(CNN) – Margot Kidder, who died Sunday at age 69, was more than just the actor who played Lois Lane in a series of “Superman” films in the 1970s and ’80s. She was a passionate advocate for the environment and for peace, a woman whose own struggle with mental illness chipped away at deep stigma, and a star whose most famous role tells us much about feminist progress.
Kidder’s Lois Lane was a character who bridged the notoriously male-focused world of comics with a new feminist America. Kidder didn’t write her part and wasn’t responsible for the character’s feminist shortcomings, but her role nonetheless illustrated the tension at play in late 20th-century America. Lois Lane was both a competent, ambitious journalist and a slightly flighty damsel in distress. She sniffed out stories and lobbed flinty challenges to Clark Kent; she also was in seeming constant need of Superman’s saving.
It can be tempting, when an actor dies, to reframe her most famous roles as fitting into some modern ideal. Lois Lane was not a flawless feminist icon. But neither was Kidder’s Lane a simple comic book babe. Instead, she reflected back the peculiarities and contrasts of the time.
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.