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
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.
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>. 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.