“I don’t kill. But I don’t lose either.”
In September 2011, DC Comics rebooted their entire main universe, leaving hundreds of characters missing or irrevocably altered. Many of these losses included women, specifically those of color, and characters with disabilities who had come to help develop, in some small way, the world of DC as populated and enriched by more than just white, able-bodied men.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in the treatment of Cassandra Cain.
Initially a young woman of color whose disability affected her ability to speak and read, Cass’s first appearance in the Batman arc Mark of Cain signaled a change in the stagnant atmosphere in Gotham and would lead to the young woman’s ascension to the Batgirl cowl. Enriched, but never dwarfed, by a full cast of Batfamily members, Cass’s run as Batgirl didn’t stray away from her abusive backstory nor from her optimistic future. Later storylines would alter Cass’s character in numerous ways—many terrible, some terrific—but the heart of the character and what she meant to so many people would not change.
What has changed, however, is Cass’s presence within the DC world. Completely removed from the main universe, it is up to the fandom to keep Cass alive. It is up to us to be conscious consumers of our fanworks and to demand more Cassandra at every turn. No more Batfamily posts without her. No more stereotyping and making her into a background character.
Just as Cass fought to be more than what her father wanted, so too should we fight an entire system, only exemplified by DC’s tactics, that tells us that Cass’s narrative is not one we should care about, that women of color with disabilities have no worth within a world where humans can fly, and that Cassandra herself is the Batfamily member no one wants.
“You can change. You can.”
WHAT: Cassandra Cain Appreciation Month
WHERE: Here on Tumblr, or on any other fandom channel you commonly use (such as AO3, Livejournal, or Twitter)
WHEN: July 2nd-July 31st
WHY: Cass’s first appearance took place in July of 1999 in Batman #567. This month is also host to disabilityfest, which emphasizes the importance of fictional disabled characters, like Cass. In many ways, it’s a perfect matchup of dates!
HOW: How can you help? It’s simple! During the month of July, consider creating, posting, and reblogging more Cass! Create headcanons, write meta, write a tweet celebrating your love for Cass, or ask questions about her to your followers! Think critically about the presence of the Batfamily in both the comics and in fandom and how your contributions either help or hinder Cass’s presence as a crucial, loved family member! Write fics, do fanart, or make crafts! Make graphics or playlists; change your Tumblr theme and your icon! No matter what you’re good at, there’s something for you to do to let everyone know how much you love Cass!
“Everyone experiences tragedy. Tim. Bruce. You and me. It’s not about the city. It’s about how you choose to see the world. Everything else is just an excuse.”
This appreciation month is being coordinated through In the Name of Cassandra Cain. This blog is completely dedicated to Cass, and will host a contest during July with prizes for seven different categories of fanworks!
We do ask that if you will be participating in Cassandra Cain Appreciation Month, that you follow some simple guidelines:
- Don’t post/reblog/support sexist, racist, ableist, or otherwise offensive material under the premise of helping Cass’s cause. Cass wouldn’t support that kind of behavior, and neither should you.
- Don’t character-bash. There’s a strong difference between pointing out meta differences in characters or in characters’ treatment in fandom and hating on a character you don’t like under the premise of defending Cass. Focus on Cass, not other characters.
- Please use tags for all potentially triggering material, especially in your fanworks. While certain materials may not bother you, they could potentially cause very unsafe feelings in others. Tags include, but are not limited to:
- Rape (please note that dub-con and non-con should be explicitly tagged with this)
- Sexual Content
The main tag for this event will be #casscainappreciationmonth, but some other tags you can use here or on other social media and fandom outlets include:
Please reblog this post to spread awareness of the celebration! Let others know that you stand with Cass!