From a very young age, I wasn’t the sort of kid who took very well to being supervised over my shoulder. I picked out my own books at the library for as long as I could remember. When I was allowed to use the internet, I generally did so with a great amount of secrecy. I even watched some of my favorite anime on TV in hardcore secrecy — waiting to watch Inuyasha at 2 a.m. and sneaking downstairs, turning on Sailor Moon after easing my way past the two different creaky steps at 6 a.m.
At that age — somewhere between 9 and 12 — I was pretty self-sufficient, which was probably why I never wanted people to know what I was doing. After all, why would I want anyone to know what I was up to when I was perfectly capable of doing it without help?
Learning self-sufficiency is a pretty important part of growing up, and for some people, it comes earlier than others. (I did, in fact, meet people in college who couldn’t even wash their own laundry at first.)
But independence is a step beyond self-sufficiency. It’s about relying on yourself, and the ability to make decisions for yourself — decisions that others respect.
Independence is an integral component of any media that’s even vaguely aimed at teenagers or twenty-somethings, which makes up a lot of what we cover at Girls in Capes. Consider, for example, our book club title this month: Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal. Subtracting all the superhero stuff, Kamala Khan’s story is about her search for independence from her strict parents while also seeking her own path in high school. She doesn’t just seek independence from her family, but from the stifling expectations of the people around her.
Even beyond independence as a character goal, we see the impact of independence all the time — in the independent creators and shops that form our experiences.
This month, we’re exploring independence across entertainment in many forms: a teen’s independence from her parents, how independent games affect gaming as an industry, and the importance of independent bookstores in the publishing industry.
Feliza Casano edits and writes for all sections of the site. In her approximate 2.3 hours of free time each month, she loves watching anime, reading science fiction, and working on her novels-in-progress. Keep up with her antics at felizacasano.com and follow her on Twitter @FelizaCasano.