I might be weird, but I don’t often identify with fictional characters. Rather, I strive to uphold ideals and beliefs, or act in a way that would make my fictional mentor proud.
Having said that, I don’t see myself reflected in comics very often. I am a chubby, nerdy, bookworm of a woman. The eldest of 4 children, with a work ethic that makes me look like a workaholic, I can see aspects of myself in a lot of characters. But there isn’t a character who I read and inside I feel seen.
The closest I can offer as an answer to this question is that I identify with characters to whom family is the most important. The Fantastic Four, when written very well, are the ones who resonate the most. The X-Men and their found family dynamic despite differences in their upbringing and personalities reflect my inner self. Thor and his utter devotion to Asgard, his home, and his people.
The problem is that most of these characters are men. The heroic, stoic, tough but fair, family driven heroes are men. The ladies are reduced to side characters. Their love and devotion doesn’t make them strong or worthy of these heroic stories. It makes them less, it makes them weak, this love and devotion is something to be exploited. Reading isn’t sexy, being clever isn’t desirable if you have mammaries. Everything that I am and that I love is reserved for the heroic men, but because I am a woman, I am not reflected in stories. I am not important enough to have these power fantasties. I am reduced to a sidekick.
I hate the concept of a ‘strong female character’ in writing or media. I hate that a woman is only a hero when she behaves more like a man. I hate that it is EXPECTED of a female character to be emotional and love her family and be a mother hen, rather than it being celebrated the way it is for a male character to show the same emotions. It frustrates me to no end that everything I am and everything that I feel is seen as somehow less, just because I’m a woman.
So while I love and admire the heroes who truly are selfless, and who uphold the values that I cherish, it is backhanded and spiteful to me because I am a woman, and women aren’t allowed to have the same emotional depth in media. It hurts me to know that until the status quo is tilted and destroyed, I will never be really reflected in comics.
But hey, at least Reed Richards can be smart, love his wife, and be an asshole while being praised and Sue having the same reactions makes her an uppity, emotional woman who doesn’t understand whatever science is happening. Gotta know your place as a woman, right? (note: that was sarcasm.)