If you are a Stephanie Brown fan, you may want to seriously consider skipping this post.
There’s something I’ve been meaning to get off my chest. I hate Stephanie Brown. I fucking hate her guts for reasons I’m about to expound upon.
But before I go any further, disclaimer time: I recognize that many of my readers are fervent Stephanie Brown fans who adore her for perfectly valid and legitimate reasons. Obviously your mileage varies and we can agree to disagree. I perfectly respect your opinion, all I ask is you pay me the same courtesy. And to be clear, I’m not interested in diatribes about why I’m wrong about my opinion or why I should be exalting her ass.
Don’t say you weren’t warned.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been a huge Batgirl fan for years. I loved Babs as the plucky computer savvy gymnast/ingeniue with the photographic memory. I waited patiently for a new Batgirl for years after she became Oracle. So when Spoiler arrived, I actually had high hopes for the character.
Though she lacked Babs’s brains (vast epic understatement), or gymnastic and martial arts skills, she was a self-made superheroine and I respected that about her. Not only a throwback to say Barbara Gordon but to Spider-Man as well.
After awhile, I simply lost all respect for Spoiler. She became a walking punchline. The girl is a brainless ditz but because she’s a cute blonde, she’s frequently given a pass. I can just see her wrapping her goldilocks around her finger.
The problem I have with Brown is that she’s a wreckless ditz. Bruce was right to tell her to put away the mask and sit her ass down. She’s careless and she nearly gets people killed. Hell in the first issue of the new Batgirl comic, she damn near got the cop killed that she was arriving to rescue. She’s been in the game for years and is still making basic rookie mistakes. Not because she’s operating to the best of her ability and is simply outmatched, but because she’s a moron.
And I’m sorry but this needs to be said. When you’ve been trained by Bruce, Babs, Tim and Cass and you’re STILL a hawt mess, you need to sit your ass down, forever.
While no longer a fan, I could tolerate Steph when she was kept in marginal roles as a sidekick or a guest star in say Robin or Cass’s titles. Because in my opinion, Steph works best as a sidekick where someone with actual skill can keep an eye on her. And I will even go so far to say that I think she would’ve been an excellent Robin because her bumbling ineptitude would’ve been an excellent foil for Bruce’s overachieving stoic demeanor. Night and day and all that. But somehow she managed to even fuck that up.
Let’s not forget that this is the brain surgeon that launched Gotham Gang War and got my man Orpheus murdered.
Oh but that wasn’t her fault!” some of you Stephanie apologists say. “That was out of character for her and an example of writer shoehorn.”
Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Because Stephanie would never do anything stupid because she’s such a brain surgeon.
“But Stephanie isn’t completely to blame for the Gotham Gang War.”
You know what. I actually agree on that.
[Turns to Bruce Wayne]
Yo Bruce! Don’t let me catch you on the streets nowhere. You know you need yo ass kicked.What the fuck were you thinking letting her dumb ass within 100 miles of the fucking Batcave in the first gawd damn place. Oh that’s right. Making with the batdickery and trying to mind fuck Tim by making him jealous with her stank ass. And because of YOUR bullshit, my Negro Orpheus is dead.
I mean yo ass is gonna get fucked up. Those beatdowns from Bane and Hush are gonna look like papercuts when I’m done.
And you’re supposed to be the smart one.
Believe it or not I didn’t always harbor this much animosity towards Brown. But when they tossed Cain aside…..
But the thing that really irks me the most about Stephanie Brown is that she’s the perfect example of white privilege in comics.I was upset when Cain’s original run was canceled. She’s one of the few characters of color who had their own ongoing series and it was one of the best series period, IMHO. Over the years some of the writers were hit or miss with the character (and a few hacks failed immensely) but she was an awesome character in spite of being frequently thrown under the bus. It was refreshing to see a complex three-dimensional WOC with their own series.I especially liked that Cain was a force to be reckoned with in her own right. She was complex and enigmatic and was a force in her own right. She wasn’t some token sidekick to Bruce, in fact she was one of the first characters introduced that was actually superior to Bruce in many respects.
So when Batgirl finally gets her own ongoing series again, they decide to just chuck Cain to the side and hand the mantle over to Brown, who let’s be honest is only getting it because she’s a blonde white girl because it sure as hell ain’t because of any merits.
Couldn’t hand the mantle over to Flamebird, Onyx or some other ingeniue who is remotely competent, but Stephanie Brown. The only thing worse would’ve been Misfit.
It would be one thing if Cain was getting her own separate series and was donning a new costume like Tim did but nope she gets erased like Onyx.
For the past year, I actually read Batgirl. Mainly out of loyalty to the Batgirl legacy and to find out what the hell happened to Cass (which DC promised but never delivered) but I also genuinely wanted to give Stephanie a chance to prove me wrong. With the exception of her putting that worthless bastard Damian Sue on ice (I won’t lie, that was epic), she repeatedly proved my point over and over again.
How incompetent is Stephanie Brown? If I was held hostage and she came to rescue me, I would tell her to take her ass home because I know she would only make matters worse. And if my torturers/captors caught her, I would actually be rooting for them to kick her ass.
How incompetent is Stephanie Brown? Vallery Irons is a superior superheroine. Oh yes. I went there. At least Irons knows when she’s in over her head and is actually resourceful.
Some folks suggested a Team Batgirl, and originally I rolled with that idea, but then it dawned on me. Why should Cass have to share her spotlight with someone inferior than her. Unless Stephanie Brown is going to be relegated to her actual position, bumbling sidekick, I say fuck that shit. Why does the WOC have to share her success? I say let Stephanie join the Birds of Prey and learn how kickass women get down. On second thought, better not, I actually like that team.
I don’t see the writers (other than Bruce Timm and Dwayne McDuffie) making any efforts to make John Stewart anything other than Hal Mighty Whitey Jordan’s token houseslave magical Negro sidekick. They damn sure beat you over the head and make sure you know that Hal Jordan is superior and Stewart is his personal manservant in the comics. I don’t even see anyone making a good faith effort to make Doctor Voodoo a competent sorceror supreme. All they’ve done is make him whiny, timid and reiterate why Stephen Strange is superior by just being him. Because heaven forbid Negroes or other POCs be on equal footing with their caucasian counterparts.
Because what really pisses me off the most about Stephanie Brown having the Batgirl title is that it’s an example of white privilege at its finest or worst:
White Privilege- Only a blonde white girl could start Gotham Gangwar and get rewarded with her own series. Let Cass, Onyx or another WOC pull that shit and see how many fans would be propping them up as a speshul snowflakes who should be.
White Privilege- A WOC can successfully beat the odds and carry her own title for five years and gets thrown under the bus and criticized for being too competent and too exceptional and making it too difficult for her to write. Yet everyone and their grandma is selling their left nut to write the Gawd Damn Batman.
White Privilege-Douchebags like Bella Swan, Scott Pilgrim, Stephanie Brown can be wreckless, incompetent and fuck up time and time again and they will have legions upon legions of apologists to line up and sing their praises. Yet no one blinks an eye at my AWESOME Asian sisters Knives Chau or Cassandra Cain for being thrown under the bus for the sake of a white girl. Nor does anyone so much as shrug a shoulder at the scorn my phenomenal black women like Uhura or DOCTOR Martha Jones catch for being intelligent, fierce, powerful sexy and thinking themselves worthy of being in love with exceptional white men.
White Privilege- White characters get introduced and shoved down our throats and over-exposed whether we want them or not. Yet they barely give POC characters like Azrael, Renee Montoya, the same exposure or care or opportunities and then they wonder why POC characters don’t generate sales.
So when I stress that Stephanie Brown can kiss my black ass and die in a fire, hopefully you can understand why.
God that felt great to get off my chest.