There’s nothing wrong with stories about women who are housewives or stories about women who struggle because they were forcibly prevented from having kids as a condition of whatever mission they chose to undertake. The problem is that with so few women in superhero movies, each of these portrayals stands not only for the choices Whedon made, but for all the choices he and many others didn’t and don’t make. The portrayals of Natasha and Laura rankle at some level, for me, not because they are stories about a woman traumatized by not having children and a woman waiting for her husband to come home, but because it’s another story about those two women rather than any of the other bazillion women who could exist in this universe and don’t. If you had five butt-kicking women in this movie, it would seem perfectly logical that one of them might have a story related to getting pregnant or not. Why wouldn’t she?
These, for me, are scarcity problems. They are problems because there are so few opportunities to show women in action blockbusters that I tend to crave something very much capable of moving discussions of what those portrayals can be like forward.
[…]Perhaps the trickiest aspect of the scarcity problem is that it enormously complicates the issue of whether you want a portrayal of a female character to specifically engage her being a woman or not. Do you want Black Widow to be exactly like the other Avengers and incidentally a woman? Because there’s an argument that parity calls for that. Or do you want the story to be about the fact that she’s a woman, as in fact it is here, and to deal with that fact and make it part of the story of her life? There’s an argument that parity calls for that, too.
The answer, of course, is yes, to both. I want there to be stories about women that aren’t specific to the fact that they’re women, and I want stories about women that acknowledge that fact and build it into the story. This is how it is with men: every story you’ve ever heard of a man who learns years later that he has a child he didn’t know about is specific to his role in baby-having, just as much as Natasha’s story is specific to hers. Those stories should be told; it’s rich subject matter. It’s not sexist to tell that story. But most stories about men in movies are just about them doing stuff, and there should be stories about women just doing stuff, too.
An Open Letter to Everyone Hating on Warner Bros./DC Extended Universe
Dear Everyone hating on Warner Bros./DC Extended Universe,
It’s unsettling to see the multitudes of critics, writers, and fans RUSHING onto the Internets the moment WB makes a DC announcement so that they can tear said announcement to shreds. You literally have nothing to go off of, just a thin shred of “We’re looking into doing this!” and immediately it’s the shittiest thing known to mankind. Let’s TEAR IT DOWN!! (pitchforks)
The moment WB/DC announced yesterday that Margot Robbie would be producing a film involving a number of female DC heroes and villains, the internet EXPLODED with mockery. People mocked Warner Bros. and they mocked DC. Because now they’re handing Margot Robbie the reins. That’s how desperate they are! They obviously have NO DIRECTION. They don’t know WHAT THEY’RE EVEN DOING! How sad! Ha Ha!
I have something to say about this.
Warner Bros. and DC have been saying yes to female directors, yes to female producers, yes to female writers, yes to female-led movies, and now they’ve just said yes to a film that has almost all of the above. Wonder Woman is in post-production, so it’s DEFINITELY happening, and it is being directed by a woman.
They’re throwing Margot Robbie and a female writer she’s bringing into the project the reins on this DC Women film. Margot said “A movie full of DC’s female heroes and villains. What do you say?” and the Warner Bros./DC big brass said “AYE”.
And people are acting like WB and DC are desperate. Like they have no idea where they’re going or what they’re doing. Like they’re floundering. Like this is some sort of huuuge risk they’re taking. Like they’re going to fall flat on their faces.
You know what, you guys are right. Marvel would never throw their franchise into the hands of women. They’d never consider taking that risk. They didn’t even want to make Iron Man 3′s villain a woman because they were sure she wouldn’t sell as many toys as a male villain. They’ve pushed Captain Marvel back again for Ant-Man 2. In fact we’ve gotten 0 information about Captain Marvel except HEY GUYS IT IS HAPPENINNNNG GET EXCITEEEED. Have we heard anything about a Black Widow movie except that they “want” to make one? ScarJo’s gonna be 80 before they get around to that.
So you’re right, Marvel would neeever throw their franchise to a bunch of women. It’s a huge risk they’re not willing to take at this point. Feige and Whedon and man-heroes are making them money. Let’s not mess with that.
DC is progressing. You might think it’s a risk, but they simply don’t seem to give a fuck. They’re going to give us our super-ladies. With lady directors and producers and writers.
I want to know why DC isn’t getting credit for announcing female DC films, about women, made by women. Instead, they’re getting shat upon, because this is bound to be yet another failure by Warner Bros. and DC Comics.
You only have this much info: female producer, female writer, lots of lady heroes/villains.
If literally any other company had made that announcement, like Marvel for instance, people would be up their actual asses with pride. How progressive are they! Look, a film about female superheroes and villains! Produced by a woman! Written by a woman! YES! How awesome! About time somebody did it!
But ew, not DC.
So here’s what it comes down to, Everyone Hating on Warner Bros./DC Extended Universe:
Either you admit you’re biased against DCEU and plan to shit on everything it does simply because you’re immature and need a life …
Or the idea of women taking over a superhero film terrifies you, which makes you sexist.
Those are literally the only 2 reasons you can have for shitting on this announcement about a DC-female driven film. Because that’s literally ALL we know so far. That it’s a DC-female driven film.
Why Are Female Superheroes Always Being Nerfed in Movies?
(via Urban Dictionary)
I tend to believe (or at least try to believe) that most people’s expressions don’t originate from a place of bad intention. I don’t think most screenwriters or directors surreptitiously conspire to make female audience members feel as though they are lesser. But I also recognize that the resonance of cultural/societal bias has reverberating strength so, whether the offense be deliberate or subconscious, it deserves to be discussed if it seems palpable. To me, it’s an undeniable truth that when women are in possession of power in fiction, they are far more likely to be depicted as being out of control of it and/or far less confident in it than male peers. Because of this, they tend to the get the shaft and become less integral as a result which I believe sends a very bad message. So please, don’t take this post as some incendiary call to arms or indictment of anyone, I just want to share some observations. I’m still a fan, I’m still going to be seeing these movies and there are still lots of things I still like about them.
This whole thing occurred to me, for possibly the billionth time, when I was watching a clip from Captain America: Civil War. A bevy of Avengers charge at Bucky Barnes, Tony gets to catch a bullet before being smacked down and T’Challa gets right back up again after taking a few hits, meanwhile, Sharon Carter gets flipped into table and Natasha gets subdued by simple strangulation. It cuts deeper seeing ‘Tasha be made such a fool by him because A) she has a long history of being exceptionally formidable in the comics (particularly against Bucky- see below) and B) this is the second time this has happened. Like the last time, she straddled him and, like last time, she’s tapped in a fraction of a second. Also, take note, a lot of her lead-in is dependent upon Sharon’s diversion. Look at the way a de-suited Tony so confidently smacks Bucky when, really, he’s the one of the crew (maybe above Sharon) with the least melee experience. Logically, his attack should’ve been the easiest to subvert even with a bullet-blocking hand, it’s as though 2 women=1 unarmed Iron Man.
My 16 year old coworker asked me what Buffy was today.
And that’s when I realized that there is a generation of women who are alive today who have not seen the magic that is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. They may even not know what it is. Can we please come up with a plan to fix this grave error in the education of young women today?
I think it’s sad. Because I know how Joss feels about women, and I know that he’s made it a point to create strong female characters. I think part of the problem is that people are frustrated that they want to see more women, doing more things, in superhero movies, and because we don’t have as many women as we should yet, they’re very, very sensitive to every single storyline that comes up right now. But I think what’s beautiful about what Joss did with Black Widow - I don’t think he makes her any weaker, he just brings this idea of love to a superhero, and I think that’s beautiful.
If anything, Black Widow is much stronger than Banner. She protects him. She does her job, and basically they begin to have a relationship as friends, and I think it’s a misplaced anger. I think that what people might really be upset about is the fact that we need more superhuman women. The guys can do anything, they can have love affairs, they can be weak or strong and nobody raises an eyebrow. But when we do that with a woman, because there are so few storylines for women, we become hyper-critical of every single move that we make because there’s not much else to compare it to.