Are Superhero Movies and TV Shows Sexist?

So recently in an interview with Empire Magazine Suicide Squad’s Cara Delevingne said that superhero movies are totally sexist and that “Female superheroes are normally naked or in bikinis. No one would be able to fight like that. Wonder Woman, how the hell does she fight? She would be dead in a minute.” Let me say it before going deeper into this I’m actually a Feminist and I support equality around different media and support women empowerment, but what is Cara Delevingne talking about!? If anything comic book movies along with the TV Shows are doing a great job with female characters, while there may no be a female led superhero movie yet, female characters play an important role in both TV and movies, let’s not forget that Black Widow was basically another protagonist in Captain America: Winter Soldier.

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The superheroine Delevingne calls out during her interview is Wonder Woman saying, and while Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman might have one of the most revealing outfits of a superheroine, to me it doesn’t look like it’s meant to be provoking neither does it look trashy, to me Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman costume looks like something an amazon would wear.

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X-Men’s Mystique might be the only heroine that comes close to what Delevinge was talking about. But Mystique’s change wasn’t just because Brian Singer wanted a half naked woman in his movies, Singer decided to make Mystique’s power more reptilian like, with the scales on Mystique’s body allowing her to shapeshift and while Rebecca Romjin spent most of her run as Mystique just covered in scales Jennifer Lawrence spends most of the time “in human form”. And with Fox’s other superhero property, despite the mix reception of the Fantastic Four outfits, I think the Fantastic Four reboot has done an okay job with the outfits, and while they’re not astonishing they don’t look cartoony.

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What about the 3 girls in the Suicide Squad movie? The one who might be showing more out of the group is actually Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, but her outfit doesn’t objectify her, if anything I praise whoever decided to come up with Harley’s look due to the fact that he or she restrained from giving Harley the cleavages she wears in most of her current incarnations or the extremely small outfits she uses in either her original New 52 outfit, her main outfit in Injustice: Gods Among Us or her Justice League Gods and Monsters look.

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What about Marvel? Perhaps the sexiest outfits Marvel has decided to give its female characters are leather or tight suits, but nothing to provoking or trashy, I don’t recall Gamora, Natasha, Lady Sif, Peggy Carter or Wanda fighting around in bikinis or naked. Marvel has done a fantastic job translating comic book looking outfits to the big screen giving it the perfect mix of fantasy and realism.

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And finally what about TV? TV is probably the best place for female characters in superhero properties:

  • Agent May and Skye are arguably the best things about Agents of SHIELD and Bobbi Morse became a fan favorite almost instantly.
  • Sara Lance was a fantastic introduction in Arrow Season 2, Laurel and Thea were finally redeemed in Arrow Season 3.
  • Hawkgirl joining the Flarrowverse in Legends of Tomorrow and now reportedly being considered for her own TV Show.
  • Caitlin and Iris becoming strong characters towards the end of Flash Season 1.
  • Agent Carter winning fans over in her short 8 episodes season.
  • iZombie becoming the underdog hit of this season and becoming one of the strongest comic book TV shows currently airing.
  • Carol evolving into one of the strongest survivors in The Walking Dead.
  • Supergirl despite having a dividing trailer had a stronger pilot than Flash and Arrow in my opinion, and the pilot being filled with female empowerment.

So I’ll end up saying that as a feminist guy I’m proud with how female characters are currently being portrayed in superhero movies and especially in TV shows, I completely disagree with Cara Delevigne’s statement, and encourage whoever reads this, be it just a fan of superhero movies or an aspiring writer, aspiring filmmaker or an aspiring comic book creator to encourage, support and continue the positive representation female characters are currently having in the media.

Do you agree with Cara Delevigne’s statement? What do you think can be done to improve female characters? Who is your favorite superheroine in a movies or TV? Who do you want to see make a jump into movies? Comment below.

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2 comments

  1. Ambrosia · July 1, 2015

    I completely agree with Cara. Women are grossly underrepresented in superhero movies and comics. It sucks. It really does. For young boys and men, you have all these superheroes, aspiring to greatness and altruism. For girls and women, there is so much less. Hardly anything. And most of the time, they are hypersexualized or their power is just watered down or like with Black Widow, we get the Smurfette principle. Cara is right and she’s damn hot.

    • robzarco92 · July 1, 2015

      I would agree that they are hypersexualized in the comics but not on TV or Movies, and while females are being underrepresented on movies so far, they are being amazingly portrayed on TV (with great female characters in the Lance Sisters and Nyssa Al’Ghul, Skye, Agent May, Bobbie Morse, Peegy Carter, Liv Moore, Carol in TWD, Supergirl). I would love more female led superhero movies, and I’m extremely dissappointed Captain Marvel was delayed because of Spider-Man. I think that in the movies Black Widow has become a strong presence, having a big arc on Avengers 1, sharing the lead with Cap America in Winter Soldier and having some pretty good character development in Age of Ultron, but it is the Marketing and Merchandising that has done a horrible job with Black Widow, Scarlett Witch and Gamora.

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