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Supergirly

Chloë Grace Moretz is Not Happy With the State of Cinema Superheroines


Chloë Grace Moretz wants more women as leads in superhero franchises, so she can watch them and play them.

“It would be great to have [a strong female superheroine] in the Marvel system,” Moretz told Total Film. “It would be great to have more than even Scarlett [Johansson] because Black Widow was still ‘wear the spandex and push your boobs up, this is a man’s world.’”

“I think what it’ll be is Wonder Woman. I think Wonder Woman is someone that might be able to walk in and do something really cool… A lot of the female characters are written that way in the comics, of being submissive, very sexually driven. They’re the kryptonite! I think Wonder Woman was one of those characters that really was a strong female character. The closest we’ve gotten to that is Catwoman with Michelle Pfeiffer.

It’s undeniable that Black Widow proved to be a decisive character after The Avengers came out: there were a lot of folks out there who objected to the way she was framed in promotional material (not to mention her conspicuous absence from much of the tie in merchandise), and cited her primary skill of subterfuge and her momentary giving in to fear in the face of the Hulk as reasons why she represented negative tropes about women. I disagree, at least on the points about her character. At least, I don’t disagree that those are characteristics of some very old tropes about women in action film, but I feel like Black Widow in the Avengers suffers much as Tauriel does in Desolation of Smaug (to pick a more recent example) from being the only character to represent an underrepresented demographic. If these characters were presented in a more diverse universe full of more women being doing stuff that’s relevant to the plot of these stories, they could exist as part of a spectrum of female representation instead of bearing the impossible burden of being everything to everyone who wants to identify with them.

It sounds like what Moretz really wants is a character who isn’t simply a female power fantasy that’s allowed to play with the boys as long as she is outnumbered by them, but is instead allowed to be marketed and presented as a representation of female power. And it makes sense that Moretz should be very interested in seeing more characters like Wonder Woman, a de facto feminist icon since the 70s, and Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman (who was a very 1980s version of female power striking back against the masculine stronghold of the male executive). She’s a child actress whose big break was appearing as a superhero in a superhero franchise. Hit-Girl may have been her last chance to play a completely unsexualized superhero role for a long time, and it’s entirely because we live in a society that’s still (thankfully) uncomfortable with explicitly sexualizing underage girls in front of a wide audience. (Implicitly, subtly, or for a select audience, well, that’s a different, gross story.) We have no such qualms about sexualizing an adult female superheroine or villain, whether or not the movie is intended to appeal to children as young as thirteen (and any child whose parents think they can handle a PG-13 rated flick like The Avengers or X-Men or Batman & Robin).

I hope that Wonder Woman is allowed to be that in Batman vs. Superman, but to put it in a nutshell: I’m not holding my breath.

(via Total Film.)

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  • Anonymous

    I would watch an MCU Black Widow movie. Just sayin’.

  • Anonymous

    In all fairness, despite all my issues with The Dark Knight Rises, Hathaway’s Catwoman was pretty spot on and less sexualised than Pfeiffer’s version, or Berry’s (obviously).

  • Anonymous

    Ideally yes, that is supposed to be Wonder Woman. She is supposed to be one of the few characters that aren’t here for male pleasure. But, to be frank , that has been peverted so badly by comics over the years—especially in the new 52—that it’s hard to not just feel that WB has completely lost their way. As long as the idea of an all female peaceful society is seen as being too “weird” and as long as Wonder Woman is fulfilling a sexist male power fantasy as Superman’s hot girlfriend that exists for immature fanboys to live vicariously through than I have little hope that this is going to happen . WB has lost their way with Diana. Here’s hoping they find her again.

  • Anonymous

    I think the bigger issue is that Catwoman is not a superhero. She’s an anti- hero who, at times, does heroic things and helps. But she’s not a superhero inspiring hope to the masses. Both Anne and Michelle played her very well. Lois Lane is a hero who is ::not:: sexualized but she doesn’t wear a costume and uses her job rather than her fists.

    But the issue here is a female superhero, who wears a costume, saves the world and is not sexualized. That is very, very hard to come by.

  • Anonymous

    I was just saying that because Moretz included Pfeiffer’s Catwoman as a superhero. I agree that Catwoman is a different case altogether because as a thief, a degree of immorality is required.

  • Mark Matson

    Obviously, the X-Men have several characters that qualify as non-sexualized costumed superheroes. But that is more the exception that proves the rule. Also, not actually true for First Class.

  • Laine Glaistig

    Sadly, I’ve heard far too much disgusting commentary on Hitgirl to think that she’s completely unsexualized. A lot of guys make leering comments about “Did you see that costume? Just give her a couple of years…” Ick

  • Anonymous

    Actually I think that is more interesting than the goodie-two-shoes superheroine. Catwoman isn’t just the sweet and innocent “good girl” with superpowers. She’s a real person with real flaws who hit some hard times and fell to temptation, but she’s not a bad person, and eventually does the right thing.

  • Lien

    Know what it would mean if there was a wonder-woman film? The possibility to see more actresses on screen.
    I mean, the island where Wonder-Woman lives in is populated entirely by women. From architects to guards to ship captains to i don’t know… sewer workers. You know it’s gonna boost the numbers of female casting for that year alone. And maybe even give the opportunity for other female actresses to shine.

    Reminds me of how Eleanor Rosevelt only asked to be interviewed by women in her press conference not because she hated the men, but because she wanted the newspaper industry to hire more women. This could be our Eleanor film.

  • Anonymous

    See for all the complaints about Wonder Woman, the state of Marvel’s verse annoys me even more somehow. WB is too incompetent to handle any property without “Batman” in the title but Marvel on average is churning out 2-3 superhero movies a year, and as of 2015, none of them have a title lead that isn’t a white male.

    And while I appreciate them bumping up Black Widow with a bigger role in Winter Soldier and stuff like that, it’s not the same.

  • Emily Neenan

    After DC’s tentatively titled Superman 2; And Batman And Also Wonder Woman Please Help Us We Don’t Know What We’re Doing comes out, I think Black Widow will _still_ be the best, least sexualised (she never takes her clothes _off_!) and most equal (she closes the portal, she outsmarts Loki, she gets the same number of ass-shots as Cap does!) female superhero. And I’ll be here, waiting patiently for the MCU to run a solo Captain Marvel movie. (I will also accept a Black Widow movie, or She-Hulk, or Spiderwoman, or Wasp.)

  • MyScienceCanBeatUpYourGod

    Natasha was actually THE hero of The Avengers.

    Movies crowded with a ton of hero characters often follow the “Seven Samurai” structure where there is still one main hero character who is most instrumental to gathering the rest of the team together. In The Avengers, it was her.

    Of the team, she was the second one who appears in the movie. Hawkeye’s initial appearance was just to set up the villain and set up Hawkeye as HER “damsel in distress” that SHE had to rescue. She assembles a lot of the team at first and after the assault on the helicarrier, she rallies the team for the final battle. She and Hawkeye were never meant by SHIELD to be part of the team, they were just high-ranking agents, but they step up when they are needed. Although Cap “leads” by barking a few orders at the beginning of the battle, he kind of needed her to push him into that position. And she’s the one who shuts down the villain’s doomsday machine, essentially winning the battle.

    The tears after the Hulk encounter make her a STRONGER character – she’s not a robot who feels no fear, she has real courage necessary to control and overcome the fear that any human being would feel in that situation.

    And this is significant: she defeated THE GOD OF TRICKERY in a BATTLE OF WITS. A great, satisfying scene, but if you think about it, makes as much sense as any non-super-powered mortal beating Thor in a fair fight. (Sure Loki is arrogant as all maniacal supervillains should be, but this is the entity that the greatest con artists and grifters in the ancient world PRAYED TO for inspiration and chutzpah. He should have been able to calibrate for it. TALKING to Loki should be as scary as talking to Hannibal Lecter, who made the guy in his neighboring cell kill himself just by saying the right things…)

    It almost felt like they made her TOO big of a part of the movie, BECAUSE she’s the token. If there were just one other woman on the team, there wouldn’t be so much pressure for one character to represent an entire gender.

    These characters are all fifty years old. As timeless as the ideas and principals behind them are, they were by and large created during the “Mad Men” era. It occurs to me that Marvel doesn’t have a “Flagship” female character the way Wonder Woman represents for DC, but with as much effort as they have gone to to make Natasha relevant, she could totally carry her own movie.

  • Saraquill

    How does using subterfuge make Black Widow an alleged throwback to sexism?

  • Jeff

    He’s a very interesting person especially given the time he’s living in. Not only did you have a BDSM polyamorous relationship with his wife and a woman named Olive- who, by the way, was the inspiration for Wonder Woman’s power bracelets, as Olive wore similar bracelets (who knows if they could block bullets or not) :p – but he also advocated that the U.S. embrace the ‘loving submission’ (his words) of a matriarchal society. What I find really interesting is how much of it bled into his work- the bondage imagery is very strong (hence the lasso; also the more unsavory aspect of Wonder Woman’s character- she could be defeated if bound by a man. Though I could see some arguing that this is a metaphor for the oppressive nature of the patriarchy, it is still rather uncomfortable that she is so weakened by a man), and there is a lot of instances of women being empowered- Wonder Woman even becomes president in one issue! I remember he was quoted as saying that he hopes young girls will see Wonder Woman as a role model, and that they too will one day grow up to become leaders. He also invented the lie detector. And it should be noted that it was his wife who suggested Wonder Woman to him. He was told by DC to come up with a superhero and she said something to the effect of “Why not have a female superhero? There are so few female superheroes” and that inspired him to create Wonder Woman. So she should get credit too in my opinion, as well as Olive.

    As for the topic of the article, I think it and Chloe Grace Moretz are spot on. The big problem I’ve had with the female action heroes (Lara Croft, Selene, Elektra, and so on) is that much of their strength I feel is undermined when they are over-sexualized- it’s as if there’s some sort of twisted trade-off. The creators or whomever says: “she can be a strong female character, fine. But as a trade off we have to make her look as sexy as possible and she has to wear a skin tight body suit with a lot of cleavage showing”. Now I’m not saying that female action heroes can’t show skin or can’t be comfortable with their sexuality, but there is a fine line between that and clear over-sexualization. Plus I feel that if the heroine is over-sexualized, people- males especially- end up focusing on that rather than her actual character. Not only that, but I feel that this emphasis on sexual traits may lead to the heroine in question acting as a role model…but for all the wrong reasons (a sort of negative role model). Due to her status as a sex object, it reinforces the idea that women are here to be sexy- so when people praise her for or focus on only her as a sex object, and then turn around and say that she is a role model, young girls may misinterpret being sexy or a sex object is an ideal to strive for, rather than being brave, kind, smart (whatever traits the heroine shows). In other words, how to look rather than how to act.

    Lara Croft is a clear example of this- people tend to focus on how big her boobs/butt are rather than her bravery or fearlessness or what-have-you. I mean, for crying out loud, Lara Croft only has her ridiculous proportions because some horny programmer “accidentally” increased the proportions (there is some technical term for it, some coding term, but I am no programmer) and decided to keep it that way. The creator even said that he wanted her to be a role model, not some sort of sex doll (which is what she became, she was featured in Playboy for goodness sakes!) Then there’s all that nude-code obsession…does anyone think these things would exist had Lara not been over-sexualized?

    Also- and this was discussed in the article about strong female characters- I feel as though that when there are action heroines, they are primarily defined by being able to kick butt rather than having actual characterization. Just because your female character is powerful in a physical sense doesn’t mean she is a ‘strong’ character. It’s remarkable how few well-rounded female characters there are in mainstream media for girls and women to look up to. So few female characters are allowed to express the full breadth of the human emotional spectrum compared to males. Female heroines are either stoic, but emotionally damaged (Sarah Connor in T2 is an example) or completely ruled and defeated by their emotions (a very pervasive stereotype). There are examples where this is not the case, where female heroines are actually, you know, human beings in that they are complex and interesting characters, but there aren’t enough- not compared to males, not by a long shot. And as the article states, much of this is due to them throwing in the one female character who is supposed to represent half the world (women do make up half of the world’s population after all, maybe a little more, I forget the statistic). And often this female representation is bogged down by harmful stereotypes (one of the most pervasive I’ve found has to do with emotion- with the female character either being overly emotional, or she struggles with emotions due to ‘trading’ them for male attributes, mainly strength).

    So, long story short, I will paraphrase Ms. Elizabeth Holloway Marsten and ask “Why not have a female superhero”?

  • Anonymous

    I agree, and it doesn’t help Marvel that they don’t control many of their own properties (by their own fault) like FF, X-Men, and Spiderman. Getting Daredevil back probably means new life for Elektra, though who knows if any of the Netflix properties will make it to the big screen anytime soon.

  • Anonymous

    “more women as leads in superhero franchises”, which is an incorrect formulation because it suggests that there are any women as leads in superhero franchises now. But there aren’t any at all!

    Wonder Woman – that’s funny: Marvel would like to have her, DC-Warners doesn’t know what to do with her! ;-)

  • Charlie

    Join the club, we have t shirts.

  • BatiHoney

    I wouldn’t call or refer to Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman as a ‘strong female character’ or a feminist icon never in a million years, but other than that, I agree wholeheartdly with her. We just need to hope Gadot’s Wonder Woman won’t be sexualized… and hope that the Jessica Jones miniseries, the possible Agent Carter TV show will, and Black Widow and Scarlett Witch in The Avengers 2 will be enough -rollseyes- for Marvel to gather the freaking courage to make a movie with a female lead. I’m crossing my fingers for 1 in Phase 3.

    P.S.: I am also tired of the ratio of 1 female character – 472937294 male characters in a team. So tired.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    Who honestly thinks a normal running from a rampaging Hulk is weak? O.o Its bleeping common sense

  • Ashe

    Strong Female Characters don’t run from anything

  • Travis

    Chloe Moretz and Ellen Page in “Shadowcat & Magick.”

    Make it happen, Fox!

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    Is this the version of strong female character where they can have the personality and intelligence of a plank of wood but so long as they are good in a fight then they are a ‘strong character who can do no wrong’?

  • Laura Truxillo

    … Yes. We know. Which has what to do with the price of pipeweed in Hobbiton?

  • Anonymous

    Could we qualify Peggy Carter as a Superhero?

  • Laura Truxillo

    That sounds like the same logic that calls Superman boring. Catwoman is a fascinating, dynamic character. But so is Wonder Woman and a lot of other “goodie-two-shoes” lady superheroes. Plenty of heroes exist as real people with real flaws.

    If anything, while I liked Hathaway, and I love Natasha, I think it is kinda sad that for the most part, the only ladies in costume we see are the “damaged goods” anti-hero (sometimes trying to atone) types. It’s a cool type, but there are lots of others out there.

  • Adrian

    Right? I’ve always loved the scene where she was shaken by her run-in with the Hulk (who wouldn’t?) but then gets back on her feet and volunteers to take down Clint a scene later.

    The Hulk scenes made her more human. She can’t win in a fight with him, she can’t manipulate him, none of her training works on him, etc. A strong woman but not perfect.

  • Joanna

    Indeed. When there’s a seemingly equal number of women to men, the women are not deliberately sexualised. This is not the case when there is only one woman or at least a very skewed ratio.

  • Joanna

    She’s not portrayed as sexualised but the audience will always let their imagination run away with them =P

  • Lien

    I seem to recall a tumblr post vaguely about this, namely about the sailor scouts (bare with me here, please…).

    Each of the scouts are all diverse in personality, tastes and behavior. Some want to hunt for cute boys, some are content with just their friends, some are already taken. While some are energetic, some are sleepy, some like to play sport others just want to read, etc… And see, all this is fine cause it shows how diverse women can be in this cartoon and (vaguely) in the real world.

    Take only ONE of them however… and you get a problem. Try to imagine what the sailor moon cartoon would be with only one scout, no neptune, no moon, no mercury or whoever else. The show is just about her and no one else. What do you get? A running stereotype chasing after demons and facing boy issues and what not. Without other personality to balance it out, this show becomes an insult. It’s exactly what you said at the end, you can make lots of effort to create a powerful woman but if she’s the only woman, it will still highlight a problem: Tokenism. That’s where diversity needs to be addressed and not the writing. Why give all this pressure on Natasha when it could be given to others as well? And no, i am NOT talking about giving it to the other boys, i thank you.

    I recall the comment section under the bechdel test in this website where people started to call the test “Outdated” because it doesn’t count decent written Arcs (like that’s what they think the bechdel test was created for… sigh…). And an example talked there was Mako from Pacific rim, an incredibly written girl. But just like with black widow, she still face the same problem that Chloe is addressing here. Sure, mako is well rounded, has weakness, overcomes them, proves to herself and to others, becomes stronger as the film progresses, doesn’t flaunts her looks for the male gaze crowd… BUT SHE’S THE ONLY GIRL!
    It’s the whole princess Lea syndrome again. Boys can be Luke, han solo, Boba fett, Vador, Lando, etc… but girls only get to chose Lea (or the slaves girls). In pacific rim, Boys can be Raleigh, Pentecost, Newton, Herman, Hannibal, etc… but the girls can only choose to be Mako and no one else (unless you want to be Russian girl with only three spoken lines or random Chinese lady that panics in the shelter). The same can be said with the Avengers by the way. Beside pepper’s five minute cameo and nick’s fury’s assistant, who else you gonna be for Halloween? I’m sure some girls don’t mind being smurfette but what about those who would rather be Hefty smurf? I don’t want Smurfette to change just for me, i just want another option!

    Sorry but, my passionate love for Natasha on the side, I recognize the issue in the avengers and i am taking Chloe’s side on this. Want to improve women’s image in superhero movies? Destroy the boy’s club, make more female characters then just mako/natasha, break the 1 girl to thousand boys ratio… And make that wonder woman film already darn it!

  • Jake Mertz

    Well, considering that comic books were created for a primarily male audience, and that it never really occured to people that women would even like them, it’s not really surprising that women are a smaller demographic.

    The mentality that comics and their offshoots are just for men still exists. It’s changing, as more and more women become vocal about liking comics, wanting more female characters in them, and about how women in comics are portrayed. I think that it may be finally dawning on the comics companies that women actually read comics. But, what they care about is statistics and money, How many women actually go out and buy comics, compared to men? How much of their revenue comes from women who buy comics for themselves, and not the males in their lives?

  • Anonymous

    The audience don’t even need to have their imaginations run away – the movie places that exact thought in their heads for them. After all, The above comment is said by one of the characters in the movie pretty much verbatim.

  • Joanna

    Ah yes I had forgotten that. That was kinda gross =/

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    YUSH! And considering how Loki fared against the Hulk and the fact that this guy was punching out alien ships left and right later in the film, Id say she handled herself pretty awesomely.

    Nerves of steel on that one. ^^

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    If her series fares better than SHIELD? Totally.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    Huh….I confess, I had not once considered the possibility of them needing to hire extras having such a ‘break out character’ chance for lesser known actors…..
    And considering how DC is VERY big on borrowing ideas from their other medias (Harley Quinn came to the comics because they loved her in the cartoon) I wouldn’t be surprised if we had another Agent Coulson moment

  • Anonymous

    There should be more women with more relationships with each other in film and TV: it’s a point that can’t be made often enough.

    However that isn’t to say that there aren’t issues even in stories predominantly or totally populated by women/girls. I’m not that familiar with Sailor Moon, but your comment does remind me of something I read in a great book by Deborah O’Keefe called ‘Good Girl Messages’. It’s an excellent feminist critique of children’s literature, but applicable to other narrative forms, I think.

    She makes the point that there’s a recurring theme in girls’ books of ‘the group as strength’. Over and over again girls have been encouraged by books to subjugate their individuality to better suit a group dynamic: the message is that only as part of a group can girls become whole. Meanwhile boys’ books tend to promote individualism and singular heroism. From Little Women, the Little Colonel books, later pony club serials, school stories, the Babysitter’s Club etc etc… gangs of girls are presented as comfortingly similar to each other within these groups but with enough harmless differences – this one’s a bit arty, this one’s a bit sporty – that girl readers can enjoy identifying with a particular girl without feeling challenged to stand out from the crowd. Drama arises when one girl selfishly puts her individual desires above the group’s needs; in the end she always learns her lesson.

    I see the same thing in girls’ shows: female characters who aren’t really individuals but avatars of a group personality. They will have a few distinguishing details, but often the differentiation is entirely superficial: this one dresses in blue, this one in pink etc. Meanwhile you never see that model on boys shows or storied. Male characters might form a group together, but it is a collection of autonomous individuals. Imagine a male Totally Spies or Powerpuff Girls. The idea of three basically identical boy characters with only small aestehtic differentiation is weird to us, but we regularly accept that with female characters.

    Now there’s nothing wrong with promoting the strength of the group as a virtue, and there’s nothing wrong with the shows or books I’ve mentioned. But the cumulative effect of this constant representation of the group-as-identity message is the reinforcement of the idea that female character exists within a narrow remit within which only a narrow range of deviation in personality or physicality is permissable.

    such stories would pass the Bechdale Test easily, but that doesn’t mean they present any more of a helpful view of girls and women.

    I also think ‘group is good’ has been overwhelmingly pushed as a female virtue. Girls are expected to fold in more, to modify their characters for the sake of society and family more. This is a message we’ve been given for a long time. It’s time boys had more shows and books about becoming part of a group identity, and that girls shows moved away from the message a bit.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I’ll give her that, based on her markswomanship with a handgun.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    How awesome is this? There’s a new animated WW movie out I believe, because I’ve been seeing new .gifs on tumblr. There’s a scene, where WW lassos some man and tells him to reveal his truth.

    He’s a somewhat slovenly looking man, but he admits, that when he’s alone he wears WWs costume. Because it makes him feel powerful.

    You feel, that this is a set up for a fat shaming transphobic joke.

    But instead, Diana says “That’s ok, it makes feel powerful too”.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    How awesome is this? There’s a new animated WW movie out I believe, because I’ve been seeing new .gifs on tumblr. There’s a scene, where WW lassos some man and tells him to reveal his truth.

    He’s a somewhat slovenly looking man, but he admits, that when he’s alone he wears WWs costume. Because it makes him feel powerful.

    You feel, that this is a set up for a fat shaming transphobic joke.

    But instead, Diana says “That’s ok, it makes feel powerful too”.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    How awesome is this? There’s a new animated WW movie out I believe, because I’ve been seeing new .gifs on tumblr. There’s a scene, where WW lassos some man and tells him to reveal his truth.

    He’s a somewhat slovenly looking man, but he admits, that when he’s alone he wears WWs costume. Because it makes him feel powerful.

    You feel, that this is a set up for a fat shaming transphobic joke.

    But instead, Diana says “That’s ok, it makes feel powerful too”.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    How awesome is this? There’s a new animated WW movie out I believe, because I’ve been seeing new .gifs on tumblr. There’s a scene, where WW lassos some man and tells him to reveal his truth.

    He’s a somewhat slovenly looking man, but he admits, that when he’s alone he wears WWs costume. Because it makes him feel powerful.

    You feel, that this is a set up for a fat shaming transphobic joke.

    But instead, Diana says “That’s ok, it makes feel powerful too”.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    How awesome is this? There’s a new animated WW movie out I believe, because I’ve been seeing new .gifs on tumblr. There’s a scene, where WW lassos some man and tells him to reveal his truth.

    He’s a somewhat slovenly looking man, but he admits, that when he’s alone he wears WWs costume. Because it makes him feel powerful.

    You feel, that this is a set up for a fat shaming transphobic joke.

    But instead, Diana says “That’s ok, it makes feel powerful too”.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    BUDAPEST!

  • Heather Lynn

    All this talk about Wonder Woman and no one’s calling for a Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn movie? For shame internet! =P

  • Laszlo

    I don’t really think that’s a gender thing, there are plenty of team-based boys stuff as well, like TMNT, Power Rangers/Super Sentai and almost every other combining robot show. And I don’t think girl teams have any less defined personalities than these, there’s always an element of fitting into pre-set team roles, but they’re definitely never all the same character only differing in the colors. And it’s the same for boys stuff, in my experience this kind of formula is usually about how different personalities and skills complement each other. Maybe it’s a cultural thing, most of the examples that come to mind right now are Japanese, maybe you’re right when it comes to Western stuff.

  • Lisa Liscoumb

    Yes, exactly. And she didn’t run, she flinched when he beat on the table and roared. I bet Coulson would have done the same, quite honestly (or I would have liked to see him do the same).

  • Lisa Liscoumb

    Or, for females, crying is a weapon to use on men and get them to do what the woman wants. As soon as she’s achieved that the tears are turned off. Seen that trope way too often. I like that it was actually sort of subverted in The Avengers, with BW using a form of it against Loki.

  • Lisa Liscoumb

    “I am also tired of the ratio of 1 female character – 472937294 male characters in a team.”

    That’s one of the (many) things I like about Agents of SHIELD. Equal male to female ratio. And the most kickass team member isn’t male.

  • Lisa Liscoumb

    That they need a man in order to be complete/useful/fulfilled. Don’t get me wrong – I’m a happily married (20+ years) woman and I love my husband dearly, but he is not the be-all and end-all of my existence.

    I think that’s what bothers me the most about what I’ve heard of the Twilight series (I haven’t seen it, I will admit).

    Castle, on the other hand, I think has two very strong femaie characters in Kate Beckett and Martha Rodgers. Even though the romance between Beckett and Castle is key to the show, Beckett is portrayed as a strong woman with her own career, and having Castle in her life is just icing on an already pretty great cake.

    Same thing with Ever After with Drew Barrymore. I love that she’s an intelligent, strong woman who saves herself from the villain as opposed to waiting around for Henry to show up.

    Anyway, hope this somewhat rambling post helps…

  • Anonymous

    A lot of that is a Marvel thing, I think. Peter Parker, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Reed Richards, etc… A lot of heroes Stan Lee created made a huge mistake in issue #1 and spent the rest of their existence trying to atone for it. That became a formula and many female superheroes got caught in that wave.

    That, and the fact that many characters, like Catwoman and Black Widow, are popular villains that got “promoted”.

  • Elena

    Oh no not this Amazing Invisible Fangirl cr*p again.

  • Elena

    Movies crowded with a ton of hero characters often follow the “Seven
    Samurai” structure where there is still one main hero character who is
    most instrumental to gathering the rest of the team together. In The
    Avengers, it was her.

    It was also Mina Murray’s role in the LOEG comics, which I hope some day will get their film version.

    (whaaaat? :P )

    Sadly, she’s a bit of a Smurfette, too, at least until Orlando appears.

  • Lia Hansen

    It’s gotta happen sometime!

  • Jake Mertz

    You do realize that the people who run comics companies probably don’t give a pickled carp about Facebook stats, right? Also, you do realize how recent that became true, right? Honestly, when I was growing up, guys the age I am now would get ridicule from women all the time for liking comics, being told to “grow up”. These days, with comics becoming more popular with women, there’s a lot less of that. But, the best way to tell the comics companies that their fans aren’t just men is to vote with your wallets, and being very vocal about what you’re buying!

  • Aysu

    Black Widow’s costume is not any sexier than any other Avenger’s! Why does no one notice this? She doesn’t even have any cleavage in her suit (making the “push your boobs up” thing irrelevant), and there’s no way that it’s any tighter than Cap’s! Hawkeye shows way more skin than she does! You could argue that Hawkeye’s arms are bare only because he needs that for archery, but there’s nothing especially sexy about the little bit of skin immediately below the collarbone, which is the only exposed part of Black Widow besides her face and neck.

    In Iron Man 2 she was totally hypersexualized, her fighting style was extremely inefficient (she used several gadgets on a hallway full of security guards) and her hair was in those impractical barrel curls, but in the Avengers she used a combination of high-skill open-hand mixed martial arts and, coolest idea of all, actually figured out how to use the Chitauris’ weapons on the fly (!!!!!), which totally makes sense for a master of adaptation, culture, and language. And her short hairstyle was as practical as they come in movies (because there’s a dearth of female action heroes actually wearing ponytails like every real woman with longish hair wears to work out or fight crime).

    MyScienceCanBeatUpYourGod covered why Black Widow was absolutely a dynamic and important character in the movie. I’m just refuting the “boobs” accusation. If you look at Black Widow in Avengers and see a sexed-up object, you aren’t looking with your eyes.

  • Elena

    I don’t even know why you come to a website by and for women who like comics and the greater geek culture thinking that women don’t read comics.

    Heh, I’ve been buying comics for the best part of 20 years. But I buy mainly manga, because DC and Marvel can suck lemons for all I care…

  • Troy Lenze

    Try re-reading what Jake wrote. He didn’t say women don’t read comics.

  • Jake Mertz

    When did *I* ever say *I* think women don’t read comics?

  • Lien

    Calling it now, Gotham girls: the live action film!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_AYTSPF9qU

  • Anonymous

    I wouldn’t call him inherently boring, but I would certainly say that Superman is a difficult character to do well. He’s only had two good live action movies, because he has to walk a very fine line. Ignoring Superman 3, which was just bizarre; and Superman Returns, which was hampered by a lot of inconsistencies and Brandon Routh trying to be Christopher Reeve’s Superman – you have Superman 4, which was Superman falling too far into the “Big Blue Boyscout” side; and Man of Steel, which tried to temper his idealized nature to make him more “dark and gritty” (in other words, not Superman). You have to keep his innate goodness and idealism but balance that with making him a realistic person.

    I think this is a problem that could also easily plague a more heroic heroine. Considering the problems they’ve had making Superman into a good movie, and the blatant sexism that plagues the industry, I can see how they could take a character like Supergirl, who is pretty goodie-two-shoes (or was prior to the Crisis on Infinite Earths), and turn her into a movie like Supergirl, where she comes off as a two-dimensional caricature of a hero, rather than a fully realized person.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, I don’t know about Japanese stuff so much – what I do know leads me to think you may be right: there’s less of this kind of gender divide in Japanese stories, and in Japanese-influenced stories like TMNT.

    That last one’s a good example of a show where the male characters have more of a group identity that any sense of individualism (besides unimportant ones).

    Super Sentai/Power Rangers doesn’t apply because it’s a mixed-gender group, whatever the generation. Those don’t fall pray to the trope I’m thinking of.

    It’s fine point – where a group stops being a ‘collective of autonomous individuals’ and starts being ‘interchangeable dolls with a shared identity’.

  • Anonymous

    To quote Bill Hicks: “Here’s what causes sexual thoughts: having a dick.” There’s a difference between active sexualisation, and an individual having a sexual response. If guys had sexual responses to Hit-Girl, even if it’s in a “wait a few years” way, then that’s their issue. Though the movie really didn’t help, as Weedleplop says.

  • Kryptoknight

    Better yet would be Carol Danvers’ Captain Marvel. I want that movie SO bad, and I fear it will never happen due to the state of the industry.

  • Charlie

    Those Netflix shows they’ve got planned are a bit more varied- but it’s not the same as an actual movie.

  • Lysette Reid

    Oh, I am SO with you on this one.

  • Anonymous

    Weird. In the movie I saw she was thinking “don’t crowd me” when she had to deal with the Hulk. She knew she could handle him, but didn’t want anyone else around to get hurt. Naturally, it was touch and go.

  • MyScienceCanBeatUpYourGod

    Sailor Moon, is weirdly, a direct decedent of Captain America.

    In the 70′s Marvel and Toei struck a deal where they got to use each other’s IP’s however they liked for local distribution. Marvel chose Godzilla and a number of their giant robot properties, and for a while, Godzilla and familiar anime mechs were part of the Marvel U under the title “Shogun Warriors”

    Toei made a live action Spiderman and then tried to make a Japanese version of Captain America.
    Spiderman looks like Japanese Spiderman.(See link) but Captain America got retooled so servery that when it premiered, it was the first season of Power Rangers, “Battle Fever J”

    Nakao Kikuchi, the creator of Sailor Moon, has openly admitted that SM is basically all female magic-based Power Rangers.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jPX-FX0KStE

    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/BattleFeverJ

  • MyScienceCanBeatUpYourGod

    That was enough of a bomb that normally, it would be forgotten by now and they’d be able to mount another attempt at it, if it hadn’t famously been the movie that made Sean Connery quit showbiz…