The sequel to the smash hit Avengers came out on May 1 and has been an incredible success, grossing nearly $200 million dollars its opening weekend. However, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” does have a shortcoming: the character Black Widow.
Though the lone female character kicked butt in “Iron Man 2” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” the role of Black Widow disappointingly regressed into a stereotypical domesticated female role in the most recent installment of the Avengers franchise. This change has led to public backlash. Tim Donnelly of the New York Post writes in an article about the portrayal of women in the newest addition to the Avenger’s franchise.
“For one, at the Avengers mission ‘wrap party’ early in the film, Widow looks to be the only Avenger working the bash, pouring drinks from behind a bar while she bats her eyes in flirtation. Later, she grabs Captain America’s shield off the street and quips, ‘I’m always picking up after you boys.’ At one point in the movie, she even gets “baby crazy.”
Sadly, the regression of the character of Black Widow is just the most recent incident in sexist world of superheroes. What first led to this type of world was the false beliefs that girls do not like superheroes. Comics and movies are not made with girls in mind. Marvel has been the main receiver of the ongoing criticism. Of all the movies Marvel has made, only two have had leading female superheroes, “Catwoman” and “Elektra.” Both of these movies did horribly at the box office.
“[Marvel films were] awful not because of the female superhero lead, but because [they were] just terrible movie[s],” Christine Bancroft of the Neon Tommy said.
These films are now used as an excuse to not make more films with female leading superhero roles. One of the biggest problems within the realm of superheroes lies within printed comics. Last year, Marvel Comics released a new Spiderwoman series in an attempt to include more female superheroes. However, they hired an erotica artist to make the drawings and instead of inviting more women into the comic world, the erotic nature of the artwork drove female fans away.
Yet another comic company, DC Comics, was bashed for its recent issue, “New 52 Wonder Woman.” The series was taken over by a new creative team, turning the once strong and powerful heroine into a pornographic baby airhead who holds onto her teddy bear while in battle.
Though the issues surrounding superheroes may seem trivial, they can hit home in large ways. Superheroes have tremendous influences on today’s children.
Rarely do you come across a child who can not tell you who their favorite superhero is. Though little boys have strong and powerful superheroes to look up to, little girls are left to inspire to be weak, infantilized Barbies in capes.