Impact of Wo(men) in the Twenty-First Century

Nicole Schmalz

Professor Tran

21st Century Writing

16 December 2015

Impact of Women in the Twenty-First Century

              Throughout the course of history, the role of women has been

drastically changed regarding their abilities to be “independent” and have

the same rights as their male counterparts. For many centuries, women

have been placed on the lower levels of society all because of one thing:

their gender. This gender discrimination, though greatly diminished since

the turn of the millennium, is still prevalent in today’s society. Gender

roles are still assigned to women and guide their actions, behavior, and

even beliefs. Even the media portrays females according to their expected

“roles” in society and not how they actually behave or want to behave.

Particularly, Saturday Night Live produced one specific trailer featuring

Black Widow that depicts how society think female superheroes should

act. This video is nonetheless significant as it captures the ongoing sexism

that women constantly face, not only in the world of science fiction, but in

the lives of the audience.

             The Black Widow trailer presented in class is eye-opening in many

different ways. The most visible thing that immediately stands out from

the trailer is the way Black Widow is presented, specifically her clothing

and attitude. As soon as the video begins, viewers can see the female

character’s vibrant pink clothing and how she stumbles while walking on

her high heels (Black Widow Trailer). Moreover, Black Widow’s ditziness

continues to be portrayed throughout the remainder of the clip. Needless

to say, this is one aspect of sexism that is revealed in the movie and,

though greatly exaggerated, captures the behavior that society pictures

women to have.

               Another key stereotype illustrated in this video is the dependence

of men in order to feel “fulfilled.” In particular, Black Widow pursues a

relationship with a male and acts flirtatiously (Black Widow Trailer). This

sense ofdependency is not a novel concept; for hundreds of years women

rarely made their own decisions and had to stand by their spouses’

arrangements. It is interesting to see from this modern video the

continual need for females to have a man for fulfillment. Being a

superhero clip, one would expect producers to portray Black Widow as a

fierce, strong, and independent character like other superheroes are, but

this is far from the case. This shows that female characters in science

fiction settings  are not immune to the gender discrimination that

occurs in real-life.

                     While this trailer does highlight the widespread sexism that

women experience, there are a myriad of texts and films the class had read

and viewed that debunk the female stereotypes depicted in this video.

Some that emphasize female superiority and independence are Big Hero 6,

Ms. Marvel: No Normal, and Orleans. In Big Hero 6, for example, female

character Go Go is often demonstrated to take control of the present

situation and is depicted as a bold and adventurous woman. In one specific

scene, she takes over Hiro’s driving position and maneuvers the car itself

during their escape from the villain (Big Hero 6). This shows the diversion

from the traditional illustration of women, who behave in a dependent

way, often relying on others for assistance. In Ms. Marvel: No Normal, the

author diverts from portraying a typical female story by creating a work

of one individualistic woman and not blending in a female within a group.

The title itself indicates the sovereignty of Kamala Khan and the pursuing

story written all about her life. In Orleans, female protagonist Fen is shown

to be free the whole course of the novel. She even has a sense of

detachment when she is with Daniel,  the outsider who came to find a cure

for the Delta Fever. In one scene, she runs away and tells herself

repeatedly that she does not need Daniel once he exposes the cure that

can potentially wipe out all the infected citizens (Smith).  Furthermore,

one of the key observations that this story unfolds is the lack of a

romantic relationship that many texts and films present when there is a

female character involved. Again, this shows the different path that many

authors decide to take to finally give women the proper credit they

deserve and to demonstrate their full potential as contributing individuals

of society.

               As one can see, women in the twenty-first century are still

being misrepresented and are not portrayed in a way that highlights their

realistic behaviors. While many individuals ignore the ongoing sexism

that occurs, it is nevertheless crucial for society to start giving women the

respect and credit they deserve. Females contributed a vast amount to

 the world in the past decade and allowing them to be fully on par with

men will only enhance the advancements of society.

                                                 Works Cited

Big Hero 6. Walt Disney, 2015. DVD.

Black Widow Trailer. Youtube. N.p., 3 May 2015. Web. 15 Dec. 2015.

             <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_5KgpN38hM&gt;. Wilson, G.

Smith, Sherri L. Orleans. New York: Penguin, 2013. Print.

Willow, and Adrian Alphona. Ms. Marvel: No Normal. New

               York, NY: Marvel Worldwide, 2014. Print.

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