In real life, we do know that the answer to this question is yes, biologically we can change a man into a women. Does the same apply for changing the gender of a well known, iconic figure in superhero lore. Marvel did just this in 2014, releasing a female Thor comic into the public. I ,for one, say its about time.
Although they do not make up the majority of the comic reader demographic, it has been studied that 35-45% of comic book readers are in fact women, and that 62% of those women like comics with female leads, which isn’t really surprising because its much more easy to identify with a character of the same gender. Would it be feasible to say then that the gender split in comics should reflect not only the reader’s demographics, but also the fact that 51% of the world population are in fact female? Yet studies show that females characters only make up about 30% of the Marvel and also DC universes. How are these comic giants trying to attract their newly growing demographic of readers? Well in Marvel’s case, they decided to make Thor female.
Recently Marvel has released a slew of comics with leading female leads, such as Spider Gwen, Ms. Marvel, Electra, She-Hulk and so on. Among these titles however, included an normally male superhero, Thor. Did Marvel just make a new universe where Thor happened to be female? Did some sort of body swap happen? No, Marvel decided that someone new needed to worthy of the hammer.
WARNING FOR SPOILERS AHEAD
Within the first issue of Thor, Marvel plays out that Thor himself has become unworthy of the hammer and its powers, and someone new needs to take up the helm, both figuratively and literally. This worthy character just so happens to be female. There are no exceptions that need to be made or any universe rules that need to be changed, the hammer just decided that the person worthy to wield it is female. She has all the same powers, all the same armor, and all the same skills as the previous Thor, who is still present within the comic and likes to make appearances. She isn’t sexualized for the male gaze or just a quick change to mix things up for the dashing hero. She is Thor, and equal to the previous ones before her. She is the one and only Thor in the Marvel universe.
The comic book world has finally started the realize that their stories need to change and evolve with time and fit the world around them; that world just happens to have females in them who love comic books. So to answer my original question, yes you can change a man into a woman, and the sky didn’t even fall. I can only hope that this has started a permeant shift within the comic book community.