Marvel movies. You love them, I love them, your grandma loves them. Sure she might say things like, ‘There’s too many things flying around,’ or, ‘back in my day there weren’t so many coloreds in the pictures,’ but we’re all still fans. However, there is one legitimate complaint she might have that would be pretty difficult to refute: a lack of female representation.
Now that is, of course, not to say that there are not any good female characters in the Marvel movies. In fact, if I were to say that I think that the rabbid Black Widow, Shuri and Valkyrie fan bases would likely find a way to hack my computer and show up at my door. However, I feel that it’s a definite problem that out of the 22 movies that will have been out by the time Avengers Endgame wraps up, only one movie will have had a female lead and it will have been second to last.
There is, of course, a reason for that. Progress is slow. Since the film industry began, the majority of major motion pictures have been lead by straight, white, male protagonists, and movie studios don’t like to chances. Before taking a chance with a movie with a woman or a minority as lead the Marvel Studios higher ups wanted to build a strong foundation with less risky movies with leads that fit the straight, white, male, mold. Once they had, it was possible for a movie like Black Panther to be made and the people behind it to be given the freedoms to take the risks in making it that lead to it having such critical and audience acclaim. Now thanks to its success and the continuing positive track record of the other movies in the franchise a Marvel movie with a female lead is finally coming out, and it having a good public reception is just as important as that of Black Panther.
As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.” The struggle for anyone who more representation in films will be to fork over the $10.15 when Captain Marvel comes out and going to see it. Rather than skipping it in the theatres because they can watch it at home, and then complaining about how no new stories get made like so many do.
You might think that superhero movies or movies in general aren’t worth all this attention. But for most, superhero movies are what we like, they give us something to believe in, something to look forward to. Movies are not just stories, they’re representations that people can can do anything, that they can affect some positive change in the world. All people need to see themselves represented in the art that they love. If the movie is terrible I’m not telling you to give it a five star review for the sake of diversity. What I am asking you to do is not to let the “meninists” online, harsh critics, or one bad trailer keep you from giving something a chance. Something that might not mean anything to you could help continue a trend of movies getting made that can directly inspire majorly underrepresented parts of the population.