The Gender Neutrality of Superheroes #writephoto

Trent ‘Emojiman’ Doublebake pushed the door closed with a smiley face and sighed. His aura rubbed away fake tears and he conjured up a tight teethy smile before entering the kitchen. Adelaide ‘Supplegirl’ Doublebake unravelled herself from the stretch pole and closed her kindle. ‘If that’s the best face you can make, I’d guess today wasn’t the best?’

Trent forced out a wave that hovered overhead before being replaced by an old man shuttling stage left and a round face crying happy tears. ‘We spent the morning trying to decide if the turd emoji should be rainbow coloured to reduce the racist connotations of the original. You’d think the PR people could do that rather than a group of superheroes. We should be out there doing what we do best…’

‘Being childish?’

A round face with its tongue out followed by a single raised finger preceded Trent’s reply, ‘We provide a graphic appreciation to societal challenges to improve cultural understating and reinforce society’s core values.’

‘You make industrial scale faces with your mind to cheer up the serially pissed off.’

‘What’s got into you? Something’s bent you out of shape?’

‘No… it’s… Millicent found out what her superpower was today.’

Trent stood, full beam emoji enveloping them and party poppers exploding all around. ‘That’s fantastic. What… she’s not a bloody bat, is she? Or a cat? We don’t need any more feline fanatics scrabbling over the roof at two in the morning.’

‘No, it’s useful if a touch… dangerous.’

‘Acid girl? Destructor? Her grandpa will be pleased. To say I was a disappointment is an understatement.’

‘At least emojis bring in the money. Having a Destructor wreak havoc would cost a fortune.’

‘Is she a Destructor?’

‘No. Fire Girl.’

‘Oh. Okay. A bit retro but she’ll always have work. Especially if she can master colours. Very popular for weddings and bar mitzvahs, not to mention Bonfire night and July 4th’

‘That’s it exactly. Retro. I’ve tried to bring her up to understand that stereotyping isn’t appropriate and then this. It’s… it’s humiliating. How can I face the girls?’

Trent’s bubble put a finger to its chin and waited. Adelaide wrapped her arms around herself several times and gave herself a firm hug. ‘She had a notification and downloaded the powerapp. I was wringing out the washing and became rather tied up – took me a while to untangle myself and when I did she was already showing off to Dolomite next door.’

‘It’s what teenagers do. You must remember when you got yours?”

‘Yes but back then it came in the post with a book of instructions. My dad wouldn’t let me at it until he’d read it all through. I’d almost stretched to breaking point by the time he let me at the kit. Still it didn’t seem too bad and she was so excited I grabbed my phone to record her. She was sparking.’

‘I wish I’d been here.’

‘That’s why I wanted to record it. Here…’ Adelaide held up her phone.

Trent flicked through the images, his bubble of delight slipping to hand-slapped-over-the-mouth horror. ‘She immolated the neighbour?’

‘Technically, but the Johnsons are all Relifers and her mum soon had her melted bits back in shape. I think the only permanent scarring is to the petunias. No, look…’

‘I don’t… oh, I see! She fires pink.’

‘Exactly. We’re meant to be progressive Superheroes and what do we get? A Fire girl whose base flames are all pink. I ask you. I bend over backwards…’

‘… all ways…’

‘Thank you, and the suppliers do is provide this. I mean, even you’re trying to bring your emojis into the new century and we get lumbered with Girl Fawkes. It’s enough to make you weep… No, Trent stop that. I’ve only just done the kitchen floor and I don’t need to sop up your thought-tears just now.’

This is written in response to the image above, part of the #writephoto challenge

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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18 Responses to The Gender Neutrality of Superheroes #writephoto

  1. barbtaub says:

    Hilarious! I just got back from my granddaughter’s birthday party, where she demanded that everything be pink, preferably involving unicorns. Her parents had bought her little cars and trucks and girl-engineer toys, but so far her only interests have to involve the 3-P’s: ponies, princesses, and above all, pink.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sue Vincent says:

    Oddly enough, Nick and I were only talking about PC-gone-mad with regard to superheroes today…

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      I listened to an interview with De Niro about Hollywood’s obsession with cartoon characters and how they should enable a wider range of issues to be explored because of the infinite potential of their characterisations and yet they are bland and safe constructs.So yes, the PC hegemony are at work, using tolerance as an excuse to curtail free speech. An odd old world.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sue Vincent says:

        The trouble with the PC brigade is that by watching every word, they stifle our ability to illustrate the very behaviours they rightly rail against. So many great works of literature and film have been used in the past to hold up a mirror to the worst of human behaviour so that we can choose not to perpetuate it. If these things are brushed quietly into a corner, how will we recognise them in ourselves?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. willowdot21 says:

    Love it Geoff 💜🦇


  4. JT Twissel says:

    You need to get together with a graphic artist and give birth these delightful crazies in a colorful way.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I never thought to have Emoji Man. 😀


  6. Pingback: The Gender Neutrality of Superheroes ~ Geoff Le Pard #writephoto | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  7. Haha, this is hilarious. My flames would also be pink to match everything else in my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pingback: Photo prompt round-up: Balefire #writephoto | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  9. Pingback: A Tribute to Geoff LePard of TanGental | Chelsea Ann Owens

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