"Woman Up" for the Big Screen

                                                                                                                                      Image from Pixabay

Woman Up for The Big Screen

By Avery Smith

Many aspire to be a superhero at least once in his or her life. There was always something so cool about having special abilities, wearing capes with underwear on the outside of pants, or fighting your arch nemesis to save the world. Reading about these fantastic heroes and heroines gave me inspiration to live my life according to my heroes’ moral principles. So, when superhero films started to produce quality films, I spent most of my time watching all of them more than once. It felt like my imagination had jumped from the pages and on to the movie screen. I felt that my inner nerd voice has been heard. However, there are some voices that haven’t been heard or seen in this genre.

As I currently watch these heroic films, I have come to notice that female superheroes aren’t being represented. Since the release of 2008’s Iron Man, every superhero film has had a male lead as the main character. That doesn’t mean that there haven’t been women superheroes in these movies.

Wonder Woman was in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Hit-Girl shot her way to the screen in Kick-Ass, and Black Widow has been a staple in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since her introduction in Iron Man 2. However, these female heroines were supporting characters in those movies, either having roles that only lasted for five minutes in a two-hour long movie or played second fiddle to their male counterpart.

Women playing supporting roles can damage self-image. Women won’t be able to reach for the sky if these outdated tropes continue to place ceilings on them.

There is progress;Wonder Woman is getting her first solo film in her 75-year history in 2017 and a debut Captain Marvel film, just two years after. But, that is still too slow of progress for female equality. In preparation for the future of female superhero films, Hollywood needs to abandon some movie and comic clichés for these females to progress. It doesn’t stop at the movies either. The marketing for female superhero toys and merchandise needs to improve.

The first thing that Hollywood and comic books needs to abandon is the revealing female superhero outfits. Most of the costume worn by these heroines are outdated and don’t leave much for the imagination. Comic book movies need to be accurate to the pages they leaped from, and the comic book counterparts represent these heroes as sexual eye candy.

 Power Girl’s cleavage pops out at you like a pop-up book.

 To end the cycle of revealing outfits, these movies need to give their character’s practical outfits to fight crime in, rejecting tight spandex suits or short body suits with high heels and fishnets.

Also, don’t let female superheroes be damsels in distress for the male characters. Hollywood seems to be stuck on the same formula that women are always captured by the supervillain and need saving. This old cliché is so overused that it’s in the history books of overused Hollywood clichés, right along with “it’s not what it looks like” and “(insert anything here) is my middle name.” We can start by portraying them as capable superheroes that can fight for themselves.

Finally, the need to represent these female superheroes with their own merchandise is long overdue. I’m not talking about them having their own Barbie line, either. Dr. Christopher Bell presented a TED Talk about the issue of female characters not being represented when it comes to toys. Dr. Bell discussed that Disney and Marvel does not produce a lot of female superhero character merchandise. That means there aren’t many toys of Black Widow, Gamora, Captain Marvel, or She-Hulk for girls to purchase.

Not every girl wants to play with Barbie dolls. Children are very impressionable at an early age and they will act by what adults produce for them. The responsibility to promote females as heroes is important for them to be represented as the male superheroes.

I love superhero movies and I hope that they continue to produce these movies until I am an old wrinkling prune. I just want to see both genders and all ethnicities have a hero to admire.