Anonymous asked: To be fair, Catwoman and Elektra were terribly written movies. Catwoman's plot was completely stupid. I firmly believe that a female superhero movie given the same level of writing and the same budget that Iron Man was given would be be a spectacular success. Unfortunately, because they greenlit shitty movies with otherwise good female leads they now have an excuse to say 'well it doesn't sell' when the truth is they bombed because they were bad movies, not because of the leads.
I agree but I don’t think that’s the whole of it. I’ve been running a Black Widow blog too long to not think there aren’t weird double standards female leads get pulled to. Like, Catwoman and Elektra were bad and it was easy to see that they were bad, that the marketing served them up poorly and played up the action and sexy fights specifically to drag men into it. But there’s a reason there’s a perceived dichotomy between sex appeal and character depth and lots of bad lines in a trailer drove moviegoers away from Elektra but Daredevil did okay enough to get the spin-off. There’s a reason the the Globe and Mail evaluated Johansson’s performance in the Avengers explicitly as a “token sexy female” stocktype and felt comfortable reviewing her literally in terms of his own fourteen year old boy lust. (“A pale pink at best” he says, on a scale of his hormonal reds.)
I mean, I don’t think a female led action movie is an impossible mountain. Hunger Games exists and has millions and millions of dollars in the bank. Lucy just hit #1 at the box office based solely on trailers that played up Johansson’s Black Widow action-cred. It could sell, we’ve already been selling it, people are thirsty for this. We’re in such a fucked up situation we’ve convinced ourselves that a movie about a white lady beating people up would be an important feminist triumph.
But these blockbuster action films are traditionally laser targeted at men and boys aged 18 to 39 and Disney bought Marvel so it could sell toys to boys. Women make up almost half the audience of these Marvel movies but like, none of the lead roles, a fifth of the cast and a fraction of the merchandise. And the the problem isn’t just that there aren’t many Black Widow action figures, is that we tell girls and boys they need to play with separate toys, and we tell boys they don’t need a Black Widow to complete the set. Like, it’s that kind of marketing thought that makes “female led vigilante films” a category in the first place, and doesn’t make room for other contexts. It feeds back into itself, like a snake eating its own tail, and meanwhile we just get thirsty.