The most commercially successful superhero stories often feature men as their lead. It's an image of power that is rarely extended to women. This idea has been perpetuated throughout the media for centuries.
The imagery of paper dolls represents the cultural view that girls and women are two-dimensional objects subject to the whims of others. Meanwhile, superheroes are looked to as leaders and decision-makers.
Haynes’ wanted to turn these ideas around and place young girls in positions of leadership. By painting them as superheroes it celebrates the power within them to shift the culture and the society they have been born into. Like all women of today, they seek equality and the need to be seen for all they are. Haynes’ intent is for the viewer to feel her power, her confidence and to recognize her birthright; her human right.
The young girls in this series are from the Tchukudu Kids Home in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
I began reworking this painting the week of the inauguration, and there it was straight in front of me. Kamala Harris was being sworn in as the first female Vice-President of the United States of America, the feminine Captain America. The symbolism is as bold and strong as the women who deserve to be at the table where all the decisions are being made.
Young girls now have Vice President Kamala Harris as an example of what is possible for them. They can see themselves in her reflection.