Most of the time, feminism is a dirty word. It brings up connotations of women hating men, women fighting against the patriarchy, men being beat down and belittled to make women feel better — and these are all wrong. Like any movement, there are extremists, there are people with different opinions, there are people who don’t fully understand what it is. In the end feminism is about what you make it as a woman (or a man).
In one sentence, Valkyrie sums up everything I believe feminism to be. We’re not trying to take away your power, we’re not trying to emasculate you, we don’t hate you and we’re not trying to be better than you. We just want to be thought of as good as men. We want to be equals.
Valkyrie is introduced in Defenders #4 as a woman incredibly proud of who she is and what she stands for. She’s often written as over the top, but eventually Defenders strikes a great balance between Val as a character and Val as a feminist icon. This is the moment where, despite the sometimes omg-so-feminist writing, we get a glimpse of something real, something that strikes my heart every time I read it.