What were you doing on Tuesday, October 28th? Were you starting to study for midterms? Focusing on your upcoming Halloween weekend? Waiting in an enormous line at BCafé to get your Ice Blended Pure Chocolate?
I spent my day glued to my computer (no surprise there) in the aftermath of one of the greatest advancements in the Hollywood industry the world has ever seen. No, seriously. Marvel is making a female superhero movie.
I mean, I’m not shocked. DC and Warner Brothers announced a few weeks prior that Wonder Woman was currently in production and would be released in theaters in 2017. And due to the overwhelming ability of Disney’s Marvel Studios to remain unopposed in their fight for superhero genre dominance, the announcement of a female Captain Marvel movie was more than likely.
So why does it still come as so much of a surprise?
Throughout much of this recent golden age of comic book movie adaptations, female superheroes have been lucky to get screen time at all. Sure, there have been some notable exceptions (Black Widow, cough cough), but the majority of female superhero depictions in film adaptations are flimsy attempts at best.
Why? Because there is a desperate need for audiences to get their semi-annual dose of female objectification in the superhero genre, of course.
From comic books to the silver screen, formidable women wear outfits that are obviously tailored to male fantasy. Plus, the number of women included in these movies, especially those not renowned for their skills of sexual intimidation and female mystique, is severely limited.
Where are the complex women, you ask? The human beings who fight for their beliefs, who search for their identities, who possess powers unmatched by even the most diabolical of villains? Until now, I would have suggested you dig through some of the most recent comic book issues circulating the market. Now, I can happily point you to the movie theater (in a few years, of course).
Is this progress? Definitely. Is this the absolute pinnacle for female superheroes in popular movie adaptations? Not even close.
In fact, much of the pressure placed on film studios, and Marvel in particular, more than likely played a huge role in the announcement of these new female-led films. Otherwise, a Wonder Woman movie would have been made long before DC/Warner Bros. felt the need to one-up Marvel Studios. Also, a Captain Marvel movie (or Black Widow movie, cough cough) would have been announced ages before Marvel felt the need to fire back at DC and maintain their heavy female demographic. The fact that Marvel announced their female superhero movie four years in advance of release says a lot about the motivation for their announcement.
However, we should take the time to rejoice. Thank God. Thank God female superheroes may no longer be the afterthought to the male-dominated superhero movie genre. Thank God little girls will be able to see these movies, buy their Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel action figures, and rejoice in what it means to be a woman in the dawn of a less-sexist age of Hollywood superheroes. Thank God those little girls will be proud to be a girl. And for the record, I’m not even that religious.
Women my age and older understand that the vast majority of female characters will mostly be shunned from the spotlight (Black Widow, cough cough), and how much this genre really needs to advance in order to produce movies that all genders, races, and sexualities can be a part of. However, regardless of the fact that this progress was so long in coming, the thought of young girls growing up to see themselves as superheroes made me tear up at the Captain Marvel announcement on October 28th.
Finally, Hollywood is creating a team of heroes that everyone can look up to.