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  •  Something that has been driving me nuts (14+ / 0-)

    is how all, and I do mean ALL, the reviews for Scarlett Johansson's portrayal of the Black Widow in the recent Captain America movie talk about her sexiness, her slinking about in black leather, and how sultry she is.  Never mind that she isn't Cap's love interest (she spends the entire film trying to get up dates for him with other women), she doesn't wear black leather (she wears either a SHIELD duty uniform or civilian clothing that's form-fitting but nothing out of the ordinary), and that the only time she comes close to being "sultry" is when she says "hey, sailor" to a terrorist long enough to put him off balance - and then she knocks him cold.

    It's as if the reviewers (virtually all of them male) are so programmed to see a female character as the sexy vixen that they're incapable of seeing beyond that.  Johansson gives a beautifully modulated, ultimately very vulnerable performance as a spy who has to reconstruct her entire life and reason for existence, but you'd never know that from the reviews.

    It's also notable that the male reviewers completely missed the fact that there are no, repeat, NO, "male gaze" shots of any female character in the movie.  There are, however, several shots of Chris Evans' shoulders and chest, and one bare-chested shot of Sebastian Stan, that amply qualify as FEMALE gaze shots.  

    Of course no one mentioned those....

    This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

    by Ellid on Mon May 26, 2014 at 07:34:47 AM PDT

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    •  Black Widow should be the next Marvel hit. (11+ / 0-)

      Talking with a friend today and both of us are a bit pissed that Black Widow seems to be used only as a foil for the hulky guys and not on her own merits.

      We want a Black Widow movie and I betcha a lot of women out there would agree with us. Enough of these 'tough' dudes, how about a real woman for a change?

      Marvel would make great inroads into the female viewer contingent with such a flick. And, with the very real possibility of our next President being female, it behooves Marvel to get with the plan!


      •  A lot of men would agree too. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LSophia, RiveroftheWest, k9disc

        Would also like to see a Mystique movie.  How many Wolverine movies have we had now?

        Rooting for Democrats!!!

        by SquirmyRooter on Mon May 26, 2014 at 10:38:58 AM PDT

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      •  Speaking of Avengers, Diana Rigg as Emma Peel (5+ / 0-)

        Certainly pleasant to look at - but you didn't have any doubts about her competence, intelligence or determination. My understanding was that Diana Rigg in person was quite matter of fact about her appearance in real life, making no big deal about it.

        I remember just a glimpse of one the early black and white episodes where she ended up in some kind of harem outfit, and at one point as she is exiting a room, reaches around in back and gives her harem panties a tug higher. It was a nice visual editorial on the outfit.

        My sister started laughing hysterically when she caught that.

        "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

        by xaxnar on Mon May 26, 2014 at 11:06:05 AM PDT

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        •  Rigg Often Wore A Fetishy Dog Collar (0+ / 0-)

          I had a big crush on her, but her fighting skills looked more some of seizure than a specific martial art.

          Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

          by bernardpliers on Mon May 26, 2014 at 01:04:15 PM PDT

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          •  Often? I thought it was only the one episode (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            xaxnar, RiveroftheWest

            Where her get up in turn inspired the entire "Hellfire Club" story arc in the X-Men comics in the 1980's.

            This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

            by Ellid on Mon May 26, 2014 at 02:34:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It wasn't about Diana Rigg... (0+ / 0-)

              It's been well-documented that the Hellfire Club and the X-Men event Inferno were, in fact, inspired by Chris Claremonth's BDSM sexuality.

              FYI...if you Google/Bing/Yahoo search for Hellfire Club and Inferno, be forewarned the results will most likely be NSFW.

              Hellfire Club is a very famous/infamous BDSM club based in Chicago (and remember that the debut of Kitty Pryde and Emma Frost in her BDSM outfit also took place in Chicago). No coincidence there.

              Inferno is the Hellfire Club's yearly get-together/carnival of BDSM activities.

              Also, the notorious Uncanny X-Men arc where Storm got a mohawk and started wearing black leather bondage gear? The whole look was "inspired" by Claremont's favorite African-American BDSM dominatrix. (Which you can also search online, too.)

        •  Diana Rigg was was not a crush in spite of her (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          intelligence.  She was a crush because her beauty and brains (not to mention the toughness of her character) made her a unique and irresistable package.

          She was Steed's partner, not his sidekick, and there is something very attractive about that.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Tue May 27, 2014 at 09:37:15 AM PDT

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      •  Really really agree with you. (7+ / 0-)

        Thinking back to seeing the first Avengers movie on opening night, that first scene in which Black Widow was tied up and being tortured.  My wife, in the most bitter tone I have ever heard from her, said aloud, "Really, Joss?  Really?"  

        It appeared at first that the scene was being set up to feature one of the male Avengers coming in to save her.  Of course, it turned out to be a typical Whedon misdirection and Black Widow was actually in control of the entire situation, as you would expect her to be.  The moment that this became clear, there was a collective sigh of relief from every female in the theater, along with half of the males.

        I suppose we have Joss Whedon to thank for Black Widow not being reduced to a plot device or love interest.  But let's take the next step.  She is every bit as interesting as the male Avengers who had had their own movies.  There really needs to be a Black Widow movie.  Let Joss direct it, or hell, maybe even an actual female director.

        Rooting for Democrats!!!

        by SquirmyRooter on Mon May 26, 2014 at 11:14:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Black Widow was perhaps the most important (6+ / 0-)

          character in the whole movie - she brings in the Hulk, she beats the crap out of the Russian gangsters, she turns the tables on Loki, deprograms Barton, and closes the portal - yet NONE of the major reviews said anything about her performance, or her importance to the story.  NONE.  

          Even worse, a lot of the neckbearded fanboys who populate on-line message boards not only refuse to acknowledge this, they insist that Black Widow is completely unnecessary to the franchise and that Johansson should be ditched because she's pregnant.  "She'll have to look after her baby, so she can't make any more of the movies," more than one has whined - yet not a single word from any of them about how Chris Hemsworth, Robert Downey Jr., and Jeremy Renner, all of whom have young children, will be too busy to film.

          It's appalling.

          This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

          by Ellid on Mon May 26, 2014 at 02:38:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  also (6+ / 0-)

            In the "put down the scepter" scene, when the alarm goes off, everyone else in the room looks over at the computer sounding the alarm - Black Widow is the only person in the room staying attentive to the person she's identified as the potential threat.  Everyone else gets immediately distracted.

            She was great. Want more.  

            •  I didn't notice that (4+ / 0-)

              But you're absolutely right, Natasha's the only one who isn't distracted.

              I think she and Cap are the two who are the best at reading another person, her because she's a trained spy and psychological manipulator, him because he's a natural leader who's had to make snap judgments (think of the way that he immediately trusts Natasha's call on Clint Barton, and the way he shows no fear of Bruce Banner).  No wonder those two make such a great team in the current movie.

              This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

              by Ellid on Mon May 26, 2014 at 07:13:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  I definitely want to see a Black Widow movie (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest, andalusi

        I'd also love to see a Captain Marvel movie.  Carol Danvers would be spectacular.

        This isn't freedom. This is fear - Captain America

        by Ellid on Mon May 26, 2014 at 02:34:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'd love a Monica Rambeau movie (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Though she's not Captain Marvel anymore (Spectrum, I think?).

          The new Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel would be great, too.

          Honestly, Marvel should just give all three Ms./Captain Marvel characters their own movie.

        •  Marvel Studios isn't gonna make a female-led film (0+ / 0-)

          At least, not until Warner Brothers spins off Gal Gadot's WW after Justice League. They're going to sit on their hands and wait & see if a successful WW film can be made--preferably one that can sell millions of action figures, toy vehicles, video games and other crap.

          In the interest of fairness, all the major studios are guilty of giving female-led action pics short shrift. As a gay man living and working in Hollywood, I know all too well how sexist, homophobic and racist this business can be.

          And I think it only drives the point further home when you read about how Marvel Studios would "like" to make Black Panther, but are even gun-shy about doing that. This is why all their solo films so far are nothing but white, heterosexual male leads.

          Fans love to trot out Aliens and Buffy The Vampire Slayer as examples that audiences will support female-led action pics. But Aliens was 1 film 28 years ago and Buffy was on the WB (now the CW) and was never a monster ratings smash. The reality is, it is insanely difficult to make a successful female-led actioner.

          Most of the time, female actioners are a very small niche in the overwhelmingly white male-dominated entertainment industry. And when white straight males do try to produce female action shows, you get awful results like the disastrous Adrienne Palicki "Wonder Woman" pilot that was widely panned by everybody.

          Meanwhile, even successful openly gay male writers like Allan Heinberg can't write a Wonder Woman TV pilot that networks are comfortable with and willing to greenlight.

          Can a successful female-led action pic as big as anything featuring Tom Cruise or Liam Neeson be made? Yes. The problem is, you have to persuade writers and directors who can write well for women to make them and then persuade Hollywood studios to finance and market them.

          Cheesy, low-budget schlockfests like "Ultraviolet" or the "Resident Evil" films aside, female actioners that are huge hits at the box office are few and far between. (And no, Angelina Jolie can't be expected to re-purpose herself into an action star when she is aiming to write & direct more serious Oscar fare like "In The Land Of Blood And Honey.")

          •  I wouldn't be so sure (0+ / 0-)

            The Agent Carter miniseries may not be the same as a feature film, but my hunch is that iMarvel is testing the waters for a potential female superhero film lead.  They took another small step in Iron Man 3 where Pepper Potts not only isn't saved by Stark, she saves him (and proves she is just as capable of using Iron Man armor).

            I think it'll still be a while, but not that Marvel's going to just sit and wait to see how a Wonder Woman movie fares.

    •  um (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stude Dude, Gay CA Democrat
      Chris Evans' shoulders and chest, and one bare-chested shot of Sebastian Stan
      also qualify as male gaze shots.

      just sayin

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Tue May 27, 2014 at 07:02:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  i did go to your link (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gay CA Democrat

        and saw that the "male gaze" is defined as heterosexual

        i happen to think that is outdated, and maybe was never true

        so long as there have been male bodies on display there have been men looking at them

        Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
        Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

        by TrueBlueMajority on Tue May 27, 2014 at 07:04:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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