Currently on their press tour publicizing “Avengers: The Age of Ultron,” Jeremy Renner and Chris Evans quickly learned the difference between good and bad publicity. The interviewer brought up the way fans have hoped for a relationship between Black Widow and Hawkeye or Black Widow and Captain America (the characters played by Renner and Evans), and asked their opinion of the relationship between Black Widow and Bruce Banner the movie has hinted to. Both respond, almost immediately, by calling Black Widow demeaning names in regards to her sexuality. Sure, I believe someone can make a single sexist comment without being inherently sexist. I don’t think this makes either of these guys a “bad person,” but this could have been better handled a different way.
Almost a year ago, Scripnotes podcast released their “Summer Superhero Spectacular,” an interview with a panel of screenwriters working on comic related projects. One of the writers included was David S. Goyer, the man behind next year’s much awaited “Batman v. Superman.” One thing leads to another, talk of a Hulk reboot shifts to Jennifer Waters aka She-Hulk, and Goyer brings up his theory that the She-Hulk was only created so that The Hulk would have someone to sleep with. Not only only were these comments demeaning, they’re just plain ignorant.
These characters act as strong and independent role models to young girls, yet we treat them as though it is more important that they act in a way deemed socially acceptable for women. The Black Widow is just a powerful as the rest of the Avengers, yet when she comes up in these promotional interviews people are most concerned with who she is currently romantically linked to. No one asks the same questions about her male counterparts. She-Hulk is powerful in both strength and intellect (She’s a Lawyer!) and she’s Bruce Banner’s COUSIN for crying out loud. Her origin story is one of the most tragic and interesting. It teaches us that we can overcome and make the best out of anything. Making such demeaning comments about these women shows the women and young girls watching that there’s a downside to living confidently and knowing what you want, and may turn some off to strength and independence all together. These women are role models and its time we started acting that way. All three of these men were in a place where they could have said something positive regarding these two heroes, but they took another route. I hope that with DC Super Girls and the rise in feminism in comics we see a change for a better. I for one know it is long overdue.
For more of my writing on comics and superheroes check out the following posts: