The comic book film industry has a huge problem with how it portrays its female characters – in that it doesn’t. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe films are massively popular, with over 3 billion dollars grossed over 11 movies, not one single movie featured a woman in the title role. Marvel has 11 more movies planned, but only one of those, “Captain Marvel,” is headlined by a woman.
The only significant female character introduced is Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson, and even she suffers from serious neglect and erasure. Despite being a massively popular character, having a profitable actress attached to the role, and a lot of serious interest from writers, directors and fans, there are no plans to make a Black Widow movie.
Black Widow is even pushed out of Marvel merchandise. Most recently two toy sets were released that recreated one of Black Widow’s coolest scenes in the most recent Avengers film. The toys removed Black Widow from the scene and replaced her with one of her male teammates. Toy makers also push releasing figures based off of Black Widow back until after her male teammate’s figures have released.
This problem Marvel has with female-led superhero movies was clearly revealed in a leaked email from Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter in which he appears to be explaining why female-centric superhero movies are a bad idea. He cites three previously unsuccessful movies as examples of why female-led movies do not work. This kind of sexism is a huge problem within the industry, especially when millions of men, women and children go to see these movies.