deserve?

The CW is no stranger to representing queer heroes on TV, especially with regard to queer women. There is the same sex love story between Sara Lance and Nyssa al Ghul in the Arrow. In The 100, it gave us the much-hyped but carelessly handled relationship between bisexual protagonist Clarke Griffin and commander Lexa. And now in the season 2 of Supergirl, CW brought in Maggie Sawyer (Batwoman’s longtime girlfriend from the DC universe) as a new love interest for Alex Danvers, the adaptive sister of Supergirl. Maggie is cocky, confident, and unapologetically gay. Alex, like us, is immediately captivated by the detective.

Sanvers-The CW Network,

But are Supergirl’s Sanvers (Alex Danvers and Maggie Sawyer) the queer heroes that we deserved?

To answer that, we need to examine how Alex’s character changes from meeting Maggie, as well as examine the portrayal of Maggie.

Alex’s character development:

Alex in Season 1:

alex_danver

We know Alex Danvers from day 1. After all, Kara Danvers, the female cousin of Superman, exposed herself as a superhero in order to save Alex. Throughout Season 1, we see Alex as the protective sister of adorable Kara Danver and a kickass DEO agent. She drinks a little too much, worries about not doing a good job in both her roles as a sister and a DEO agent, and is a little intense at times.

Alex in Season 2 – after meeting Maggie:

Now in Season 2, after her meeting with Maggie, we begin to see more of the softer side of Alex. We see her questioning her sexuality, questioning about her identity in the world. Alex might not have to deal with unsupportive family, or homophobic comments, but her struggle of being in her thirties and for the first time, recognizing that she always have had attraction toward women can be just as scary. Her demons might be minimal, and we all know puppy Kara and Mama Danvers will welcome Alex with open arms. But the scene in which Alex chose to become vulnerable and open to Kara still touches our hearts. More importantly, it shows us that it is important and never too late to be yourself and that there is a community of  people out there that will support you, no matter your situation.

After Maggie and Alex officially start dating, we also get to see more of each of their characters as people. They have their sweet moments, their sad ones too. They have their arguments, and insecurities. But this is what relationships are all about. The point is, the relationship between Maggie and Alex feels authentic, and we love the show for portraying it this way!

supergirl_sanvers_laughing

Ultimately, Alex is still the Alex we know from Season 1, but she has changed for the better. She is more open toward others, less intense, and wears a lot more leather. And I believe, it has a lot to do with Alex accepting who she is. Giving us the Sanvers couple gives queer people characters that are not defined by their sexuality, but it is most definitely a part of who they are. And we get to see a positive healthy LGBTQ relationship flourish on TV!

Portrayal of Maggie and Alex – stereotypical?

Maggie:

Let’s compare Maggie Sawyer from the Batwoman comic and the TV portrayal.

Maggie-comic

Maggie Sawyer from the comic looks like a walking butch lesbian stereotype- short hair, sport watch, and boylish look.

maggie-tv

Maggie Sawyer from the CW though is all wavy curl, feminine curve. And being feminine hasn’t take away from her being a bad ass, or a lesbian.

Alex:

As for Alex, Alex has always been this bossy, kickass woman, even before the idea of having Alex fall in love with a woman is conceptualized. She looks and acts the part of a special agent. Usually with a character, the writer feels the need to make them look “gayer” when they comes out. But with Alex, she looks the same as she always does. They didn’t add in any stereotypical lesbian traits just to illustrate her coming out. This adds to the authenticity of making queerness normal.

Supergirl, with the portrayal of Alex Danvers and Maggie Sawyer, has showed us that queer woman can be strong without fitting into stereotypes!

Why queer heroes in TV and comic matters:

Finally, these are some real-life examples of why queer heroes on TV matters.

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Example 3- EmilyAnne’s Sanvers Thank You project
This touching video is put together by EmilyAnne @ladyintheTV called “The Sanvers Thank You Project.”

 

Authentic queer representation of the diverse LGBTQIA community is extremely important, it can show kids and adults how normal it could and should be to have queer people in our lives, and can give those who need it someone to look up to! 

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