Monday, April 23, 2012

We Need More Girls... Right?

So. There's this movie opening in a few weeks. You may or may not have heard about it.

Confession: I am beyond excited to see The Avengers. I am. Really. Joss Whedon directing? A handful of Marvel's best superheroes? I'm so in. 

But I've been thinking about something one of the film's actors said in an interview. You see, there's this guy named Chris Hemsworth. He looks like this:

*fans self*

While promoting The Avengers, my future husband Chris Hemsworth was asked about Kristen Stewart. They both star in this summer's upcoming Snow White and The Huntsman.

Huntsman: "Wait... is that guy... sparkling?"

Snow White: "I have no idea what you're talking about. I am too busy freaking out over your gorgeousness." 

The interviewer asked Chris whether Kristen could hang out with The Avengers on a save-the-world mission, to which he replied with high praise for Kristen. He was then asked whether she could "hold her own" alongside the superhero team:

"I think so," smiled Hemsworth. "Why not? We need some more girls."

Chris's answer immediately made me think of the lone woman in The Avengers team.

Scarlett Johansson as The Black Widow 

Yes, she's tough. Yes, she can fight. She even carries a gun (???). But while her inclusion is a step in a good direction for female characters in films, I can't help myself in taking Chris's answer to the next level. Thor, Captain America, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk have their own origin stories on film. The Black Widow doesn't. Her origin story is glossed over in Iron Man 2, where she first appears onscreen. Which leads me to wonder: is representation enough? 

To me, it isn't. I want to know more about The Black Widow. I don't want her to be in a movie surrounded by a bunch of guys who can protect themselves just fine without her. I want to see her serve a purpose. These are my expectations for the movie. Maybe they'll be met. Maybe they won't. 

Either way, Chris Hemsworth is on to something. 

We need more richly developed, purposeful female characters in all genres of fiction. Don't write a story about a girl if she isn't someone worth exploring further. Don't settle for less than what she deserves. Same goes for male characters, of course, but that's for another post :)

Now tell me: what do you think of the need for more girls in fiction/film/TV? Which are some of your fave female characters? 


  1. Can not wait for that movie! I'd love to see a Gambit/Rouge movie. THere are a ton of great femal characters in the comic book realm, BUT I doubt they would do a solo flick for any of them. Why? Because most people that are into comics are guys and most guys don't want to see a female lead. Look what they did to Elektra!

    We see the same thing in video games. Where's our version of Solid Snake??

    At least we have Resident Evil. One bad ass babe and the movies rock. We just need more of that.

    1. Excellent point! I do think graphic novels have a ton of amazing female leads, but it's all about the audience willing to support those projects. The only two popular franchises I can think of with female leads are Resident Evil, and a non-video game/graphic novel one, Underworld.

      And I am SO keeping my fingers crossed for that X-Men spinoff!!!! :)

  2. The problem is, (like female pro atheletes), the female fanbase isn't as large and not all males will watch female pro atheletes/super hero movies.

    Things are changing...slow but steady. I, too, look forward to non-token female action heroes with their own movies.

    At least YA is female reader dominant, so we get lots of fabulous female protags there.

  3. I'm also excited for this movie, but I totally hear you. Where are all the women superheroes? We know they exist. We read the comic books, way back when. Where are their origin movies?

    While I applaud the meaning behind CH's words, I wish he would have said women instead of girls. Because therein lies part of the problem. To Hollywood, we're just girls. Girls without power, without bucks of our own, without influence. But we're not. We're strong, powerful women. And we make a difference.

  4. I am not so sure about females need a bigger representation, they are well represented on television, not just in the sitcoms, but some kick butt ones as well. I can think of Buffy, La Femme Nikita, Dark Angel, Alias, and numerous books and movies. However, I do agree that usually in the big blockbuster movies they don't get represented as well, but look at the track record, Elektra was a flop, Catwoman was a flop, Wonder Woman can't get off the ground in production hell, just to name a few that I can think of off the top of my head. I'm not sure if it's just the characters aren't popular, heck I would like a good Wonder Woman story, but if you look at it from a profit view, women stories don't do as well. With the success of the Hunger Games, maybe we can start to go that way with strong female leads in an action oriented movies. The key is the demographic, the females in the 18-25 age range don't buy tickets to these sorts of movies. Now that isn't to say they all don't buy them, but the majority of the ticket buyers are males 18-25.

    Now Hunger Games is moving in the right direction, but look at some of the strong female leads like Wonder Woman, she's ancient, been around for a long time. Her origin story has changed multiple times as time has went on. All they need is a story that attracts both the male and female audience. You can't have a love story be the center stage because that will turn off the guys, but you need to balance it with a strong action story to keep them interested. That is the balance and so far women superheroes don't go for the sappy stuff. Look at Catwoman and Elektra, both of those movies flopped because they were all action and no love story, so they drew the male audience, but after the action isn't good enough it gets bad word of mouth and BAM, poor sales, leading to other female hero's to be sidelined.

    Anyway, that is my take on the whole discussion.

  5. After I pick myself up off the floor from a Chris Hemsworth swoon...I'll tell ya that I agree on the more girls into the mega-action-mega-plex. Then again, "Write what you most want to read." Or in this case see is my guiding mantra.

  6. I'm very excited for The Avengers movie, and I agree with you that I'd like to know more about Black Widow. Like you said, representation isn't enough. We need characters with depth, ones that serve a bigger purpose than just being kick-butt or the damsel the hero rescues, etc.

    I'm actually having trouble thinking of favorite female characters (sad, no?) I do like Julie Baker (was that her last name?) from the book "Flipped." You get to see her for herself, AND you get to see her through the MC's eyes as well. Eowyn's from The Lord of the Rings fame is interesting. Hermione from Harry Potter is strong and independant...

    And that's as much as I can think without having had caffeine yet today.

  7. Chris Hemsworth... I could oogle over him for a long time. :) He's gorgeous.

  8. I do think from a financial standpoint, John's right. The Black Widow would flop as a movie because it wouldn't have enough draw power from both women and men. It's not that she's not a great character and interesting, it's that ultimately, they'd probably make it into a love story and those don't do as well as men. But I do think Hunger Games is going to change the action franchise,


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