– by Joseph Jammer Medina

“It would paralyze you if you were trying to develop a story or character that is going to please everyone on the Internet. You would curl up into a ball and never do anything.”

– Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios

Oh, internet. Oh, social media. You fickle mistresses. No matter what, it seems, you’re never happy. The above quote came from Kevin Feige at a recent press event. as the Marvel honcho discussed the issue of the portrayal of women in comic book movies. There’s been a big public conversation as of late about female superheroes, why they’re not getting enough time on the big screen, and how they’ve been represented so far. Feige, though, thinks people shouldn’t be pointing fingers at Marvel.

The mega-producer, who’s married to a nurse and has a six year old daughter, says it’s an important issue and consideration for him. One that he doesn’t take lightly. “I don’t want to see misrepresented women in our movies. The majority of my bosses and my mentors have been women,” he says. “And on a personal level, my daughter is six years old now. She just lost her two front teeth, just like Scott Lang’s daughter Cassie in Ant-Man, and is beginning to learn what Daddy does and about the different types of heroes,” Feige added. “She has red hair and is constantly pointing at Black Widow and wanting to learn more about that. So it is incredibly personal and important to me.

Speaking of Black Widow, the studio and Joss Whedon came under fire after Avengers: Age of Ultron came out because of the way Scarlett Johansson’s character was portrayed. People didn’t likethat she considered herself “a monster” because she was unable to have children due to a forced hysterectomy, and there was dismay because of a comment in the film about how she’s flirted with various members of the team.

Feige, respectfully, disagrees. “In terms of essays written about Black Widow in Ultron, I think they’re all valid. Everybody’s opinions are valid,” the Marvel President says. However, he thinks that for bloggers “to suggest that female characters can’t have multiple dimensions is also ludicrous. That Black Widow went through a program in which she was forced to have her reproductive organs removed is probably a little upsetting to her. So that people would be upset that she’s upset – that’s a little strange,” Feige added.

He then points to Ultron‘s director, who has a longstanding reputation for being one of the most pro-feminist writer/directors. “And there’s no bigger advocate for women than Joss Whedon. To suggest he’s done anything to undermine that is ludicrous.

Feige also believes that Marvel’s track record speaks for itself. He thinks the studio’s films have always “gone for the powerful woman versus the damsel in distress.” He says, “If you go back to look at our movies – whether it’s Natalie Portman in the Thor films, Gwyneth Paltrow in Iron Man or Scarlett Johansson in The Avengers – our films have been full of smart, intelligent, powerful women.

The Marvel honcho then drew attention to the biggest evidence that the studio takes female superheroes seriously: “They haven’t been the title characters up till this point and that has changed now that we’ve announced Captain Marvel, in which the title character will be Carol Danvers.” Of course, that film is still three years away, so what can he point to as a more pressing example?

Well, there’s this weekend’s Ant-Man. Feige teases us with this quasi-SPOILERISH comment about what kind of heroine might pop up in Marvel’s latest film:

“There’s not going to be an Ant-Woman, but there is a Wasp. And if you stay through the credits of the movie, there’s a chance you’ll see something.”

What do you think out there? Have women been represented fairly in Marvel’s films so far? Do you think this vocal outcry for more female superheroes is just the latest “fad cause” that people have picked up for now and will soon forget about? Do you think DC’s Wonder Woman is going to end this conversation by being totally awesome?Or will Captain Marvel become the standard-bearer?

SOURCE: Straits Times

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.