Please Stop Misrepresenting Women in the Superhero Genre – We Are More than just Foil Characters!

Caitlyn Moss

Representation of women in the media, through mediums such as novels and films in the sci-fi/superhero genre has always been equal when compared to the amount of men that are seen in this genre. In a recent skit done by Saturday Night Live, Scarlett Johansson portrayed her famous character, Black Widow, in a parody of what a movie trailer for a Black Widow movie may look like based on the way Marvel has portrayed their female characters in the past.

Saturday Night Live took to the liberty of playing on the fact that the female characters in recent Hollywood blockbusters, such as The Avengers, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Iron Man 2, and Guardians of the Galaxy. In all of these movies, the female characters seem to basically exist just to make the male characters plot more interesting. For example, the romantic relationship that occurs between Black Widow and Hulk, this relationship doesn’t seem to do anything for Black Widow but fulfill the stereotype that women need to be in a relationship for their roles in the media to be deemed “important.” Throughout the skit, the slogan of the movie is “Marvel: We get Women,” (SNL, 2015) which is very iron because rather than making the parody trailer like a typical superhero movie it is depicted in the genre of romantic comedy. The satire brought up different issues of how female characters are presented in this genre through a comedic perspective. Across all different genres of popular movies, women are commonly shown on the big screen in a very soft manner, their looks are very important, and the main conflict in the plot comes from a relationship issue, and that’s how Scarlett Johansson’s character in the parody is played off. Although it may be taken at face value as just a funny video, it really does prove that women need to be characterized

The SNL parody brings to light the way that women are represented in not just marvel but in different channels of media everywhere. In the different readings and movies we reviewed in class, such as Ms. Marvel and Big Hero 6, the representation of the female characters was significantly better than many of the more popular movies in the genre. Ms. Marvel is a very strong character; she is not defined by being in a relationship and is not portrayed by the common conception of beauty and the female characters, GoGo and Honey Lemon in Big Hero Six both can stand alone and don’t need to be defined by male characters in order to be great. All of these characters are not defined by whom they are dating or if they are stereotypically beautiful, they are defined by the actions that they take throughout the plot. Typical gender roles and gender equality in today’s American society still need to be fought for, people need strong female role models in the media to look up to. When women face discrimination and sexist There needs to be better representation of women, and when there are such big name companies, like Marvel, depicting women as background characters and secondary to the male leads, it is extremely frustrating because they have such a large impact on how women are seen in the media. Women are much more than a plot enhancement and it’s about time that they receive the credit and representation that they deserve.

Works Cited

Big Hero 6. Walt Disney, 2015. DVD.

Black Widow Trailer. Youtube., 3 May 2015. Web. 16  Dec. 2015.

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

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

York, NY: Marvel Worldwide, 2014. Print.

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