Kara Danvers had a lot of external conflicts to deal with this past season of Supergirl, mainly fighting the Worldkiller inhabiting her friend’s body. Meanwhile, her adoptive sister, Alex, has grappled with more internal conflicts. Alex, the resident badass of the DEO, struggled with her breakup from Maggie at the beginning of the season (there was a lot of liquor involved in that struggle). Over time, Alex turned her attention towards having a child on her own after spending a lot of time with Ruby, Sam’s preteen daughter.
By the end of the season, Alex had recovered from the breakup and was more focused on finding fulfillment through children. In addition to wanting to be a single mother, Alex’s decision to be the new director of the DEO is also untraditional — yet, it’s exactly what viewers need to see. Alex continues to be a symbol of empowerment for women. Specifically, Alex’s journey throughout the past three seasons of Supergirl has given us the LGBTQ feminist icon we need right now.
Alex started out in Supergirl as a badass fighter. Warrior women characters like Alex have become more common in television since the ’90s. Shows like Xena: Warrior Princess and Buffy the Vampire Slayer proved to girls growing up in the ’90s that women didn’t have to limit themselves to just being love interests. These series showed them they could be fighters. Alex Danvers does the same thing for girls growing up now, except she does so with several key additions.
Alex is without a doubt skilled in fighting. In the first season, she’s tasked with training Kara for superhero duty. However, she’s also demonstrated her value to the DEO as a scientist. Whenever there’s a scientific or medical crisis, Alex is the go-to person to deal with the situation. She’s an unlikely combination of something that requires intense physicality and something that requires an analytical mind.
Alex doesn’t conform to stereotypical gender roles, which is even more significant in the straight male-dominated superhero genre. At a time where girls need to be encouraged to join STEM fields, Alex is a powerful representation of how girls can be successful at seemingly disparate things. Yet, even the strongest person can find difficulty in coming to terms with her sexuality.
Alex’s Coming Out
Supergirl’s second season gave Alex a meaningful coming out story that resonated with so many people in the LGBTQ community. We first watched as Alex slowly came to terms with her feelings for Maggie. Then, Alex was willing to be at her most vulnerable and told Maggie and her friends and family that she’s gay. We watched as Maggie initially rejected Alex’s dating offer (which was hard to watch), and also how much in stride her loved ones took the news.
It’s no surprise that Hollywood loves dramatic coming out stories, but Alex’s story wasn’t. It was quieter, and her friends and family supported her. More coming out stories like Alex’s are needed in TV and film to help normalize this conversation.
As Alex and Maggie began dating, they didn’t fall into common misconceptions people have about the LGBTQ community. There was no “masculine one” or “feminine one.” Both characters were willing to be emotionally vulnerable with each other, yet they both had careers and knew how to kick butt.
Alex and Maggie’s only source of conflict was about having children, which is a conversation that many couples inevitably have. Breaking up over the idea of having children is all too common, which again makes Alex’s story even more relatable to a general audience.
The Children vs. Career Dilemma
When Alex fully realizes that she wants to have a child, even if it’s on her own, she begins to question the nature of her employment. As a DEO agent on the field, she’s often in dangerous situations that threaten her life. Because she knows that a child will bring her more fulfillment than anything else, Alex is willing to leave the DEO if it means she will be able to be there for her future child.
While the gut reaction is to think that leaving a successful career to have children is anti-feminist, it’s actually a feminist decision because Alex made it very clear that above everything else, she wants to be a mother. She doesn’t bend to societal pressure to wait for a partner to have a family. Instead, she makes this decision on her own because she knows this is what will make her happy.
Many women have felt immense pressure to be “superwomen” to balance career and children, yet Alex was practical and chose to give up the hero life to have what she wants. There’s nothing shameful about this choice, as it’s a choice that’s been at least an entire season in the making.
In the aftermath of her breakup, Alex sought comfort in alcohol, especially when she had to show up to Barry and Iris’s wedding. Is there anything worse than being fresh from a breakup then having to go celebrate love? If there is anything worse, it probably involves super-Nazis, which is what happened in the Crisis on Earth-X crossover event.
The Crisis on Earth-X crossover also featured a crossover one-night stand between Alex and Sara Lance, the premier LGBTQ icon of the Arrowverse. Sara and Alex enjoy one night together, which is a refreshing take on the “newly broken-up-with man has a one-night stand with a woman” trope. Male characters get a lot of one-night stand stories without slut shaming, and Alex deserves this same treatment. It’s completely normal that she would seek comfort in someone who’s as badass (and beautiful) as Sara Lance.
All we have confirmed for Supergirl Season 4 is another Kara Danvers, but we will hopefully see Alex as the new DEO director and a new mother. Alex is also due for another love interest, and it will be interesting to watch her navigate her dating life as a single mom. While we don’t know much about the next season, we do know that Alex is the empowered, feminist, LGBTQ character we need more of in the media.