I suppose that makes sense - but really, the fact that she hasn't quite been able to make the next step is evidence of some sort of authorial or editorial prejudice. I mean, she's been around for a while now, she's a popular character, she has training, enemies, a supporting cast, she's on speaking terms with Batman - all she lacks, if we go by your hypothesis, is the ability to go that liiiiittle bit further. If she had that, she'd be a pro. Now, let's look at - oh, I dunno - Azrael. Let's look at Azrael. He started out as a naive college student turned brainwashed assassin for a cultlike order of monks. How long did it take Batman to take him under his wing? Five minutes? And then, when his back was broken, who did he pick to take over for him as Bats? That's right, Azrael, who then proceeded to become a raging psychopath until the real Bats came back and beat him, at which point he turned into a bit of a whimpering wreck. In short, he had a number of considerable disadvantages against him from word one. Yet, he was given that little extra push by the writers, that ability to go a little bit further, and now he's a semi-regular member of the team, trusted by all. And this is despite the fact that he very nearly wrecked the name of Batman for all time. Now take Steph. She has far fewer things against her than Azrael has, she's been around almost as long (if I remember correctly, she first showed up about halfway through the 'KnightFall' storyline), she's guest-starred in major comics such as 'Robin', 'Batman' and 'Detective Comics' - as a matter of fact, she has everything that Azrael had, and then some - except, again, that liiiittle bit of evolution. Azrael was given it. So far, she hasn't been. Why not? I'm not necessarily saying the writers are sexist - after all, how would I know? - but just a wee bit of tinkering would fix what's wrong with her and allow her to embark unimpeded on a glittering career. The fact that she hasn't received that tinkering where many others have is... interesting.