Hollywood is not a kind place for women. Actresses have historically been relegated to the role of the damsel in distress. There simply to motivate the male character into saving the day. Female directors are rarely given the chance to showcase their unique artistic voice in the same way as their male counterparts. Hollywood is inherently afraid of women.
This fear has stopped half of the population from telling their own stories in the film industry. It has stopped actresses from having decades-long careers simply because they were deemed ‘too old’ by a group of men in a board room. This fear has even more far-reaching effects when you consider the viewing-audience. Young girls watching any movie or TV show are only presented with how men see women, not how women see women. This skewed viewpoint affects young girl’s self-esteem and how they value themselves. They will only see themselves as objects for men to do with as they please.
The film industry is inherently biased against women. Proof of this is easily found in blockbuster film-making. If a blockbuster with a male lead bombs at the box-office, like the 2016 remake of Ben-Hur, then the poor publicity, or bad timing, or any number of other reasons are blamed. But if a blockbuster with a female lead bombs, like the 2016 remake of Ghostbusters, then it’s the female lead’s fault.
If you turn your attention to Marvel Studios, you see the same bias at play. While the MCU film franchise has some strong female characters, as of yet no Marvel Studios film has featured a woman in the lead role. Over eight years and 14 films, no woman has led a Marvel superhero film. Just to add salt to the wound, no woman has even directed a MCU film in that time.
Movies are not teaching young girls that they can be just as strong as men. Movies are not teaching them that they can handle any situation as well as a man would. Movies are not showing young girls that they have value.
But hopefully things are changing.
After 75 years in publication, Wonder Woman is finally getting her own feature film. DC have found the one area in which they can beat Marvel in the superhero-film space. They are putting diversity at the forefront of their superhero franchise and it starts with strong female characters.
The Wonder Woman film won’t be the first female-led superhero film ever but it will be the
first in the modern golden-age we currently live in. It is also the first in this modern-age to be directed by a woman. Patty Jenkins, director of Wonder Woman, will be only the second woman in Hollywood history to direct a feature film with a budget of $100 million or more.
DC are also doubling down on strong women. Harley Quinn played a major role in the recent Suicide Squad film. She will also be getting her own spin-off film that will be full of strong female characters.
Not to be left too far behind, Marvel announced at San Diego Comic Con this past summer that Brie Larson would play Carol Danvers a.k.a. Captain Marvel. The first MCU film to feature a woman in the lead slatted for a 2019 release will also likely feature the first woman director of an MCU film.
Things in Hollywood are slowly, but surely, changing. As she was when she was first introduced, Wonder Woman is a symbol of change. Her introduction in the 1940s standing alongside Superman and Batman as an equal marked a shift from the old way of thinking to the new. Women can look to Wonder Woman and see strength, courage, and grace all the while looking bad-ass. Wonder Woman stands the test of time because she appeals to simple truth that woman are just as capable as men.
Traditional thinking would say that women in lead roles don’t sell tickets. But as the recent trailer for Wonder Woman shows, there is an intense interest in seeing strong women on the big-screen. That same interest made Star Wars: The Force Awakens the biggest movie of last year. A movie which had a strong woman in the lead role. So that old excuse to keep women out of lead roles won’t work anymore.
Wonder Woman is paving a new path. Not just in superhero film or in blockbusters. She is paving a path of equality for all women, everywhere.
Who is your favorite female superhero? Comment down below or tweet me @CBloodRojas.