Marvel executive vice president of production Victoria Alonso has detailed the studio’s efforts to stop objectifying women. Alonso spoke about Marvel’s treatment of female stars in a recent interview with Time.
Marvel doesn’t have an outstanding track record on how it treats female stars, often sidelining them as eye candy or a love-interest for the main characters. The studio has improved its efforts in recent years, introducing more female superheroes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Black Widow, a character that has been an active part of the MCU for years, finally got her own standalone project this year. Captain Marvel also got their own solo feature, with another film reportedly on the way.
While the studio still has a long way to go, it is clearly making efforts to increase the visibility of women on the big screen. Alonso spoke with Time about the shift, and the long-held prejudices of Hollywood.
“Women’s stories don’t sell”
Alonso spoke about how it has always been a struggle to get women in leading roles in Hollywood stating: “There was always a myth that women’s stories don’t sell. That superheroes can’t be women. We had to demystify a bunch of these myths that were very much a part of what Hollywood was all about."
This myth has been disproven in recent years following the success of several female-led movies. Captain Marvel, which had an estimated budget of $175 million, grossed over £1.1 billion at the box office.
DC’s Wonder Woman cost the studio around $200 million to produce and grossed over $800 million in total. It’s clear to see that audiences are engaged with female leads. Regardless of what Hollywood’s predominantly male management likes to think.
First female director
Marvel also hired its first solo female director for Black Widow, hanging over the reins to Cate Shortland. The director was pretty honest about the character’s original creation: “She was a character created for the male gaze. Initially, even the way she moved, the way she dressed—it was helpful as a stepping-stone. But it wasn’t who she was.”