Let me tell you my feelings about female sidekicks!
This is Mia Dearden (Speedy II). She’s pointing out that women can do just the same things that men can do. And yet, when it comes to being the female sidekick to an older male, these girls often have a lot of hoops to jump through. Mia had to practically beg Green Arrow to let her become Speedy. We never see Roy doing the same. Ollie only allowed Mia to become Speedy after she learned of her HIV+ status.
For Stephanie Brown, it was the same thing. She had to prove her worthiness as Robin in a way that Dick Grayson, Jason Todd and Tim Drake never did. And she got far fewer chances to recover from her mistakes than her three male predecessors. And let’s be honest here; if Damian Wayne had been treated in the same way as Stephanie, he would have been fired long ago.
For female sidekicks who are taking on a previously thought of “male” role, it seems that they not only have to prove their worthiness, but they have to prove that they are just as good as the boys. And the role of Robin and Speedy are not necessarily gender specific roles; there has been a female Robin since 1986 (Carrie Kelley). Robin’s job is to be the light to Batman’s darkness; to be a point-of-view character; and many would suggest a facet of Batman’s own personality. Speedy plays a similar role.
These particular female sidekicks I’ve mentioned don’t get a very long chance to be in the “male” role either: Stephanie Brown was fired almost immediately after having secured the role; Carrie Kelley grows into the much more sexualized role of Catgirl; Helena Wayne only gets to be Robin for a brief amount of time before her mother and father are killed; and right now, Mia Dearden is not in the New 52. In fact, Stephanie Brown is not even officially recognized as Robin in the New 52 and Mia Dearden doesn’t exist; but Dick, Jason, Tim and Damian all got to be Robin and Roy got to be Speedy (even in spite of all the rebooting and de-aging of Ollie Queen).
I don’t think I should have to point out the importance of what the character of Robin & Speedy mean, but in part, they meant that boys could imagine themselves as not just being heroes, but fighting alongside the hero. Girl Robins and Speedys mean the same thing; that they can, in Mia’s own words, “make just as much difference as any stupid boy.”
Batman & Catwoman by Lora Zombie
Catwoman: You sure took your time.
Batman: I thought you didn’t want my help.
Catwoman: Stick to brooding. Sarcasm’s my thing.
Batman - Arkham Unhinged #3
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