Marvel Studios has released many movies, comics, and television series- most of which have become a great success. Their movies mainly include a male protagonist, who faces a life-altering issue, and then they become the hero they were meant to be. As great as it is to see these men show real-life issues (other than fighting aliens and saving the world) such as anxiety, depression, ego, etc., I've realized the representation of people of color and women in these series is very low. Only recently has Marvel begun to truly expand on its female protagonists. This article will show how real women at Louisiana Tech have rated these characters based solely on what these characters have done for women. (5 being very impactful on young women, 1 not so much)
[bf_image id="q7k2hq-d6bojc-gii0j2"] Average rating: 3/5
Captain Marvel, the newest addition to the Avengers and played by Brie Larson, was rated an average of 3 out of 5 stars when it comes to impacting young women at Louisiana Tech. Several responses sadly stated that this character just didn't appeal to them and they never had an interest in their movie, while others say that she inspired them to try harder and to not care what other people said. Julie Knepp, a Freshman at Tech, said “As a woman in STEM seeing another woman being told she couldn’t ‘hang out with the big boys’ and doing it any way really inspired me to ignore the people who would throw out digs like that toward me and other women around me in the STEM field especially in high school.” This is great for Captain Marvel and young women alike… but sadly 58.3% of the women who took this survey all agreed that they never had an opportunity to like her because she didn’t seem as important.
Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff)
Average rating: 2.25/5
Everyone’s favorite twin, Wanda Maximoff, was sadly averaged at a 2.25 out of 5 stars. While one student, Abbey Welch, spoke highly of the witch saying “Wanda is my favorite, I loved her in the Avengers movies, and I love her in WandaVision. She is so strong emotionally with losing her brother to Ultron, and she has the strongest powers of anyone in the MCU. I think it is absolutely amazing that they made a female character the most powerful.” Many people (66.6% of the survey takers) said that they just hadn’t had an interest in her character due to lack of importance and advertising.
Average Rating:4.5 / 5
Unlike the previous Marvel women, Black Widow was rated highly at 4.5 out of 5 stars. The comments about her are astounding! One Tech student says, “she is one of my favorite heroes, she is an independent woman who can take care of herself and truly show what she can do without superpowers of any type.” Another, Julie Knepp, writes “Seeing a woman overcome a traumatic childhood and used her skills learned in that traumatic environment was inspirational and seeing her sacrifice herself to save the people she considered family was a great way to show that your childhood and your family do not have complete control over who you become.” This kind of impact was what I was hoping to see for most of the Marvel women, but I’m happy at least one of them was successful. Personally, I believe that her success with young women comes from Black Widow being involved in most amount of Marvel movies right next to Pepper Stark being in 7 major Marvel films (nine years of publicity). I only wish the other women had that same chance.
Average Rating:3.08/ 5
Okoye, a member of the Dora Milaje in Black Panther, is one of my personal favorite characters but was only rated a 3.08 out of 5 stars. The best comment explaining what makes Okoye such a good character was written (again) by Julie Knepp who says, “Black Panther introduces probably one of the first truly ‘strong’ female characters who didn’t have a traumatic backstory to influence her strength. She had a husband who loved her and a king she respected and she honored those duties throughout the movie putting even her own husband in his place when he questioned her loyalty. She’s probably one of the most relatable characters to women in the marvel universe she doesn’t have powers, she doesn’t have a dramatic backstory, she has a husband and a job she loves.“ This comment alone gave me chills when I realized how much Marvel had relied on traumatic backstories to make a strong, powerful character. Okoye didn’t need that (most characters from Black Panther didn’t!) because she instead worked hard and became an amazing general, friend, and powerful woman! She worked hard for what she wanted and taught young women how they can be happy and still be strong-willed and dedicated- let's also remember how she recognized her husband as a traitor to her nation and stood up to him because she knew he was wrong. Again, sadly, her character was a victim of poor advertising and lack of importance to the industry. (PS I hope she gets her Starbucks)
Shuri (Princess of Wakanda)
Average Rating: 3.58/5
Rated the second-highest of all the Marvel women, the Princess of Wakanda, Shuri is thought to represent how women can use their brains and bronze just as well (if not better) than men. For me, the best scene that showed her true intellect was in Infinity War, when she outsmarted both Bruce Banner and Vision (the all-knowing robot) then went on to fight as well. 58.3% of the survey takers rated Shuri a 4 or higher, all stating that the reason she’s amazing is that she "doesn't let her race, age, or gender confine her abilities.” (Too many people said the same thing for me to quote one specific person…) Shuri truly represents the younger generation as smart, capable, and sarcastic and we love her for it!
Average rating: 2.41/5
Sadly, there’s not much to say from the survey about Mantis. Most comments were about her growth and how she added a decent amount of comic relief but didn't seem “very important.” This lack of importance got her a low rating of 2.41 out of 5 stars. Personally, I enjoyed Mantis as a female character because she didn’t have to be as serious as most of the characters- she showed you can be a little ditsy and still be powerful as well as necessary.
Average rating: 3.41/5
As the favored daughter of the villain Thanos, a powerful fighter, and one of the most skilled assassins in the Galaxy - Gamora’s ratings raised some controversy. Personally, while I (and 58.4% of survey takers) believe Gamora is an amazing character due to the amount of growth, sacrifice, and compassion she showed, some don't agree. Gamora’s comments, while consisting of mostly good ones, included a good bit of hate towards her. Some say she’s a knock off of black widow but worse, while others say they just “couldn’t really warm up to her.” While these comments show controversy, all of them agree that she’s an unforgettable character in the MCU.
Nebula and The Wasp (Hope Van Dyke)
Average Rating: 2.83/5 Average Rating: 1.92/5
While these characters never really met, I grouped them because they were both listed under “I don't know who that is” for their comments. The sad truth is that I (a huge Marvel fan) also don't know much about these characters. I wish I did know more than just from what I’ve read, but so far the MCU has yet to really expand on these women as more than “Antman’s girlfriend” or “Gamora’s sister”- they have these titles they’re known for and I really hope they get the chance to show off their skills more.
Average Rating: 3.20/5
The final Marvel heroine is the one and only Pepper Potts Stark. Before I get into the ratings from the survey, Pepper Potts will always be one of my favorite characters just because she stuck through everything- she didn’t have the training, or live in a high-tech civilization, or have any powers- she was just a person who saw the good in the one man who no one else thought was more than a playboy egotistical genius. Even when she wasn’t necessarily a love interest to Tony Stark, Mrs. Potts represented the working woman under the billionaire man-child. She represents the simple type of issues that women go through every day (again, excluding the aliens). This is why she’s rated above a four by 51.3% of the survey takers- but it is disappointing that the other 49.7% just didn’t think she was that important. Julie Knepp, once again comments a powerful statement saying, “She showed that behind every man there is a competent woman, she ran stark industries like a boss even while dealing with Stark pre-Iron Man. I think she showed what women have to deal with from men in professional environments, while jokes made by men may seem appropriate and funny many women find it slightly insulting, and Pepper took these jokes and ignored them showing that she could do any job a man could. She shows and prepares a lot of women and girls for the future ‘jokes’ that people will make especially in a male-dominated industry." Thank you, Pepper Potts!
While this article does not include all of the Marvel women, it is because some of them haven’t had enough of their character looked at to really analyze. Women like Marie Rambeau and her daughter Monica, Valkyrie, and Jane Foster are all women I hope to one day see making strides in the MCU. I also hope that Disney really tries to expand on these powerful characters before adding new ones!