There’s a real reason why people like Stephanie Brown. It’s not just because she’s a cute perky girl with a smile and a cape. It’s not because she’s a symbol of female empowerment. It’s not even because she’s the version of Batman with boobs. She’s more than all of that. Stephanie isn’t some rich boy who sought vengeance as opposed to therapy, and she isn’t some well off military brat who’s pouty because daddy issues. She’s not some cute circus boy who got adopted by a billionaire and she’s not a messiah from another planet here to “be the light to show us the way”.
No, not this girl. Stephanie got the short end of every single stick ever drawn to her, from her dickhead dad, to getting knocked up by a serious douchebag, to constant berating by Batman and the rest of the Batclan, to even being tortured and beaten to ‘death’ by the Black Mask. (She got better with that last one.) Hell, it even seems at times that DC editorial had it out for her over more times than people can count. And she’s not perfect either. Stephanie’s mistakes could fill an entire graphic novel. (And they have!) She has all the reasons in the world to become a villain, but she doesn‘t. She could have just put the costume in a box and went on and lead a normal life… But instead she chose to do the right thing, even though it was the hardest thing to do. She’s that person who’s always been told by the best of the best to give it up, that she’s not good enough. From Barbara, to Tim, to her father, to well respected writers of comics who create her adventures. Instead of tucking her chin and walking away sadly, she plants her feet, looks back at them with a smile, and says “Not gonna.”
It has nothing to do with being a male or female, at one point in time in our lives, we‘ve been Stephanie Brown. From either being turned down for jobs, or rejected by someone we like, or being told by a publisher that you’re just not good enough… And sometimes, it’s our fault and we brought it on ourselves. At points in time like that, we can cry in a corner, waiting for someone to feel pity on us. Or we shake it off, get up, and try again, and keep trying until we get it right, even though we may just get told to give up again… And that’s when we look them in the eye and we say:
We’ve all been Stephanie Brown. And I believe that’s the reason she endures.