An on-going battle in superhero world, both in comics and films, is the lack of female characters and how the ones that exist are portrayed.
Everyone knows the problem exists, but few accept it and even fewer are willing to do something about it. When a person you look up to is aware of the lack of female characters and is not afraid to call the industry out on their sexism. Well that’s always a refreshing and beautiful thing to hear.
Joss Whedon, one of our biggest geek lords, is aware of the level of sexism in this industry and knows Marvel needs to step its game up.
“It’s a phenomenon in the industry that we call ‘stupid people’. There is genuine, recalcitrant, intractable sexism, and old-fashioned quiet misogyny that goes on. You hear ‘oh, [female superheroes] don’t work because of these two bad ones that were made eight years ago’, there’s always an excuse,” Whedon told Digital Spy, two months prior to the announcements of Captain Marvel (Marvel) and Wonder Woman (DC).
Those movies are terrible, yes, but that’s exactly why it should be an excuse to get them remade properly. There are old movies based on Captain America and Thor. They didn’t stop from making the new versions because the previous ones sucked; why can’t they do the same with female characters? They are trying to hide their sexism and failing terribly. Actually, they are just making it more evident.
Joss Whedon knows what he is saying. Not only has he given us incredible and badass female characters (Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and Firefly), but he knows how the industry moves when it comes to female characters. Here’s a friendly reminder that he was hired to write and direct an adaptation of Wonder Woman but left the project because they “saw different movies” and it was a “waste of his time.” I can only imagine what the studio wanted and it makes my stomach flip.
Not everything is harsh criticism, though. Whedon praised The Hunger Games as a proof that female-led blockbusters can make money just like an other action movie led by men.
“Hunger Games is a different structure and aesthetic to a certain extent, but these narratives where people are bigger than life and they’re in these terrible, heightened circumstances, it’s all part of the same genre,” he explains.
He added: “Marvel is in a position of making a statement simply by making [a female-led] movie, which I think would be a good thing to do. But it has to be a good movie, it has to be a good character, and most of the best characters in Marvel are owned by Fox, let’s face it!”
Well yes but hey, we’re getting a Captain Marvel movie! Please, Whedon, be a consultant for that one. We beg you.
And this is basically why, my friends, Joss Whedon is a king. He is not only aware of the problem but he does what he can to stop it. We love you, Joss!
We will get our dose of Whedon-greatness on May 1st with Avengers: Age of Ultron. Until then, why not having a Marvel marathon? For the science, of course.
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