Lois Lane: A Modern Role Model for young Women

Editorial essay by CCC Moderator and contributor Baudyhallee


Y’know how it is when you’re a rock music fan and your fav radio station goes country western . . . or vice versa. It sucks, right? You have wellingdurancerv0absolutely no control or sometimes even no alternatives. In a country where the pursuit of happiness is one of your inalienable rights . . . you can’t always get what you want. Total fail.

What am I talking about? A television network, not a cable channel. Big difference. A network usually caters to an across the board of the populace, where a cable channel can specialize their programs to certain focus groups. Like the CW for instance. It’s supposed to be a network. The bastard progeny of the WB and CBS (Paramount). It’s a network. Yea, I repeated myself. BUT this little red headed stepchild has a focus audience. Fourteen year old females.

Tap Smallville. Best rated scripted show and a lot of the time best rated show period on this supposed network, BUT on this network, it’s considered an illegitimate offspring because . . . it does not feature teenage girls. Well, it did at one time, when the network was the WB, but actors grow up when they are on a successful television show.

wiget_1950s-03I know I’m not an expert, but if I remember correctly – when I was fourteen, I would have liked nothing more then to look at great looking guys who did exciting things and had big hearts. (Like the boys of Thursday night on the CW.) Cripes, when I was 3, I had a crush on Little Joe on Bonanza and was going to run away and live with him on the Ponderosa. Yea, I’m just that old. But my point is, even as a young girl, I’d rather watch stories about men and women then one of my supposed peers that some writer in Hollywood thought would be entertaining. Being a child of the 60’s that’s a little too establishment for me – and as we all know every generation likes to think of itself as rebellious from what the powers that be think will be their ‘mentors’. Watching beautiful, spoiled, selfish GIRLS didn’t interest me as a female – what did they have to bitch about? And they always bitch and moan and whine and . . .screw around. That’s too much peer pressure. And it’s not even good soap opera.

So I say to the fourteen year old girls, who probably already know – if you want a female role model to look up to– check out one who has been iconic to generations of women and she’s been portrayed in multimedia before there was a word for it.

Her name is Lois. LOIS LANE.

She’s been described as a vivacious, tough-as-nails journalist, and an independent, hardheaded woman with a good heart and an analytical mind. She caught Clark Kent’s eye in Action #1 in 1938. In her introductory panel he asks her for a date. She agrees ‘giving him a break.’ In the next panel, while dancing, Clark asks her why she has been avoiding him. Her answer shows that she guards her heart carefully.

She slaps a mobster’s face for interfering in her and Clark’s dance. She defends herself. In those days, they used to call it moxie. Later on it is referred to as being spunky, having Chutzpah, or being bad ass. You get the idea. This is a strong woman in a man’s world. She doesn’t bitch and kidder3389070960dq1moan about her plights. She is her own woman and she is not dependent on a man taking care of her.

Granted during the comics’ Silver Age, the writers at the time (50’s, 60’s, 70’s) made Lois more about chasing after Superman than her Golden Age or Modern Age counterparts. But she did have her own comic title – and when Superman played with rocks, you could read about what Lois was doing in her books. This was usually chick flick stuff in the comics. Conversely at that time, we had a strong, independent Lois on television wonderfully portrayed by Noel Neill in the Adventures of Superman. She was a no nonsense reporter who bantered with Clark and admired Superman for his heroics. Also in the mid 70’s we had Margot Kidder’s portrayal on the big screen – and no one would ever consider her a whiny girl. Again, she was a strong woman who made her way in the world on her own terms.

Lois Lane has never really been a true ‘damsel in distress.’ Yea, she gets herself in situations because of her natural curiosity and search for the truth, but she almost always relies on her own resourcefulness to get her out of her circumstances. As powerful a woman as Lois is, sometimes it’s just a little too much for her – not that she gives up– but there’s this guy who does the knight in shining armor routine on a daily basis – and he’s her particular crusader.

Can I just say thank John Byrne for the Modern Age! With Clark being Mr. Kent all the time and Superman is what he does, it opened the character to having more realistic personal relationships. This gave Lois more dimension. We could again see why Clark admired her and chased her, not the other way around.

During the 90s Lois’ importance in Clark’s life rose to the point that he proposed – and that’s how Doomsday came to be. (sorry, just making sure you’re awake) The comic writers were planning a wedding – Clark and Lois’s – but there was this new television show, Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman and the guys in charge didn’t want them to marry in the comics before they did on the show. So the comic scribes scrapped the wedding and came up with Doomsday to give the television show the chance to catch up. Teri Hatcher’s Lois had class, style, and showed us she was an all female, tough as nails journalist. We actually got to see what Lois was like at home as well as the office, and her relationship with Clark, with or without tights, expanded so it could be more closely examined. Lois fights for what she believes and the people she loves. She also fights for the truth, and she and Clark live in hope – especially after the wedding.

Enter Smallville. Again we have a television Lois who has continued to extend the character and make her relevant to today’s world. She’s an army brat. She has daddy issues, but she doesn’t let them get her down. She carries on, she pushes through and she always moves forward. She’s a beacon to the angsty Clark on the show – because in the future we know he never hesitates to help others, never loses faith or hope and always preserves life. Erica Durance in interviews repeatedly has shown a deep reverence for the character and its history. She fights for Lois on a show that didn’t bring her on until its fourth season.

Lois has had to take a backseat to Lana Lang on the show – this is not the Lana Lang from the comics. That character has been split into two characters. Did you ever think that comic book Lana had enough personality to be split in two? Lana is/was the romantic lead and Chloe (a Smallville creation) is the best friend. Poor Clark, no wonder he’s so confused and often standing in the shadow of these two girls. So if Lana isn’t really Lana, how can Clark be expected to be Clark? On this pre-Superman show, Lois is definitely Lois, but Clark has not been true Clark until season 8 and then there’s the lapse when Lana returns (and goes away a superhero who can kill Clark by getting within ten feet of him – not the best contribution to the Clark Kent story). And if the Chloe half of Lana is present, can Clark truly come into his own?

What does that have to do with Lois? Well even on a show that has ignored her for 3 seasons, she shines. She’s the most sane character on the show. She’s the shining hope and heart of the story. She will save Clark Kent and this show. Why, you may ask? Because she’s Lois Lane and she’s just that damn good. She’s a strong character and person aside from Clark. She doesn’t need to be tagged onto any other character to make her relevant. She’s not a waste of space – and she’s not a time suck. She matters. She’s not co-dependent or psychotic. She doesn’t manipulate or coerce others. She’s blatantly honest and generally let’s other people live their own dumb lives unless it hurts someone she loves. She’s loyal, determined, and passionate. If I were raising tweens, I’d think Lois Lane is a character they would admire and would want to emulate. She’s the woman that a super man falls in love with – usually at first sight. She’s got it all and Clark wants him some of that!

So CW, you have the perfect character to cater to your teen female audience, she’s got experience in doing just that for decades. Trust the classics. Lois Lane, tried and true since 1938.

And it doesn’t hurt that she’s on your number one rated show, now does it?
Here is hoping we get Lois in all 22 episodes in season 9! ( Assuming we get one more year of Smallville…..)


One Response

  1. Brilliantly written. Very well done.

    Lois Lane is truly the role model for a modern career oriented female. She’s straight forward, takes no crap, she needs men in her life but doesn’t let them run her life, she has a successful career and she’s everything what a young woman can wish to be. Beautiful, sassy, bold, can take care of herself, but you know the best part? Lois Lane is not a “man hater” or a “men are dogs” type woman.

    She has dated several men in almost all incarnations of Superman story, but the one thing common in all her love affairs is that she’s a honest person. She dedicates herself to the relationship and is infact so devoted that she ends up suffering from a heartbreak. The recent examples can be from Smallville i.e. Lois’s relationships with Oliver Queen and Grant Gabriel.

    She loves Clark will all her heart and soul and the love is simple and pure. She isn’t having any lingering feelings for her “best friend” or some random paramedic or Clark’s former best friend while being in love with him. She’s not “trying to protect” Clark by donning a super suit or by harboring monsters. She’s not becoming a doormat and throwing herself at him. Even at the brink of a serious heartbreak, she shows dignity and walks out. That’s what makes her so endearing, so wonderful.

    Lois has her flaws, and that’s what make her so awesome. She misspells, she’s mouthy, she’s straightforward and she’ll do nutty things to get a story, but that’s what has made Clark Kent and the DC fans fall head over heels with this lovely character. She’s not trying to sell herself as a “perfect” woman or “Clark’s equal” or she’s not devoting herself to him 24/7 so much that she ends up destroying her own career – NOPE! That’s not what Lois Lane does. She’s like a “pitbull on a pant leg” when she’s on a story, she forgets everything else around her when it’s about journalism, but that’s what makes this eccentric character so beautiful.

    With all her flaws, Lois Lane is perfect! There is a reason she’s Clark’s soulmate and there is a reason why all the Lanas, Chloes and Loris in the world can never be Lois’s equal, never take Lois’s place, no matter how hard they try.

    I can go on and on raving about how much I love every incarnation of Lois and why you can’t help but simply fall in love with this woman. Pick up any comic, watch Lois and Clark, watch the movies or Smallville, you’ll know why Lois is so wonderful.

    Erica is doing a great job of portraying Lois on Smallville. She understands the character to the core, unlike some other actors who don’t have a clue what’s going on the show. She’s beautiful and definitely the most talented female actor on the show right now. I think she has set the bar too high, the next actress who plays Lois Lane in some other show or movie would really have to work really hard to become as good as Erica. Definitely I would like to see more of this awesome actress in S9.

    Lois makes Superman so much more wonderful and on Smallville, Lois makes this show watchable. This year, the best storylines have been the one that have involved Lois. Can’t wait to see her return in Infamous!

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