DC’s Film Universe has decidedly branched out from one expects from a superhero franchise. It takes pride in being different in ways and this has worked to mixed effects. Things are changing soon with the release of their next film, Wonder Woman. Set to hit theaters on June 2nd the films follows the story of Diana Price of Themyscira as she is introduced to the rest of the world through Steve Trevor. Diana is one of the single most popular superheroes of all time for good reason, but in recent memory, Wonder Woman will be the first film to have a female be the lead of a superhero film.
The MCU and the DCEU have incorporated female heroes before and in ways, it’s a sign of a great step forward for equality between men and women, but things haven’t been perfect. Everything isn’t solved and female-led projects in superhero fiction are an incredibly important sign of change. More so than it appears at first glance.
Females, in general, are often portrayed negatively in media and in real life. Strict Gender Roles have been designated in Western culture. Men are meant to be seen as the heroes. The ones who get things done and the women are often there to support these men. In fiction, this has been a common trope, but in reality, women is a lot more than just that. Female representation is incredibly important. Women don’t fit into a box of being domesticated and they shouldn’t feel like they are second to the men in their lives. Most people believe in equality between genders, but art has been stagnant in some areas with giving women a proper voice in the lead roles. A female in the lead role of a major superhero film is way more important than it may appear to those that don’t notice the lack of proper representation.
Strict Gender Roles are pushed upon society and having a female icon and role model to a child can shape the rest of her life. It can make her not be afraid to stand up for who she is and for what she believes. A symbol of good, smart, and strong is a powerful image to send to a child. With women being designated to side roles it can make girls feel like they have to submit to the wills of their male counterparts when they can and should know they can be way more than just that. In addition to a positive effect on children those who feel lost and those that are hurting can really see these women and become inspired. Inspiration, especially with these fictional characters, is an incredible tool.
Comics have been looked at unfairly as a boys club. The idea that men are the main readers of these characters and this can’t be further from the truth. With shifting ideologies about superheroes comes a strong and loyal female fan base that enjoy the films, comics or both. Women make up a huge percentage of superhero fans and their presence so desperately needs to be recognized. Women will see superhero films and they have been. Whether or not a woman being at the center of the film, it does not mean that the film will somehow fail like some people certainly believe. It could make the film a much bigger success than some expect it to be.
It’s important to mention that the MCU has yet to have a female superhero lead a Film. While female heroes certainly exist in that Universe it is surprising that one has not led one of the major films. They have done well with two shows, Jessica Jones and Agent Carter but the films have been sparse on such grounds. In addition to the MCU, DC didn’t have a female led film besides the terrible Catwoman, but the series Supergirl has been taking up that mantle on their end. With this in mind, my view is that things can and should be handled better.
Having series based on these amazing female heroes is welcomed, but the wide release nature of major films can do so much for women. The idea of representation pushes for more social changes. A more normalization of women in positions of power so that certain men who despise this or value old ways can’t be so fearful of it. Normalization and representation can have long-lasting positive effects on our future as a society. There’s nothing negative to come from this only positive and the fear to explore this positivity is keeping this genre from reaching its ultimate potential.
The ramifications of Wonder Woman can be immense. If this film turns out as big a success as expected it could turn the old-fashioned focus on male superhero films away and give rise to more women leading these roles. Superheroes are meant to lift up, inspire, and bring people together. They also are meant to share equality and unity with more diversity in their heroes it can do a better job at reflecting the changing times and carry on those iconic and important principles to new generations of people all across the world. There still is a lot of backlash of this ideology of equality even in the comic book superhero fandom where gender diversity should be universally accepted. This pushback is ridiculous and it should not scare off films from dipping their toes into giving women more of a shot to lead as heroes in the near future.
So what do you think? Who do you feel deserves their own films? Let us know in the comments!
Wonder Woman hits theaters on June 2, 2017.