Telling The Real Stories

Black Widow, feminism and gender inequality

in Editorial/Opinion by

I feel like when I walk into a big box chain store looking for Avenger’s action figure toys, I shouldn’t have to search all over the place and then not even find any Black Widow figurines. Not only has Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. Black Widow (played by the amazing Scarlett Johansson) been a core part of the Avengers movies, but she is one of the leads in Avengers: Age of Ultron – so why she would be deleted from the action figures is appalling.

Hasbro was quickly attacked as to why they took her out of the line up. When she was added in a couple boxes, as Cinema Blend touched on, she was put in the cockpit of the Avengers jet, instead of dropping out of it on the motorcycle, per the scene in the movie.

Mark Ruffalo, who plays the Incredible Hulk in the Avengers movies took to Twitter last spring to express his frustrations.

When it comes to movies, there are so many people who are doing a fantastic job of pushing women’s roles in the less-stereotypical genres (i.e. action movies). Meanwhile, there are others who make key decisions, such as merchandise or marketing that will affect fans or onlookers of those films. These people don’t seem to always be on the same page to push the boundaries and strive for gender equality. (The fact that Black Widow needs her own movie is another topic.)

Take the new blockbuster hit Jurassic World for example. The lead of that movie was Claire (played by Bryce Dallas Howard), a strong woman who frankly kicked ass and took risks to save the day in the end.

Yes, Owen (Chris Pratt’s character) was listed as the first main character, and Claire wouldn’t have succeeded nearly as well without him–I like to think they worked as a team–but Director Colin Trevorrow actually told Bryce Dallas when he pitched the movie to her that “You are the lead of the movie.”

To which she responded laughing, “Haha. Yeah, right. I’ll believe it when I see it,” she revealed in an interview with Cosmopolitan this past week. But the fact that Colin Trevorrow specifically wanted to tell the story of Jurassic World with a female focus, says a lot.

However, if you go and look at the marketing and merchandise in the stores, what you see is, well, to be honest mostly dinosaurs. Yet, you will have an insanely difficult time finding a “Claire” action figure, opposed to an “Owen.”

On a side note, there was a backlash again at Hasbro for changing all of the Jurassic World “female” dinosaur toys into “males” this past summer.

I won’t write a huge list of all the amazing things that women can accomplish just as well as men, which, is basically everything because seriously, who cares if someone is of the male or female sex? We are all humans. But, I will say that I feel certain things need to changeAnd I don’t mean with just women’s roles either.

Men definitely have stereotypes they are attached to as well, and they shouldn’t feel judged by society if they enjoy or feel connected to the opposite types of their gender stereotypical roles.

For example, if a man gets emotional during a heartfelt, romantic comedy, by all means, he should feel comfortable expressing his emotions with that. If one of his favorite colors is pink, a traditional “girl” color, he shouldn’t feel that it is not okay to love that color. And, if he would rather drink wine and read a book instead of go pound beers and watch football with the guys, he is entitled to do that without feeling he will be judged as “weak” and not a “real man.”

Back to the female side of things. If a women loves to get dirty in the mud, watch football on Sundays and take boxing or other classes that are not considered “lady-like,” that’s okay! We should all be embracing who we are as human beings, what our interests and passions are, without worrying about what society has been saying we are for centuries. We are capable of whatever we set out to be, and our gender should not have anything to do with that.

It’s the year 2015. Women gained the right to vote almost an entire century ago, yet when you go to the toy department in a store, you see an entire wall dedicated to male action heroes and have to search to find even a few random female characters. Something needs to change.

Jessie is the Editor-in-Chief at University Chronicle. She is a senior at St. Cloud State University and is working toward a B.S. in Print Journalism, a B.A. in Geography and a minor in British Studies. Jessie’s social media channels are a mix of nerdy goodness and political banter. Follow her on twitter @jessieannwade for all that is lovely.

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