|"If I don't get pants, nobody gets pants!"|
I saw The Avengers with a group of girl friends and we really enjoyed the movie. We thought it was hilarious, had a deep, meaningful story, and we loved the running, jumping, blowing things up. Sure, we noticed the hot biceps and chiseled features of the super-heroes, but it certainly wasn't the reason we enjoyed the film as a whole. If the men had been ugly, but all the other elements were in place, we probably would have still liked the film. Conversely, if the men had been hot but the movie crap, we would have walked out of the theatre. We cannot have a double standard, expecting men to stop being turned on by objectified female characters while we simultaneously swoon over the male physique on screen. It isn't fair for either gender.
|Cobie Smulders as|
Agent Maria Hill
|Scarlett Johansson as|
The Black Widow
In the same Entertainment Weekly interview, Samuel L. Jackson expresses the chauvinist attitude that is still present in Hollywood today:
Jackson: They got to get The Pro to the screen! I love that book!
Johansson: What's The Pro?
Jackson: It's [a comic book] about a hooker who gets superpowers!
Johansson: That is exactly the problem right there!
Jackson: It's a totally dope book, though.
Johansson: I'd have to wear pasties to greenlight any of these movies.
Director Joss Whedon gives a nod to The Hunger Games for taking a great step in changing how the film industry approaches woman as action heroes: "Studios will tell you: A woman cannot headline an action movie. After The Hunger Games they might stop telling you that a little bit. Whatever you think of the movie, it's done a great service."
It is clear that there is still a lot of progress to be made in promoting strong women on the screen. The Avengers does not regress into many of the failings of past superhero movies in how it presents its female characters, but it is limited by comic book characterizations that were developed in a time when women were not expected to take on more powerful roles. If Joss Whedon is correct in thinking The Hunger Games has paved the way for a more progressive female protagonist, I look forward to the superheroine movies to come.