Frank Bruni at the NY Times weighs in on the relative lack of female movie heroes, including specifically on how Wonder Woman is “slated to be an appendix to Superman and Batman” in the Man of Steel sequel:
For decades now a Wonder Woman movie has been chattered about, longed for, plotted, scuttled…. At this point it’s not so much an unrealized project as an ongoing taunt: a metaphor for the stubborn gender gap in the sorts of action-oriented blockbusters that rule the box office; proof that the more things change, the more they remain the same, at least in Hollywood, whose superficially progressive politics mask overwhelmingly conservative business instincts….
A string of prominent animated movies over the last few years — Brave, Tangled, Frozen — have showcased strong female characters, though their marketing, including their titles, sought to obscure how woman-centric they were….
“There’s this collective amnesia,” said Susan Cartsonis, a veteran producer. “Whenever a movie with a female icon at the center is successful, it’s a glorious fluke.”
It’s familiar ground for many of my readers, but this is an awfully loud voice saying it, and Bruni provides a solid roundup of many disturbing statistics. There are also some wonderfully plain-spoken quotes from producer Lynda Obst.
One of the early comments, as I write this (and from a female name), says, “Girls really don’t care about being superheroes. Or supervillains, either, in the action movie way. Hollywood goes where the audience money is: the teenaged boys.” Ha! Plenty of women do dream of being superheroes, and I hope “she” is able to capture her own dreams. I also wish Bruni had written this piece without leading with the caveat that he cared about the issue on behalf of his nieces and friends. It won’t truly be addressed until everyone can work for fairness and representation without having to attribute why they’re doing it.