No Girls Allowed: Superheroine movies that are not.

3 years ago

I spent my childhood reading source materials like Greek and Celtic myths, stuff like that. Somehow I managed to make it to adulthood without a massive collection of comics, probably due to the prohibitive cost, and Ye Olde Mythes were cheap/free. If you are a bookworm child whose family doesn’t have a lot of cash to burn, you’re reading public domain.

 

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                                                      Yay, Formorians!  (see the wiki)


But even though I’m not to the panel born, I support the genre, especially superhero comics. These are our myths, and we need them. Doubly so when we go from page to screen - movies are our campfire stories, our cave paintings. Kids (who can) go to the movies and buy the stuff and emulate the characters just as we’ve all done since ever. Movies, even the silliest, are where we learn fundamental lessons about existing with other humans. This is one of the places we practice our humanity.


So I take it personally when we can’t get a goddamned Wonder Woman movie. Or any other female character in the lead - note I said “character” and not T&A or Interchangeable Female Stereotype #47. I’m with you, fellow nerds! I’m with you when you complain (rightly) about the lack of diversity in the cinema. I’m with you when you complain (rightly) about the conservativism inherent in the US studio system. Luke McKinney of Cracked.com is one of jillions to sum this up succinctly:


"There’s a lot of rubbish spouted about why WW hasn’t already been on the screen. They tell us there isn’t a market for it, that it’s not a good investment, and that’s horseshit". (Link to McKinney’s article here)


The internet has long been digging its claws into the conservativism of the US entertainment industry. There are endless rebuttals to the recieved “wisdom” of “girls won’t buy toys”, or “women don’t game”, or “noone wants to see a female lead”. Go on, google this. It is out there - people of all genders are vocal and have been for a while.


The fact is that when a business (movies, comics, whatever) gets so large and rich, they become hidebound. Our American obsession with exponential growth stifles creativity and ignores actual customers, because the already over-moneyed are terrified of not just loosing profits, but not constantly makingmore.


So the folks in charge of funding projects see movies of muscley cool white dudes make money (this is America, so of course) so they keep throwing dude after dude at us, expecting the same result the 25th time as they got the first. The most adventurous we really get is once in a while having a Brit or an Australian, which, translated into the American, is “Also British”.  

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(Tom, Chris, love ya babes, but we need more)

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This weird idea of business knits in so neatly with sexism. “Women don’t like this superhero stuff anyway, so why cater to them?” because women are supposed to be all up in that Notebook shit. The seed of the idea is that it’s not ladylike to have power fantasies, so women won’t watch or read anything like that in their spare time. This directly affects they way media is packaged and sold: “wow, women aren’t buying tickets/merch, they must not like this. Let’s not waste money trying to get them in”. So dudes are the more visible market because they are being marketed to. Because half the damn market is being ignored.


Then we get “Women are even more not into this than we previously thought, so let’s cut Lady Character #3! We’ll minimize her screen time, and not bother with the merch, cause noone cares!” they still make money hand over fist, cause (hehehe) all us Scary Females are going to see the movies anyway, and we are buying what we can buy, which is “boy stuff”. But this is invisible becaue Marketing.


That leads to the absolute gobsmacker of “Wow….women aren’t buying stuff or tickets. They must not be into superhero stuff. I have a revolutionary idea: let’s not cater to them! If those stuck up broads won’t buy, why sell to ‘em?”

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You said it, Tom.

McKinney and the rest of the dissenting voices are right. Please, please google around and find more people talking about this. Especially women. This is not just me ranting.


Some people truly believe that actual women are indifferent to the genre and (thanks to the sympathetic magic of sexism) female characters will tank a movie by their mere womanly presence. 

We should be flattered: The power of women is so strong that if a female *character* is allowed too much freedom and focus, she’ll gain sentience and take over the movie, discussing Feelings and Tampons!!!11! (Amirite, guys?) And then the genre will be ruined, and stuff will change, and we’ll have to adapt. IF WE GIVE THEM MOVIES THEY WILL BECOME TOO POWERFUL! AND WE WILL NOT MAKE NEARLY ENOUGH PENIS, I MEAN PROFIT, AND THEN THE WORLD SHALL BE OVER, THE MOTHER GODDESS WILL RIDE IN ON A PALE HORSE, THE FIRE OF THE DYING SUN GLINTING OFF HER RUBY CLITORIS CROWN. SHE WILL INVADE OUR KINGDOM, SWINGING HER LABRYS AND MAKING US STOP PUNCHING EACH OTHER AND START EATING KALE AND WE SHALL HAVE TO FEAR FOR OUR MANHOOD! MEN, WE MUST UTTER THE SACRED RUNES OF LORENA BOBBIT JOKES AND FONDLE OUR SANDWICH TALISMANS TO KEEP THE GIBBERING FEMINAZI HORDES AT BAY!

And then there are people that presumably know better but are terrified of not making *more* that they won’t make waves.

Those are the people we need to work on, because convincing anyone emotionally invested in misogyny to reform their entire worldview is probably not happening.  But it’s the people afraid to say anything that need the wakeup call.  If you keep doing the same damn movie over and over, people will go to see it because it’s all they have, not necessarily because they like it.  Not everyone has access to super cool toys like Netflix and whatnot that let you see indie/obscure or *gasp* Foreign films.

You already have more than enough money - the American movie business alone is still a mammoth.  You can more than afford to take risks and let “unorthodox” projects through.  You may not make as much right away, but your growth will be steadier and healthier and you will get loyal fans that will buy your shit for *years* instead of this glut nonsense you got going on.


That, Virginia, is why we can’t have a proper superheroine anything.

 

 

 

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