So, I went to see Avengers for the third time last night! And got to meet a charming gentleman who said he read my blog (Hello!!!!). I took my friend Kayla because her boyfriend hadn’t taken her yet (in all fairness their work schedules are completely opposite right now). So we went up to the boozy theater near my house and hunkered down.
Now, I noticed something. There were quite a lot of women in that theater, most notably a group of about five really normal looking women (as opposed to my and Kayla’s tattooed freak asses), and yes, while we all swooned over Loki, the biggest cheers were for Black Widow. The opening Widow scene where she kicks the guys’ asses in the warehouse, got cheers and women bouncing in their seats all over the theater. And apart from the Hulk pounding Loki into goo, which we all cheered at in spite of the estrogen dripping from the air every time Tom Hiddleston spoke his lines, Widow’s scenes got the biggest cheers from the women near us.
Theory time! Isn’t it always? Women want strong characters who happen to be female. And I think Black Widow does that. She’s tough, she does what needs doing, but she’s still human beneath it all. You see that human vulnerability when Dr. Banner scares her at the beginning, after Thor barrels into the Hulk, and talking to Hawkeye after she’s kicked his ass. But she doesn’t wallow in the emotions she’s feeling. They’re there. You can see them in her face, hear them in the catch in her voice, but she’s still in control. She’s good. She’ll take care of things.
Like I’ve said before, she doesn’t fall into any of the traps that so many of Whedon’s female characters fall into (Buffy, River, Dollhouse…), and that is in part because her backstory was really out of his hands, I think. I mean, comic book nerds can relax on canon when it comes to a good story (the Marvel Multiverse is proof of this), but there are limits, man.* She is not crazy, she is neither completely unemotional or over-emotional. She is a no-bullshit kind of character, and would be completely unremarkable if she were male. Granted I think the interrogation scene with Loki would have gone differently on film if she were male, but it shouldn’t have. It would have worked (for me) had she been a dude, because I realize that men and women are people and not separate species, no matter how hard our culture tries to convince us differently.
Ok, so that’s enough of that. I just wanted to say that it was really gratifying to hear the women cheering the female hero. It was, and I hope this and the success of Hunger Games are enough to get Hollywood to quit wanking each other off over how awesome dudes are and how girly women are and write some more actual characters who happen to be women.
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*Most of us. Some of us are WAYYYY too hung up on the details. And I will still never forgive Chuck Austen for fucking with Nightcrawler’s backstory.
5 thoughts on “Geek Girls Rule! #220 – Women Love Widow.”
I remember everyone cheering in the first movie she appeared- breaking in to the lab where Whiplash was staying. It was great to see a woman devastating the guards with such skill and a no nonsense attitude. It was refreshing and she absolutely stole the show.
I was smitten.
I didn’t see Iron Man 2 in the theater. I did cheer watching it on DVD with friends, though.
I also like the fact that she doesn’t make “sex noises” when she’s hitting people, or taking hits.
My favourite part of Iron Man 2 was Black Widow’s scene in which she took down this squad of bad guys, and then casually pepper sprays the last one as she walks off.
As the sarge in Aliens said: Absolutely BAD ASS.
I did really like Black Widow in Avengers as well because she got to shine as equally as the men did, and that movie had some serious balancing to do with regards to how many people were sharing the screen. What criticism she received from critics were trite and stupid, and ignored much of what she did.
Plus, in advertising her role in the movie, she was not overly sexualized, which I appreciated. The zipper on her suit wasn’t undone down to her navel, and she wore practical boots, and it looked as though it was something she could fight in.
Also, she wasn’t a superhero who was based off an already established male superhero. It was the Black Widow, not She Hulk or Miss Marvel, but Black Widow. I think that’s important to note as her popularity could lead to other movies that focus on a female protagonist lead role.
Good point. You’re right. She doesn’t have a male analog that came first, unlike Batgirl, Batwoman, She-Hulk, Spider-Woman, Powergirl, etc…