Superheroes Are Not Just Men

Now it’s May, looking back at my naive optimism at the idea that I could

1. find the time to go to the cinema once a week and

2. afford to go to the cinema once a week

seems almost cute. Who goes to the cinema once a week who isn’t paid to or works in a cinema? No one. Maybe someone. But they don’t have the amount of reading I have to do.

The last film I went to see was Iron Man 3. I was really chuffed to find out it passes the test because I’m a big fan of the Marvel films generally. Avengers Assemble was such a great action blockbuster but, like many, many superhero films, it doesn’t pass the test. This is a real issue for me. I think the emphasis these films put on the male characters being the heroes and often the woman being rescued reinforces that horrible old stereotype which teaches children that men are active and women are passive.

So, it was a total pleasure to go to a superhero movie knowing it passed the test, and a mega delight to see SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT the woman saving the man. It gave me a genuine buzz & I felt all excited. “Yes!” I thought when SPOILER ALERT Pepper got in the suit. “Yes! Pepper is in the suit! This makes it one billion percent easier for me to imagine myself in the suit & I want nothing more than to be in the suit.” was the feeling running through me.

I think it’s so important for girls to have that chance to identify with the hero and it’s important for boys to see that the woman can be the hero.

Though encouraging to see a big movie franchise creating better parts and narrative for female characters, it’s pretty disheartening to see this news that we’ve had the smallest number of speaking roles for women in five years, and that most of those roles were sexualised in some way. As Bridget Christie says, it seems misogyny, like shiny leggings, is making a comeback – and neither do any good for most women.

Why this setback? It is because of the fallacy of achieved equality now? Whatever the reason, it remains crucial to encourage greater female roles, more women producers, directors, writers, more women in production jobs like sound and cinematography. It’s not difficult to understand that the greater gender equality in all aspects of film-making leads to  more women characters on screen, contributing in more complex ways.

P.S. I am running a 10k race next week and raising money for Refuge. you can sponsor me if you like


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