Teen Girl Superheros Fight 'Nerd Discrimination'


One of the truest truisms of all is that high school sucks for a lot of people. At worst, it can be a stultifying, judgmental, depressing environment (with obvious exceptions — however, I think we can all agree that the narrative of the “downtrodden nerd who prevails at long last” is as ubiquitous as unappealing pretzel restaurants in a suburban mall). Fortunately, brilliant, inquisitive, and interesting lil’ minds tend to find a way towards self expression. This is exactly what’s happened in Winnipeg, Canada, where a group of teenage girls has created a set of superhero trading cards for a squad of badass heroines called the Craftastics. The Craftastics are, of course, based on themselves, and they fight the everyday evils that plague teenage girls.

Like all superheroes, the Craftastics have a humble origin story: they were in the midst of standing up to patriarchy — as one is wont to do — when a truck filled with toxic waste spilled its cargo on them. Just kidding, they met in the multi-purpose room at Valley Gardens School in Winnipeg because they were all in an after school program (but my idea was pretty chill).

The after school program is called the Valley Garden Grrlz Club. Its aim is to serve as a safe and empowering place for teenage girls to make crafts, play games, and have group discussions about typical teen girl problems: self-esteem and body image issues, how to have healthy relationships, etc. Once a month, they volunteer in the community. In short, the Valley Garden Grrlz are amazing teen girls who definitely never put each other’s bras in the freezers at sleepovers.

In collaboration with a local artist, Jennie O, the grrlz decided to create a public art project. According to Winnipeg Arts,

During their weekly meetings, the group decided that the artwork should address the issues they’ve encountered as teens, like gender discrimination, stereotyping, body-issues, depression, anxiety, gossip, peer pressure and bullying. Together they decided to create a team of superheroes to combat some of the challenges teens face.

The Craftastics consist of The Bookmark, who works to “end discrimination against nerds,” Masked Peacock, who has the power to “spread her multi-coloured feathers to turn racists into people who see the beauty in diversity,” and Click, who combats gossip. Click’s powers include the ability to “make ‘uncool’ teens cool without changing anything about them,” which is the most sweetly profound thing I’ve heard in weeks. Their hope is that other schools and libraries will download the trading cards and be inspired create injustice-fighting leagues on their own. They’ve also succeeded in creating female superheroes whose outfits aren’t hypersexualized along the way.

Side note: one time at college I was on a panel about sexuality and someone asked what everyone’s sexual superhero would be, and I cracked under pressure and said “Judith Butt-ler.” Therefore, I have a lot of respect for these young women — both as a feminist and someone with a truly ghastly fake superhero name of her own.

“Meet the Teen Girl Superhero Squad Who Fight Racism and ‘Nerd Discrimination'” [Bitch]

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