Growing up in my Strawberry Shortcake, Smurf-laced childhood, I never knew I was deprived of heroes. Princess-filled fairy tales ruled my imagination and made my little-girl heart swoon. They were mostly romantic stories of distressed damsels waiting to be rescued, but they didn't inspire me to do big things, to be brave. Then I grew up and had 3 boys and fell in love with superheroes.
Recently, as I sat between my boys watching Dr Strange (in 3D), it hit me: superheroes are cooler than princesses, way cooler. Many of them have overcome great odds, insurmountable disabilities, to exemplify courage and bravery. Dr strange is a brilliant doctor who suffers severe nerve damage in a car accident and learns to reclaim his life and purpose by controlling magic to defeat evil, becoming the Sorcerer Supreme.
Spider-Man was bitten by a radioactive spider and then uses his newfound powers to fight crime in New York. He didn't sit around waiting to be rescued; he knew that "with great power there must also come great responsibility."
The leader of the X-Men and founder of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, Charles Xavier, was accidentally paralyzed by his friend Erik (better known as Magneto). He does not let his disability hold him back. Professor X dedicated his life to helping others.
The Fantastic Four is a story about 4 young outsiders who are transported to an alternate universe where their bodies are changed, giving them super powers. Johnny Storm becomes the Human Torch, able to control fire. His sister Sue becomes the Invisible Woman. Reed Richards becomes Mr. Fantastic, able to stretch and twist his body. Ben Grimm gains super human strength as the Thing. The 4 team up to prevent Doctor Doom from destroying the Earth.
As a child, Daredevil (Matt Murdock), was blinded by chemicals. His disability led him to become a superhero. He uses echolocation to fight crime.
The princesses I loved growing up were sweet, pretty, helpless and naive. I was entertained, yet not inspired. These days, I still love a good fairy tale, although I prefer a stronger princess. In the end, I must admit I'd rather have a superhero.