The title says it all. The question may seem benign and somewhat moot, considering the more important things one has to struggle with. But the question leads to a rabbit hole that allows us to ask it in a different way: “Is Hollywood afraid of women?” I know. It’s sort of an odd question to ask within the context of a potential superhero movie. But hear me out, because you get the sense that women are merely seen as set pieces. And it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. But…”What’s your f@#$ing point?” you may ask. My point is that women are merely adopting the role that an extremely patriarchal society has thrust upon them. Patriarchy has led to me being deprived of a Wonder Woman flick. So in essence, this is all of our fault dudes. Seriously. And if you happen to be a woman of color in Hollywood…yikes.
So, how did it come to this? How is it that after all these years, women are still considered throwaways? Set pieces MADE to look pretty, ugly, or to make a man feel great about himself. Maybe it’s because men have a very hyper realistic viewpoint concerning women. And by “hyper realistic” I mean “unrealistic”. How hard is it to cast a character that is smart, sophisticated, strong and beautiful in a movie that actually makes sense…oh wait. We’re talking about Hollywood. A place where women are dismissed as the damsel in distress or a convenient nuisance. As of now, the current roles for women tend to be either:
A. Damsel in Distress
B. Hot Chick
C. Damsel in Distress who is also the Hot Chick
D. Some random woman who only serves to advance the plot by the slimmest of circumstances (see: every Hollywood movie)
But not only are women not accurately represented on film, they are also severely underrepresented behind the scenes. The New York Film Academy has put together this wonderful graphic that is both enlightening and terrifying:
You know what we call that fellas? Gender appropriation. It’s like cultural appropriation, except it involves women. You would think that all women in film must look like Scarlett Johansson on camera and behind it. But that’s not the reality…unless you watch movies. Made by men. So…the more women that work in Hollywood, the more positive the images. Because not everything should be ass and titties, a damsel in distress, and/or a rape scene that does nothing to advance the plot.
As an avid comic book fan, it always puzzling to hear or read the phrase, “Women don’t…as an excuse to avoid them as consumers (but they shouldn’t be seen just as consumers). This usually means a variation of victim blaming: “Them women folk and them lady parts are just too darn confusing. How do I make sense of the world!” So male culture reacts by codifying female culture as the “other” (So what is “the other”? Not too sure. Something to do with otherness?). When we aren’t willing to understand someone or something else., we cobble together a very superficial and often demeaning idea of that person or thing is. Male perception of women is a cobbled up idea of what we want women to be–sex objects. We need to do better fellas.
I know that as a man, I’m no expert in these matters (and with my own issues of misogyny). But as a dude surrounded by awesome women, it would mean a lot if a certain disenfranchised segment of the population could have more small and big screen heroes to look up to. Especially for women of color.
I know that Gal Gadot has been cast as Wonder Woman in the upcoming “Batman and Superman” movie(and she’s been pretty bad-ass in the “Fast and the Furious” series). But is this going to be the Wonder Woman that can go toe to toe with Superman and literally break Batman in half? Or will this be a damsel in distress Wonder Woman? A woman saved by Batman and Superman at the last minute. If it’s the latter, I know many people that will be highly disappointed with that. Including my pretend girlfriend Gal Gadot:
And before you say that there is no room for tough women in Hollywood…