Our View: Female superheroes are not equally represented

Within the Marvel and DC universes, the majority of superheroes are men. The inequality of women representation in the superhero world is blatantly obvious. 

The Avengers franchise is a great example of the unequal representation of female superheroes. Captain Marvel is the only woman superhero to have her own film of all of the Avengers. Even she did not receive her own film until 2019. For comparison, “Iron Man” was released in 2008, beginning the Avenger franchise. 

A female-centric film is set to release soon for Marvel. The new film “Black Widow” will be released on July 9 of this year, and don’t ignore the fact that fans are only now learning about the heroine’s past. Black Widow first appeared in “Iron Man 2” in 2010, and 11 years later, fans will finally know who she truly is. In “Avengers: Endgame,” Black Widow played a crucial role and ultimately sacrificed herself to help the Avengers succeed. Black Widow had to die to get her own film, and fans must remember that important fact. 

In the DC universe, Wonder Woman has received a similar treatment. The first Wonder Woman film was released on ABC in 1974. Wonder Woman did not star in another film until 2009, but this film was only released on DVD. Wonder Woman did not singularly star in a theatrically released film until 2017. It took Wonder Woman 76 years to get her own film and she is one of the first female superheroes. So how long will the others have to wait? 

According to the Washington Post, the Wonder Woman comics were originally written by Joye Hummel Murchison Kelly in 1941. She did not receive credit for her contribution until decades later because at the time, she wrote under the pseudonym of Charles Moulton. According to BBC, Wonder Woman is regarded as one of the first female superheroes beginning to appear in comics in 1941. However, at the time of her creation, Superman, who first appeared in comics in 1938, was already starring in theatrical episodes, according to Tor.com, an online science fiction magazine. 

Superhero culture has slowly opened up to female heroines, but it has been a long journey and it is far from over. The Ringer, an online sports and pop culture site, declared 2020 as “the year of the female superhero,” but the COVID-19 pandemic caused release dates of “Wonder Woman 1984” and “Black Widow” to be pushed back. As The Ringer points out, Marvel is going back in time in the “Black Widow” film to tell fans about the heroine’s past, but sometimes that is what it takes to create diversity among superhero culture. But moving forward, these changes should not be made in hindsight. Correct the issue and then the past will not need to be readdressed. 

Regardless of how DC and Marvel decide to correct the problem of unequal female representation, a fix is needed. To work towards equality and eliminate the apparent sexism, females need to be represented independent of men. Having the Marvel film “The Ant-Man and the Wasp” is great, but the Wasp is not the main character. Heroines star alongside male superheros in nearly every Marvel and DC film, but they do not have to be sidekicks or costars. Female superheroes are just as capable of functioning on their own and saving the world in the process. So let them. 

Put female superheroes at the forefront. Every Marvel fan who saw “Avengers: Endgame” remembers the moment when all of the heroines came together in an epic fight scene to take down evil and ultimately defeat Thanos. It was an electric moment in the theater, and more of those can be created if female heroes are given a chance. 

Every female superhero deserves their own independent film. Look at all three of the Iron Man movies next to the one movie that the Black Widow has. It took Black Widow thirteen years since the release of “Iron Man” to get her own movie. How is that fair? 

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