Juliette Bains: Role model for girls is no longer a Thor subject

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Every Saturday morning, at 8.25am on the dot, I’d be stirred by the sound of my brother tiptoeing downstairs.

Despite his best efforts to be stealthy, his infuriating routine woke me up every week, and after fruitless attempts to fall back to sleep, I’d always end up crawling out of bed and pottering downstairs to join him.

I’d trundle into the lounge bleary-eyed, making it down just in time for the telly to be switched on and the opening titles to roll across the screen.

The red cape, the epic music, the strange pants – it could only be one thing.

The New Adventures of Superman.

At its peak, there were 15 million mini Superman fans tuning in to watch the muscular yet doe-eyed Clark Kent carry women out of burning buildings, stop 10-tonne trucks with his bare hands and fly through the air to rescue the next helpless victim.

And every week without fail, my brother would be one of them, glued to the sofa for the 45 minute-show, not daring to move in case he missed anything.

In my eyes, there really must have been some sort of super power involved to get my brother out of bed so early. But in contrast to his excitement, I’d be sat on the other sofa looking particularly disinterested, impatiently waiting for Live and Kicking to start. I just didn’t ever get the whole Superman thing as much as he did.

Yes, okay, superheroes are stereotypically seen as a boy’s thing, but for me it was the whole ‘damsel in distress’ thing that put me off. Why was it always a man rescuing a woman and saving the world?

Should I be getting the message that, as a girl, I have to wait for a big strong man with bulging biceps and bright red undercrackers to sweep me off my feet?

Because that’s not really the moral I was looking for as a nine-year-old girl who, at that point, could still take on her brother in a fight.

Superman was someone young boys looked up to and wanted to be, but there was nothing there that I could really relate to.

For the best part of my adult life too, I’ve had to sit through sci-fi and superhero films where female characters are feeble and weak and in constant need of rescuing – the Transformers and Spider-Man movies to name a few.

And when they do finally get the chance to be a bit fierce, like Scarlett Johansson’s character Black Widow in The Avengers films, they take a back seat to the main – male – characters. And as for Wonder Woman and Supergirl, it always seemed to be as a bit of tokenism rather than anything more substantial.

In their scantily clad ensembles, they just never matched up to their male counterparts, and seemed to hide in their shadow.

Hopefully now though, things are about to change.

One of the manliest superheroes, Thor, is about to get one hell of a makeover.

For ‘he’ will now become a ‘she’. Superhero comic book giant Marvel announced last week that Thor would be recast the character as a woman in a bid to attract more women and girls.

The new artwork shows the previously bearded God of Thunder now as a buxom blonde, complete with the same caped costume. And she’s not going to be a dainty version of the superhero either, as writer Jason Aaron explains: “This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is Thor.”

Finally, young women of the world – back away from your Barbies and rejoice!

For an infinitely better, bad-ass fictional female idol is on the horizon. I’m sure this new incantation of the Thunder God will go down a storm with geeks and girls alike.

Drop off your gadgets and gizmos at the tech creche

Usually, a creche is somewhere you drop off your beloved children for a fun-filled afternoon.

It’s somewhere safe, somewhere you trust, where you can leave the little ones behind for a while.

But, children aside, in the ever advancing world we live in, what do we love, rely upon and get terrified of losing or letting out of our sight these days?

Our technological gadgets, of course.

That’s where the world’s first ‘tech creche’ comes in.

The New Forest National Park in Hampshire has set up a creche so people can feel safe in the knowledge their gadgets will be looked after if they decide to part with them whilst visiting the tourist attraction.

The new creche aims to get families off their phones and connecting with the real world again, and comes as research shows that seven in 10 children believe their parents are constantly glued to their mobile devices, whilst six in 10 parents believe their kids are doing the same.

The park lets visitors drop off their car keys and digital valuables in a secured vault, which they can collect whenever they wish.

Mark Holroyd, transport and tourism manager at the park, said: “Technology is a wonderful thing, but, it has also impacted on the way that families behave with each other.” It’s a sad state of affairs when we have to be peeled away from our gadgets to really enjoy what’s going on in the real world. But if that’s what it takes to get people to stop staring at screens and start spending quality time with their loved ones, then it’s worth it.

Time to show our support for troubled venue

It’s been a troubling few months for the Leeds Grand Theatre.

The council recently announced it may be stepping in to help steady the finances - and the future - of the cultural gem.

It’s sad to hear that such action might be needed, and it was only recently that I visited the venue for a fantastic sold-out show.

My friend and I were lucky enough to catch the comedy adult puppet show, Avenue Q, at the theatre last month.

Walking into the 135-year-old building for what must have been my tenth time, it still amazed me how impressive and, well, grand, the theatre is, and how lucky we are to have it in Leeds.

Needless to say, the show was brilliant and in between our howls of laughter, we promised we’d be back again to see another show.

In fact, I’m already planning on seeing the Shrek production there in a few weeks.

Whatever happens to the Grand and whoever’s hands it falls into, I hope the people of Leeds continue to support such a wonderful venue.

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