This past January, millions took to the streets in multiple cities across the world for the Women’s March, taking place one day after the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, in support of many issues facing women in society. Out of the many headlines from that day, one of the more memorable ones was the image of “Supergirl” star Melissa Benoist and the pointed message on her handmade sign, held proudly at the march’s hub in Washington D.C.: “Hey Donald, don’t try to grab my pussy — it’s made of steel.”
The sign — a reference to the highly publicized and widely condemned 2005 “Access Hollywood” audio recording of Trump that surfaced during the 2016 campaign trail, bragging that his fame allowed him to “grab [women] by the pussy” — helped further identify Benoist herself as a strong voice for women, beyond her famous role on The CW’s DC Comics-based series. As she told CBR earlier this month on the red carpet in Hollywood before the show’s PaleyFest panel, the complicated direction of current events have made the role mean even more to her.
“It definitely became more meaningful to me, especially that day,” Benoist told CBR. “I had always felt a sense of responsibility to young women and girls playing this role, and to be a good influence, and to represent strength and courage and ‘hope, help and compassion,’ which is Supergirl’s motto. Being at that march definitely lit a fire under my butt, so to speak.”
Although “Supergirl” remains firmly entrenched in a very fictional setting — the president on that show is Olivia Marsdin, played by Lynda Carter — recent episodes have dealt with real-world issues in its own way, mainly from Cadmus’ campaign to rid Earth of aliens, in a clear parallel to immigration rights.
“I think what we’ve been doing on the show with Cadmus and their scary ideals, it does kind of mirror [current events],” Benoist said. “I’m really proud of our writers for taking the chance to do that. I hope we just keep going.”
Beyond that, in her civilian role of Kara Danvers, Supergirl is also a reporter, and Benoist is keenly aware of the importance of that job in the age of “fake news.”
“Kara’s a journalist, and the media right now is necessary for truth and honesty to come out,” Benoit said. “So Kara’s going to be playing a big part in that. Snapper Carr [Ian Gomez], too.”
“Supergirl” airs 8 p.m. Mondays on The CW, with a new episode, “Distant Sun,” airing tonight.