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

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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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