Welcome to this week’s installment of Geek Girl Authority Crush of the Week, wherein we shine a spotlight on strong women who inspire us. Now, this not only includes fictional female characters in geeky media, but creators as well. These ladies are a prime example of female empowerment and how crucial it is for kids to have said example to follow.
Barbara Gordon is the daughter of Gotham City’s chief of police, James Gordon. As a teen she was inspired by Batman and his crusade to bring justice to Gotham– so inspired that she went behind her father’s back and took on the role of Batgirl, joining the Bat family in the fight. She was close with Dick Grayson and spent her time training alongside him. It wasn’t long until Batman’s notorious enemy Joker sought to strike back again the Gordons and shot Barbara through the spine, paralyzing her.
For a short while, she was bound to a wheelchair. Still wanting to fight alongside her friends, she donned a new mantle, Oracle. She founded the Birds of Prey and used her skills as an investigator to guide her team from behind the scenes. On the surface she was strong for her team, but in truth she dealt with a lot of emotional struggles brought on by her disability. A few years after her attack, Barbara underwent surgery to repair her spine.
She decided that now was the time to return to her original role as Batgirl. The Bat family wasn’t too thrilled with her return, but they agreed to help her when needed. Soon after she faced her first villain since her return, The Mirror. During her investigation into her enemy, she also dealt heavily with her PTSD and survivor’s guilt, turning to her therapist, Dr. Andrea Latemendi, and family for support. In Barbara’s time since she has returned, she has worked alongside different teams to continue keeping Gotham safe.
The Real Deal
Now, Barbara Gordon is definitely the real deal. In her teen years she took on the mantle of Batgirl, a crime fighting superhero who faced unbelievable odds. She learned early on that while she didn’t have the overall strength of her fellow Bat family members, she had brains. Barbara used her quick thinking to find ways around heavy combat, instead focusing on gadgets to help slow her opponents. She is also the glue that continues to hold the Bat family together through drama only DC can imagine.
Barbara also faces the real life struggles of someone who not only lives with a disability after being shot. She doesn’t allow her injury to keep her from helping, either. When she isn’t able to return to the fight as Batgirl she redirects her skills and becomes the Oracle. Proving to the world that no matter who you are or what disabilities you may face, you can still fight to protect those around you.
Why She Matters
Barbara Gordon most definitely matters. As a girl who was in love with comics, Barbara Gordon’s Batgirl was my idol. She was strong in more than just her physical abilities. She had brains, too. Brains that gave her the upper hand against those who thought they could just crush this weak girl. Barbara was one of the best examples of how cool it was to be smart. But she wasn’t just that either.
Emotionally, Barbara Gordon has faced her own struggles. The entire Batgirl New 52 series deals heavily with her return to the cape and cowl after her injury. It isn’t a seamless swap, either. Instead, she struggles with her PTSD and survivor’s guilt. Her fight is never glossed over or romanticized, instead showing us that even the strongest can suffer. But with those who love her by her side, she works to find ways to cope with her problems.
So, be like Barbara Gordon. Use your strength to fight for those around you. Don’t be afraid to lean on those around you, showing weakness does not make you any less of a person.