Diversity in Hollywood is definitely a hot topic right now and with good reason. Whether it’s Jason Momoa talking about race and ethnicity or Paul Feig raising the hype for women in film, the issues surrounding this subject are ones that are continuously surrounded by controversy and now it seems Joss Whedon is speaking up about misogyny in Superhero films. Not one to shy away from voicing his opinion, The Avengers director has been speaking about misogyny in the entertainment industry.
While on set for the 2012 mega hit. He had this to say; “It’s a phenomenon in the [film] industry that we call ‘stupid people’. There is genuine, recalcitrant, intractable sexism, and old-fashioned quiet misogyny that goes on. You hear ‘Oh, [female superheroes] don’t work because of these two bad ones that were made eight years ago’, there’s always an excuse”. Back in 2013, Whedon spoke to The Daily Beast and called the idea of not being able to have a female superhero movie “stupid”. Since those comments, both Marvel and DC Comics have announced plans for standalone superhero film with female leads; Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman.
Whedon spoke to BuzzFeed yesterday to clarify his comments; “I just thought, ‘I sounded very harsh, and then [Marvel announced], ‘We’re going to make Captain Marvel. We’re going to make Black Panther. We’re going to shake it up’. I was just like, great! Now I just sound mean and bitter. But, you know, there’s a lot to be mean and bitter about”.
Hey, Whedon… you’ve got nothing to feel bad about. What Whedon commented on last year is something that’s quite clearly an issue and felt by many others both within the industry and outside it. Perhaps his comments had a little something to do with the more frequent use of female role models within superhero films, perhaps not. Still, you can’t knock the guy for speaking out about something like this. Women in superhero films need to be normalized to a global audience if skeptics are ever going to accept them. Women are strong, superhero’s are stronger, put you’r hands together and you’ve got a winning formula.
Whedon went on to talk about Scarlett Johansson‘s role in Lucy and how this was a clear step in the right direction for female superheroes; “Lucy was a huge step, in a way. Because it was such a massive hit, and because Scarlett [Johansson] is amazing in it. Her in the first 40 minutes of that movie is just — she’s giving a powerhouse, emotional performance as a terrified and evolving person. It’s not just, ‘Oh, we’re going to pay lip service to this idea, and then get to the endless ass-kicking.’ It really is a character piece. She’s what you’re looking at the whole time. I mean, [she and I] don’t even talk about movies, and I had to tell her how great she was. So to deal from that place, instead of just ‘here’s a genre idea that will sell toys,’ is dynamite”.
These are some brave words from Whedon, too often, film directors and especially male film directors, seem frightened to voice an opinion about female superheros for fear of alienating their already fierce fan base. You just have to look at the backlash of Paul Feig’s Ghostbuster casting. I’m looking forward to seeing what these bad ass, complex female superheroes will bring to the big screen in the next couple of years. Who’s with me?