Melissa Benoist: ‘Supergirl’ is a feminist show because ‘it’s for everyone’


When Jeb Bush declared Supergirl to be “pretty hot” last week, I honestly hoped that the people behind the show would say something like “stop objectifying and sexualizing a character that is traditionally a teenage girl, dude.” But they didn’t. Because they and the people at CBS were probably sort of nervous that Supergirl was going to bomb. But here’s a pleasant surprise – Supergirl is a BIG hit! The show debuted as part of CBS’s Monday night line-up, just after the Big Bang Theory. And they delivered “a fall new series record of 14 million viewers.” All of that for a major female superhero. That’s really great!

All of this means that Supergirl’s leading lady, Melissa Benoist, is now a certified star. Melissa is 27 years old, and she’s playing Supergirl/Kara Danvers as a young woman likely in her late teens/early 20s. Melissa has making some belated press rounds this week to discuss the show and she stopped by The Late Show. Stephen Colbert asked her how she felt about the feminist message behind the series and Benoist’s response was great: “I think it’s great. And I think what’s feminist about it is that it’s for everyone. She has all the same powers [Superman] does.” Imagine that, it’s feminist because it’s for everyone. That’s a great message! Benoist also told Vanity Fair, “just the fact that Supergirl exists is feminist.” She was also asked by VF if she worries that there could be too much focus on her gender:

“You know, I hate to say that I do because I consider myself a feminist. I’m very proud to be a woman. But I do think focusing on it so much that you forget that it’s a story about humanity and what it means to be saving people’s lives. I don’t know if it’s frustrating, but I don’t know the word for it…. Even after this show stops airing I hope that more and more strong females keep coming. If there were great parts for women on every other show then we wouldn’t even have to have this conversation at all.”

[From VF]

I don’t know if she’s been coached by a professional or if it comes to her naturally, but she’s handling these questions really well.

Oh, and Benoist was asked about Jeb Bush’s comments and she was very diplomatic about it. She said: “I heard about it…You know, I don’t know what to think about it. I’m glad he’s excited to watch the show.”


Photos courtesy of WENN, CBS.

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31 Responses to “Melissa Benoist: ‘Supergirl’ is a feminist show because ‘it’s for everyone’”

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  1. Mimi says:

    Great responses!

  2. GlimmerBunny says:

    I’m still annoyed she’s not blonde, but she’s perfect for Supergirl personality-wise. My siuter who is 8 loved the premiere and is going as Supergirl for Halloween, so the target audience does seem to be a lot younger than me (I’m 23).

    • Brittney B. says:

      Weird… that’s exactly how I would describe the character’s hair. Maybe dirty blonde… but in that promo pic above, it’s glowing and golden. I’m confused.

      I’m so glad younger kids are getting into it, too! Seeing Supergirls trick-or-treating is so, so necessary for kids growing up in an age of Avengers-plus-the-girl-who-doesn’t-even-get-an-action-figure. Yay DC!

      But I’m 28 and my boyfriend’s 31, and we watched the pilot and plan to stay tuned… we also watch The Flash, Agents of SHIELD, etc… so the target audience might surprise you.

    • OrigialTessa says:

      She’s blonde

    • Santia says:

      I’m lost …. First, she’s blonde (and even blonder in the show, for some reason). And two, why would it matter if she WASN’T blonde?

      • Naddie says:

        I guess the same reason it would matter if Mary Jane wasn’t redhead. Or Wonder Woman was blonde. Or maybe Supergirl’s hair color is not as iconic as the ones I mentioned? Don’t know much about her, tho.

  3. Lucy2 says:

    She handled all of that really well.

  4. Fluff says:

    She’s handling it brilliantly but the show is still stupid and not very feminist.

    • Venus says:

      Yeah, I am really rooting for the show but the first episode was pretty bad. I’ll give it another chance, though.

    • vavavoom says:

      I didn’t love the first episode either. But she did kick some butt. Of course, I found myself thinking if I had an 8 year old girl, I wouldn’t want her to watch all the violence. The ‘bad guy’ was physically assaulting Supergirl. Sure, she could fight back, but seeing her get kicked in the face was disconcerting for me .. and I wouldn’t want my kids to see that.

      Am I just old fashioned?

  5. nora says:

    She handled that well. The show is not good though.

    Also, her character is I believe (if I’m remembering right, which I think I am) supposed to be 24. So she’s a little older but not too far off.

  6. Naddie says:

    I really like her and her answers, but the show seems like a bore. I’ll give it a try just to prove myself wrong. Hope there’s not the amount of cliches Smallville had: the eye candy she falls in love with, the friend who loves her, the best friend with the opposite personality, the evil family’s member… And oh, the touching song in the end of each episode.

  7. Tara says:

    An actress who proudly declares herself feminist instead of giving some stupid reason to distance herself from the word? I can get used to this.

  8. Val says:

    I liked her on Glee, and I still like her, but the show does not appeal to me at all.

    Though I might tune in for Mehcad Brooks… *smirks*

  9. Kate says:

    I loved the show the other night. It reminded me of the joy that I used to feel as a young girl watching “Lois and Clark” on ABC with my family on Sunday nights. It was one of the only shows we watched all together. My sister and I just loved Lois so much. Looking back, I remember that Teri Hatcher’s Lois used to talk about her feminism openly on the show and that was the 90’s before it was popular to do so. There was a major theme about how she had had to kill herself to get to the top professionally as a woman and she had made a lot of sacrifices along the way. Clark Kent legit loved that she was a feminist. He loved that she was the best at her job. I have serious memories of this as a kid bc even then I think I knew that that was not the “normal” message where a hot guy is madly in love with a feminist….especially in 1993. Anyway, Supergirl brought a lot of those feelings back again and it reminded me of just how much I love the ladies of the Super mythos super powered or fearless career woman. I hope this show is a huge success.

  10. The Original G says:

    Call me when someone has the stones to call the show Superwoman. While I admit, I’m probably no the audience for this, they lost me a half hour in, when she got her her male friend to tell her what to wear.

    • Sheila says:

      “Super Woman” is not the name of the show because it isn’t the name of the comic book the show is based on. What a stupid reason to not watch a show.

    • paranormalgirl says:

      Her character asked that very question. She stormed into her boss’s office and said “We can’t call her Supergirl, she should be Super Woman.”

      I thought the show was cute and had potential. Plus “Scorpion” is on after it. I love “Scorpion.”

    • Kate says:

      The show isn’t going to be called Superwoman bc that’s a different DC character. Superwoman is usually Lois Lane, most notably, in Grant Morrison’s famous epic “All Star Superman” well regarded as one of the most important if not the most important Superman story ever told. Lois was also a version of Superwoman in many Silver Age stories and on a highly rated episode of “Lois and Clark” though there she was called Ultrawoman. Superwoman is also the name of the evil crime syndicate villain who is a combination of Wonder Woman and Lois Lane. Then, of course, there is a famous arc where Lucy Lane (Lois’s sister) becomes an evil Superwoman and is a foe for Supergirl. As Lucy Lane has been cast in the show (Jenna Dewan Tataum) my guess is that she will become Superwoman at some point and challenge Supergirl. The only real question is whether Lois Lane will be cast and show up to challenge her sister as she usually does. #nerdAlert

    • The Original G says:

      There aren’t enough paragraphs on earth to justify the production of a popular TV series that calls a female person with super powers and commitment to fight a girl.

    • Jessica says:

      Well the comic is called Supergirl because the character is in fact a girl – young girl in her teens. The character is not a woman in terms of being an adult. It’s about the age of the character.

  11. tx_ava says:

    lol I just don’t know how supergirl can fight crime in that miniskirt they make her wear

    • ldub says:

      of course she can! she’s Supergirl! *said without an ounce of sarcasm*

    • Santia says:

      Girlfriend! I thought the same thing. At least the show gave her tights to wear underneath. But, seriously, would it have killed them to give her a new, more modern, outfit? A catsuit, maybe?

  12. kri says:

    I appreciate her responses. But I’m all about Agent Carter.

  13. Lucy says:

    I’ve known her for a few years now (since I saw her on Glee) and she has always been like this!! Very happy for her, she’s very talented.

  14. INeedANap says:

    The pilot was not great, but a lot of shows have rocky starts and eventually find their groove. Benoit is charming and talented, and I have faith in the showrunners (who were also behind Arrow and Flash).

    A note: her response to Jeb was FAR more diplomatic than anything he could give. This young woman has more poise and grace than a front-runner for the president. 🙁

  15. AuroraBorealis says:

    I love her and hope her career really takes off, she seems intelligent, capable and a good role model. =)