Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes – from the Incredible Hulk to the half-inch Ant Man. Yet, when it comes to female superheroes – we’ve had very few options.
The long-awaited first female-led superhero film in the Marvel Franchise, Captain Marvel, was released in UK cinemas on International Women’s Day. On the opening weekend it smashed all records for the biggest debut of the year with a mighty $455 million globally – the sixth best start for a movie of all time!
Despite this huge progress, it’s no secret that superhero stories are known for their male-centric nature with female characters making up only 30.9% of the DC universes and 30.6% of the Marvel universe*. Considering we live in a world in which 51% of the population are female, this isn’t representative.
A recent study by the Battle of The Super Sexes showed that 91% of superhero screen time is dominated by male characters, with men featuring on screen for an average of almost 13 minutes compared to 4 minutes for women.
The good news is that change is happening. Over the past few years, there has been a significant increase in female representation in superhero movies. Black Panther was a revelation – it included the highest amount of named female characters to men (16 vs 10).
“We are in the golden age of superhero movies. No race and no sex should be excluded from that"
It’s important for young people – especially young girls and women – to see themselves reflected in the media they consume. A study showed that 85% of girls 10-19 want to see more women as superheroes. Even images of female heroes can be powerful and can make girls feel strong, brave and inspired (BBC America and The Women’s Media Centre).
“We are determined to have more heads of departments that are female and we are determined to have more balance in our characters so that everyone could be represented. We’re going to put every single ounce of what we have to make sure that they’re as good as they need to be, so every little girl out there can feel represented.” Victoria Alonso, Avengers Architect.
Brie Larson is a new kind of female hero as she campaigns for more diversity in the press pool. As for Captain Marvel, her power comes from her persistence. Its no wonder so many women see themselves in her.
We are in the golden age of superhero movies. No race and no sex should be excluded from that. Between the success of Black Panther, Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel, female-led superhero films are here to stay.