Highly recommend Captain Marvel. So well done in so many ways to give women and girls (finally) some powerful examples of being represented in media.
Although I was thrilled to see Wonder Woman come out a while back, and it was an important step toward challenging sexism, it had some major flaws.
*** spoiler alert...
In Wonder Woman
- her performance of being a woman was very aligned with patriarchal standards.
- she was cast as anorexic thin coming from a race of “superior women” that almost totally consisted of anorexic thin white women who show no signs of aging * note, I am not claiming that the actor that played her roll is anorexic. Many women in media are selected because of their extremely rare genetics and natural extreme thinness. And it’s common for women in those industries to have eating disorders. But the question is “what would most women need to do to try to reach that body standard?” And for most it would be attempts at starvation that are physically and mentally damaging.
- she played dumb for much of the movie needing to be corrected by a white male character
- the “male gaze” was present with her body and plenty of shots of her breasts, and up her skirt being present through the film
- and although being a superhero, ultimately found her strength through a white male believing in her
- a sadness that so many opportunities were missed here
- it would have been great to see 1) more body diversity 2) independent female strength shown apart from “because a man believes in me”
In Captain Marvel
- although most female characters were still typically thin, there was more body, age and race diversity
- her armor was much more functional and protective as opposed to catering to what might be appealing to the male gaze
- she was not sexualized at all
- in fact there were no romantic love interests in this movie
- she gained her power from her OWN experiences of bravery, tenacity and strength
- and the movie made a wonderful point of proving untrue that her powers were given to her by the white male character and could be “taken away” by him. Instead they made it clear that once she realized she had her power all along and didn’t need to ask permission. In that realization she was most powerful.
- they made it a point multiple times that her motivations were not to “prove anything” to the patriarchal characters
- her character was not based on pleasing a man (doing something for “love” or to make her father proud or the realization that “he was right all along”)
- and being packed with 90s anthems of female empowerment, it was a great “call to rise up” feeling
- so much done well. Not just for an awesome movie, but a great step toward how women are portrayed in the media and the messages we send to women and girls of what is possible for them.
What would you have liked to see better in either movie?
What would you request of the movie industry to take better steps toward ending sexism?
Ps, I am taking my 9-year-old daughter to see this with me tomorrow