The next morning, Lois strode into the Daily Planet offices in an all-red outfit, complete with short shorts and thigh-high boots. When Perry White told her that there were assignments waiting for her, Lois replied, “Here’s an assignment for you, Perry—find yourself another girl! As of now, I’m no longer on the Planet staff!” Sick of being told what to do, Lois quit the Daily Planet to become a freelance writer, focusing only on the stories she cared about.
Later that day, Superman caught up with Lois, and she explained her new approach to life. She said, “I’ve made a vow to myself—now that my sister’s gone, I’m going to live my life for her and me . . . to make up for her death by doing twice as much in my lifetime.” Dedicating her life to helping others meant a big change in her relationship with Superman as well. She promptly broke up with him, saying, “I’m no longer the girl you come back to between missions! I can’t live in your shadow—I’ve got things to do!” and broke up with him. Superman was understanding at first, telling her that he would respect her wishes.
This only lasted until the next issue. Superman kept interfering with Lois’s investigation of the 100, telling her that it was too dangerous, but she refused to listen to him. When she reiterated her desire to do twice as much with her life, Superman snapped, “You’re only being twice as stupid!” Lois told Superman to leave and “take your super-male ego with you!” As the Man of Steel flew off in a huff, he turned back to retort, “It’ll be my super-pleasure!”
While their sniping back and forth was childish, Lois’s internal monologues demonstrated both the maturity of her actions and the feminist motivations behind them. This wasn’t a Silver Age tiff in which Lois was upset about an asinine perceived slight, nor would a superkiss fix the problem. She still loved Superman, but she realized that he was holding her back. She didn’t want to be a damsel in distress whom he protected anymore; she wanted to be her own, independent woman.
Free of Superman’s paternalistic chauvinism, Lois surrounded herself with women. She moved in with Julie and two other women, Kristin Cutler and Marsha Mallow. Lois’s roommates accompanied her when she went out investigating stories; they trekked up a dangerous mountain together when Lois was looking into a mysterious guru, and they all traveled to France to enjoy the Parisian nightlife when Lois covered the Trans-Europa Olympics. The roommates supported one another and referred to each other as sisters. In one issue, Kristin was having a difficult time and Lois was quick to remind her, “We women have to stick together.”
By this point there was also another feminist heroine in Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane. Since 1970, Lois’s stories had run 14 pages long, followed by eight pages of “Rose and the Thorn.” Created by Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru, the series’s central character, Rose Forrest, was the daughter of a Metropolis police officer who was killed by the 100. The shock of her father’s death gave her a split personality: She spent her days as the calm, peaceful Rose, and took to the streets at night to hunt the 100 as the violent, vengeful Thorn. Thorn was a powerful, independent superhero from her first appearance in Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #105, and Woolfolk amped up the feminist content when she took over the book. One story featured a women’s liberation protest, with signs that called for “Equal Salaries for Equal Work.” In another issue, Rose worked for the campaign of Sylvia Charlton, an African American congresswoman who was running for the Senate.