There’s no question that women get the shaft when it comes to popular entertainment. They either get nothing at all to call their own or, on the rare occasion when something designed specifically for them actually does see the light of day, it’s ridiculed by the culture at large.
After all, Titanic was “just” a romance, right? Even its Best Picture win couldn’t save it from drowning in the gendered backlash that continues to keep it “in its place” two decades later. Bridesmaids was “just” a chick-flick, never mind how it realistically tackled nuanced female relationships. Blue Is the Warmest Color get derided as pornographic, but throwing a guy into the mix somehow makes it okay again.
As a man, I am deluged with choices for entertainment tailor-made to my tastes. If something doesn’t pan out, there are always other options to choose from. Women get to pick between Magic Mike and Fifty Shades of Grey and are expected to count themselves lucky that they have even that much to work with.
Again, this is entertainment specifically targeting those demographics. Obviously there are women who like everything from The Fast and the Furious to Iron Man. I made a point to buy the new Cinderella the day it came out on BluRay. No person is — nor should be — only one thing.
The trend, however, overwhelmingly favors man-tastic stories and square-jawed badasses over what’s immediately dismissed as being “girly.” Maybe this is why some women would rather attend a gender-exclusive screening of Wonder Woman than play “theater roulette” and maybe wind up sitting next to a loud-mouth incensed by the mere fact that he’s expected to sit through a “chick flick” just to see some action.
The demand for these kinds of movies exists. Women make up more than half of all theater-goers, and I’m not the only man out there calling for a more diverse lineup of blockbuster entertainment. Comic book fans of all strips have demanded a Wonder Woman movie since Linda Carter first wore the uniform in 1975 and calls for a Black Widow solo movie have persisted since the success of The Avengers made her a household name.
When it comes to superheroine movie, what do we even have to choose from? I’m not asking about indie flicks or cartoons: only honest to God, major releases based on the adventures of the storied women of comics.
There’s Supergirl, Elektra, Catwoman and… Tank Girl, I guess? What’s worse is that they’re all infamously terrible: without a single redeeming feature between the lot of them.
Where is Black Widow’s movie? She’s the first superheroine of this modern age of comic book adaptations. Why is she relegated to a second-stringer in Iron Man 2 and The Winter Soldier?
Why is it taking Marvel until 2019 to bring Captain Marvel to the big screen? She’s their namesake hero!
What about Spider-Gwen? She’s become so acutely popular since her almost throw-away first appearance that she even has her own spin-off character: Gwenpool. If Sony’s really that keen on a Spider-Man-less Spider-franchise, she’s the perfect place to start.
What about Kamala Khan? The new Ms. Marvel could tie directly into The Inhumans and is the single best character Marvel is writing these days.
Where’s X-23’s movie? Not only is she the current Wolverine in the comics, her breakout role in this year’s Logan has transformed her from an interesting side-character to a major cinematic icon. And yet Fox, who owns the X-Men film rights, has no interest in giving her a spin-off to call her own.
DC’s not blameless either. It never should have taken this long to put out a Wonder Woman movie: not when Joss Whedon was hired to direct it over a decade ago. When your hero roster includes everybody from Amethyst to Zatanna, there’s no reason to just stick to Batman and Superman.
What about Power Girl? What about Black Cannary? What about Starfire, Raven and Hawk Girl?
Regardless of how good Wonder Woman is, we can only hope that it opens the doors for a new generation of diverse superhero movies. The boys have had the big screen to themselves for decades. Maybe it’s time to share just a bit of it with some of the genre’s notable women.
Tell us what's wrong with this post? How could we improve it? :)
Let us improve this post!