The Future is Female Superheroes

Wonder Woman is DC’s female-led superhero film that broke records with $821 million worldwide in box office.
(Photo courtesy of Jasmyne Michaels)

Jasmyne Michaels

Wonder Woman is DC’s female-led superhero film that broke records with $821 million worldwide in box office. (Photo courtesy of Jasmyne Michaels)

The beginning of March signals National Women’s History month, which was followed by the release of the movie Captain Marvel. Surprisingly enough, she is the first female Marvel superhero with a stand-alone movie. It begs the question: why is there such a lack of female superhero movies?

“When it comes to female superheroes, I feel like they’re [as cool as male superheroes], but they don’t get shown a lot. So, when they do, it really amazes people,” said sophomore Kalyn Pearson.

This proved to be true since Captain Marvel, a female-led superhero movie, has grossed $490 million worldwide since its release on March 8th. It is the epitome of Women’s History month, showing the inspiring capability of a woman, while motivating all people to better themselves. Similarly in 2017, Marvel’s rival, DC released Wonder Woman, their first female-led movie since 2005, showing the full potential of a woman superhero. Both movies gave the audience a taste of something different, an empowering tale of female heroism.

“I feel like there’s a lot [of female representation], but not in the right manner. Like a lot of it is  sexual and [the female character] is only there for the men,” said Pearson.

Sadly, when it comes to women in film and TV, they appear scarce. From the top grossing 1,200 movies in 2018, only 28% of the movies featured a female lead or co-lead. This presents the problem of poor representation in film, especially with females. However, strides have been made to create more female-led superhero material. Shows like Supergirl and Jessica Jones have been released, though Jessica Jones was cancelled after 2 seasons.

“Supergirl [is my favorite superhero] because she came to earth not knowing anyone and she had to overcome many obstacles,” said sophomore Jordan Fanuele.

Victoria Alonso, producer of Iron Man and Ant-Man, also highlighted the steady progress of female empowerment. Alonso hopes to change the way children look at superheroes, allowing them to be inspired by heroes who look different from one another.

“I think children should have a choice. Sometimes we are lucky enough to be the ones to create the choices for them,” said Alonso.

Representation proved to be important for the success of the award-winning movie Black Panther. Marvel hired 14 women to oversee the production of the movie, resulting in it becoming the biggest solo superhero launch of all time. In addition, both Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel were directed by females, Patty Jenkins and Anna Boden with co-director Ryan Fleck.

“Just seeing a character who says how she feels and says what’s on her mind and doesn’t let people stand in her way is incredibly empowering,” said Brie Larson, the actress behind Captain Marvel.

The female superhero representation in the film industry aren’t the only female heroes that don’t get spotlighted. Some of these heroes can be closer to home including teachers, mentors, parents, etc. The give an image for young girls and women to aspire to be, reinforcing the idea of strong females with a powerful attitude.

“I look up to my mother, because she went through a lot and she’s strong-willed. I hope one day I can do that too,” said Pearson.

If the film industry continues in the direction it’s going, is is possible the outcome will include more female superhero movies and shows in the future.

“I mean why not [have more female superhero films], because when you think of superheroes you don’t really think of females, so it would be cool to break that stereotype,” said Pearson.

As time advances, people will become more aware of the importance of positive female role models. Nowadays, females recognize that younger children need that representation they might have not had when they were a child. These female directors, producers, set designers, and others are all creating the hero that they could have looked up to as a child. It’s important to remember what Victoria Alonso said, “Just because you have one triumph doesn’t mean you’re done.”