Natasha Romanoff's Presentation Of The Superhero Genre

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In the last decade or so Hollywood has taken a liking to the superhero genre and the popularity of the films, television shows, and source characters have exploded. They have managed to produce billions of dollars and bring in a huge number of viewers of all kinds. The stories they tell are complex and enthralling to the audience. However, almost all these stories focus on men and their stories and only use women as a background prop to try to be seen as “progressive”. Some excuse this because the main target is impressionable young, straight, white men so that is why those are the characters they show, as though they cannot find characters that are not exactly like them relatable or interesting, when in reality these movies are viewed by all…show more content…
Natasha Romanoff has an extremely deep and complex history that these films could explore, instead they use her as a rotating prop for male superheroes. Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of the character first appeared in Iron Man 2 and from the get go they sexualized her. She is portrayed as a flirty office assistant for Tony Stark and is treated as such by the characters around her. While she flips their ideas on their heads, quite literally at one point, the film still uses her as a way to explore Iron Mans character. In her next appearances in Avengers and Captain America Winter Soldier they use her as ways to explore the characters of Hawkeye and Captain America respectively. The most blatant use of Natasha as a prop comes from Avengers Age of Ultron. In this one, out of nowhere, she becomes a love interest for Hulk. Her only storyline and purpose for the entirety of the film is to soothe the Hulk and explore that relationship. The movie also finds it necessary to bring up the fact that she was sterilized during her training and demonizes the issue. In regards to the issue she says “You’re not the only monster on the team.” The entirety of the film manages to use her as a love interest and make it appear that there is something wrong with her due to not being able to have children. They reduce her to the two worst stereotypes about women and push this idea to the public. Whether or not the…show more content…
It is light hearted, fun, and unabashedly feminist. It embraces the feminist feeling and fully pushes the idea with every character on the show. The series has multiple female leads of all different personalities and backgrounds. They are allowed to have feelings and reactions and be unique. The show is not perfect, because nothing really can be; Cat Grant is Kara’s boss and she is an extremely successful woman who runs her own magazine and business; with Cat there exists the overused trope of a successful woman having to choose between work and personal life. While it is done a bit better than most and adds to her character by skewing it is still a fairly harmful idea. Kara (Supergirl) is a great example of how to write a complex female character that does not solely rely on trauma. It is unfortunately unique to have a female character be happy, independent, and powerful all while not being sexualized. Kara has a strong relationship with her sister and foster mother and idolizes Cat Grant. These bonds guide Kara through life and help her make tough decisions. She asks them for assistance when she needs it and discusses her life with them; the series excels in showing these how these relationships are beneficial for everyone and never once turns catty. Supergirl creates a world where women are allowed to be independent, emotional, successful, and strong. The show
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