- Riots break out after a fake email about coronavirus went viral Thursday 8:59 PM
- Bloomberg edits debate clip to make other Democratic candidates appear speechless Thursday 7:50 PM
- Dad claims YouTube refuses to remove video of daughter’s murder Thursday 6:36 PM
- Video of Kanye leaving Kim in elevator to carry all their bags has people cackling Thursday 6:19 PM
- Orlando Bloom’s tattoo misspelled son’s name because of Pinterest Thursday 5:35 PM
- The Ahi Challenge is the latest dance taking over TikTok Thursday 4:40 PM
- Show criticized for putting rape victim in blackface to protect her identity Thursday 3:42 PM
- Woman becomes viral sensation after iconic ‘Shallow’ subway video Thursday 2:48 PM
- Prettyboyfredo tried to gift a bullied teen some $30,000 Nikes at school—he got detained Thursday 2:13 PM
- ‘Vanderpump Rules’ recap: Wedding bells and blows Thursday 1:50 PM
- A 16-year-old made a ‘meme guide’ to help her dad understand online trends Thursday 1:46 PM
- UCLA drops plans to use facial recognition after student pushback Thursday 1:07 PM
- ‘Star Trek: Picard’ recap, episode 5: ‘Stardust City Rag’ Thursday 12:56 PM
- Roger Stone sentenced to 40 months in prison Thursday 12:45 PM
- New The 1975 music video is full of memes you’ll love Thursday 12:28 PM
Well, yes. Hollywood is sexist, and so are superhero movies, as Whedon went on to point out. “Marvel is in a position of making a statement simply by making [a female-led] movie, which I think would be a good thing to do. But it has to be a good movie, it has to be a good character, and most of the best characters in Marvel are owned by Fox, let’s face it!”
Although the interview was published this week, it actually took place months ago, on the set of Avengers: Age of Ultron. This was well before Marvel had announced Captain Marvel, its first female-led movie. Whedon’s remarks went viral as proof of his status as a feminist filmmaker, although on Thursday he admitted to BuzzFeed, “I sounded very harsh.”
Speaking with BuzzFeed, he clarified that he was more optimistic in the light of the Captain Marvel movie, which he thinks may have been spurred on by the success of Guardians of the Galaxy. “Well, let’s put it this way,” he said. “If a raccoon can carry a movie, then they believe maybe even a woman can.” He went on to highlight Lucy and The Hunger Games as proof that female-led action films can succeed at the box office.
Fans have been criticizing the sexism of comic book movies for years, if not decades. However, Joss Whedon is the highest-profile example of someone who makes this kind of comment while working in the superhero movie industry itself. As such, he’s often praised for being a bastion of feminism, which is honestly kind of sad.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer was groundbreaking, but its heyday was in the late ’90s. If you look at what Whedon is working on at the moment, it’s virtually indistinguishable from the movies he’s criticizing. Isn’t it a little embarrassing for the director of The Avengers to complain about the lack of representation for women in the superhero genre? We’re talking about a film where men outnumber women at least five to one, and where the only female characters were young, beautiful, and white.
Whedon may have given Black Widow and Maria Hill decent roles in Avengers, but the movie still failed the Bechdel Test, while making time for crowds of male footsoldiers and sidekicks. As for Age of Ultron, some fans are already concerned that Scarlet Witch is destined to become yet another of Whedon’s troubled-but-dangerous waifs, a staple of all his creative endeavors to date.
To a certain extent, the male-dominated nature of The Avengers can be blamed on studio interference. At the time, Whedon said that he only managed to get a female character on the team only after he told Marvel the Helicarrier would “feel like a gay cruise” with all those dudes on board. Still, it seems a tad hypocritical for him to strike out against the genre as a whole.
Instead of praising Joss Whedon for the millionth time, it may be a better idea to focus on women in the industry, such as comic book creators Kelly Sue DeConnick and Gail Simone, or the female showrunners of Marvel’s Agent Carter and A.K.A. Jessica Jones. If fans continue to hold up Joss Whedon as the voice of authority for feminism and diversity in superhero entertainment, then we’re not setting a very high standard for ourselves.
Photo via Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia (CC BY SA 2.0)
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw is a staff writer at the Daily Dot, covering geek culture and fandom. Specializing in sci-fi movies and superheroes, she also appears as a film and TV critic on BBC radio. Elsewhere, she co-hosts the pop culture podcast Overinvested. Follow her on Twitter: @Hello_Tailor