On Sunday, The CW introduced the first transgender superhero on television: Nia Nal (played by transgender actor Nicole Maines) who is also known as “Dreamer,” a character in “Supergirl.” Dreamer inherits his powers from his mother, even though the powers are traditionally passed down from mother to daughter. Speaking with PJ Media, radical feminists denounced this artistic choice as an “erasure of women” and “the textbook definition of patrilineage.”
“I have no problem with a transgender character,” Miriam Ben-Shalom, the first lesbian to be reinstated to the U.S. Army after being kicked out for her sexuality, told PJ Media. “However what IS distressing is the implication that being transgender is somehow biological and that it supersedes actual biology and genetics.”
“Not to beat a dead horse, but males identifying as trans are still male. No matter what they say, every cell in their bodies is XY. That is a fact,” Ben-Shalom insisted. “They may wear what they will and say what they will, but they are still male. Therefore, the passing of the power from mother to her son is an impossibility.”
The lesbian veteran conceded that “of course, we are talking about ‘comic book characters’ in a ‘comic book world’ world where nothing is real.” Even so, superhero universes should play by their own rules, and the rules surrounding Nia Nal are clear: he is biologically male, identifies as female, and inherits powers that are traditionally passed from mother to daughter.
Worse, in the recent episode “Blood Memory,” Nia Nal’s older sister, Maeve Nal (Hannah James), is passed over for the powers, despite her biological sex. The older sister even exasperatedly responds, “You’re not even a real woman!” The show clearly disagrees with this statement, presenting it as “transphobic.”
“The seeping in of trans ideology is distressing as is the implication of a biological basis for being trans — that somehow being a male identifying as trans is ‘More Female. More Of A Woman’ than biological females (XX human beings),” Ben-Shalom said, referencing articles from The Advocate and the blog TransSubstantiation (just as two mainstream versions of this statement). “It is important to note that there is no reliable science at this time that supports that.”
Furthermore, as a lesbian and a feminist, she found it offensive for any biological male to insist that he is more of a woman than she is. “And it is interesting that ONLY men can be such women and More Of A Woman than actual women according to some in the trans community. If only men can be women—what does one say about XX human beings?”
Activists may focus on Nia Nal and celebrate his powers as “Dreamer,” but Ben-Shalom focused on Maeve Nal. “The insistence that this male gets his mother’s gift BEFORE his older sister can or will is a perfect patriarchal and MRA [men’s rights activist] inspiration,” she said.
She further argued that “that train of thought is symptomatic of the intense narcissism of many males identifying as trans, the misogyny that appears to be endemic in the trans community, and the hubris that some of these males have i.e. that they are ‘more woman, more female’ than natal females living as female because they have experienced life and, it is presumed, discrimination as both male and female; thusly, are superior to born women.”
“They believe they are better than born women, more of a woman than a born woman will ever be, and superior and more worthy in so many other ways as well,” the exasperated feminist said. “Only men can be women, basically. Not even women are good enough to be women for these men — even in the world of make-believe.”
Julia Beck, a lesbian feminist in Baltimore who was booted from the city’s LGBTQ Commission over her disagreement with transgender identity, also emphasized the wrong done to Maeve Nal and the anti-feminist implications of Dreamer’s powers.
“The story of a male child inheriting power over an elder female sibling is the textbook definition of patrilineage, a centuries-old male supremacist strategy of denying women and girls our rights to citizenship and bodily autonomy,” Beck told PJ Media. She would not go so far as to call “Dreamer” a symbol of patriarchy, however.
“The world of superheroes, just like all other media, is filled with pornographic images of women, and now women and girls watching this show are encouraged to sympathize with men who erase us by claiming to be us,” she lamented. “This is not a hero of my sex class.”
These lesbian feminists did not want to attack “Supergirl.” In fact, Miriam Ben-Shalom defended the show’s message of female empowerment.
“I have always thought ‘Supergirl’ had a strong feminist message,” the lesbian veteran told PJ Media. “While I have never been much of a follower of comic books or comic book characters, it was nice to see a series that actually had a strong female lead and a message that women can be strong and ‘can DO’! It seemed to affirm that women are people who can get things done and that women are able, ready, and willing to take on challenges. It’s not something one sees very often.”
Yet the show’s endorsement of transgender ideology was a serious misstep, she argued. “So much might have been done to affirm that people may live as they wish and dress as they wish without suggesting that some people are less than others and that men can be biological uber-women,” Ben-Shalom insisted.
“And so, the erasure of women continues, even in make-believe worlds.”
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.