Last Halloween, math teacher and comic book enthusiast Jenn Reddig found one of her advanced seventh-grade students drawing a picture of her favorite superhero, Batman, during a costume-making project. But her student had made one major adjustment: She had reimagined the iconic 75-year-old character as a girl.
"She had never heard of Batgirl and she couldn't be Batman because he's a boy," Reddig said.
Batman publisher DC Comics and its parent Warner Bros. are hoping to change that. Last week, the Time Warner-owned companies announced they would launch a new slate of animated features, books, apparel and toys for girls 6 to 12.
Dubbed DC Super Hero Girls, the brand will feature the publisher's female characters—including Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Batgirl—portrayed as teenagers who are still learning to master their superpowers and crime-fighting skills.
The companies will also seek to dislodge dolls from at least part of playtime by partnering with Mattel to create the first line of action figures made to appeal to girls.
Reddig said she is thrilled DC has decided to reach out to girls. Her female students often find her after class to ask for comic book recommendations when they find out she's a fangirl. Up until fifth or sixth grade, these same girls have no problem playing with "boys' toys," she said.
"It's around this age they start realizing that boys and girls are different and start becoming afraid to consume the material produced for boys of similar age," she said.