It's Annoying That Supergirl Perpetuated This Stereotype

Photo: Courtesy of CBS.
There was a lot to like during the series premiere of CBS’ Supergirl Monday night, but there was also one moment that drove us a little insane.

During the obligatory let’s-design-a-costume montage, Kara Zor-El (Melissa Benoist) emerges in what will become (with some slight variations) her uniform. She then decides to remove her glasses. “Wow, you look really pretty without your glasses,” her friend/designer/admirer Winn (Jeremy Jordan) says.

On the one hand, we already know that Winn has a crush on Kara, so it's not as if he only became aware of her beauty once her spectacles came off. On the other hand, that statement is a super (ha!) frustrating example of a trope that needs to crawl into a hole and never return.

We'll admit that purely ornamental glasses are a hallmark of the Superman/Supergirl world. Was Christopher Reeve really any less dashing as Clark Kent than as Superman? No. Did everyone else around him seem a little soft in the head for not realizing that their reporter buddy was actually the dude everyone was writing about? Yes. The same goes for the employees of CatCo in Supergirl.

Still, Winn's throwaway line irked us. How many times have we seen women remove their glasses only to suddenly be declared attractive? Too many. Did Supergirl's writers intend to perpetuate this myth? Who knows?

The sequence is particularly jarring because the series isn't about how "pretty" Kara is. We'd like to think Winn's reaction had more to do with how how powerful and confident she looks when assuming her superhero identity. In that scenario, a more appropriate response would have been: “You look awesome.” Or, “Let me bow before you because you could definitely kick my ass.”

Instead, Winn sticks his foot in his mouth. But at least Kara knows better than to get ruffled herself. "Winn," she says politely, then gets on with the business of saving the world.
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