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Exciting News! The Wonder Woman movie is schedule to be released on the 2nd of June 2017, and it is a highly anticipated film which is expected to be the pinnacle of Female led Superhero movies thus far. With movies like Catwoman and Elektra – both featuring female lead characters – being critical and financial bombs, it seems like Wonder Woman is set to pave the way for all future female superheroes in movies.
Although there have been a few strong female protagonists in the action and sci-fi genre, most notably being Sigourney Weaver from Alien and Charlize Theron from Mad Max: Fury Road just to name a few; most females in these genres have been relegated to either being in a supporting role as a love interest for the male hero or being the damsel in distress that the male protagonists need to rescue.
Research Scholar Nandini Maity states in the journal article Damsel in Distress: A Textual Analysis of Gender Roles in Disney Princess Films that “[w]omen’s representation in popular culture facilitates the stereotype of the simple minded, emotional and domesticated female… The term “women‟ has become synonymous with the victim in the patriarchal society”.
You would think that this stereotype would not be prevalent in Superhero movies that are based on comic books; because in comics women can have just as much, if not more power than the men. But the movies seem to stray away from the immense impact that these women could have in these movies and seem to portray these powerful characters as people who are lonely and who need male companionship.
Some examples of these stereotypes in popular Superhero Movies Include:
- ‘Black Widow’ (Played by Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers: Age of Ultron is yearning for a relationship with ‘Bruce Banner’ (Played by Mark Ruffalo) , and in some form prioritizes that over the possible destruction of earth by Ultron.
- ‘Scarlet Witch’ (Played by Elizabeth Olsen) in Captain America: Civil War is arguably the most powerful character in the entire movie but her role mostly consists of complaining that everyone is afraid of her and flirting with an A.I. robot.
- In Suicide Squad, ‘Harley Quinn’ (Played by Margot Robbie) is treated as an object by ‘Joker’ (Played by Jared Leto) to the point where he literally gives her away as a present to one of his associates. Also noting the fact that the jacket she wears in the movie is written, “Property of Joker”.
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Now I am not writing this to critique the negative representation of women in superhero movies, I am writing this to provoke thought. I grew up watching Batman, Spider-man and Green Lantern saving people, a city or even the entire world. I could always imagine myself putting on one of those super suits and saving the world.
Now I’m an adult, I have sisters, cousins, and one day I might have a daughter; and I also want them to share in the marvel of having an idol to look up to in these superheroes. To strive to be independent women who can take on the world without needing any help from any man. Wouldn’t you like your daughter to be a Wonder Woman, or do you want her to be the property of a Joker?