How Feminist are DC and Marvel?


Kahleia Corpuz

DC and Marvel are making movies that focus on gender equality and female independence. However, their portrayals of women have continued to be flawed.

Emma Thurgood, Reporter

First, let’s talk about what feminism actually means. It’s not “man-hating,” nor is it trying to make men lesser than women. It’s simply asking that men and women be equal, and it’s no secret that DC and Marvel are creating movies to have a greater emphasis on gender equality and female independence. But is it actually doing more harm than good?

For starters, there are behaviors that women have exhibited in movies, that if a man did, would be considered ‘toxic masculinity,’ but get away with by calling it feminism. This occurs in Wonder Woman 84 when Diana Prince didn’t want to give up Steve Trevor to save people (not to say that Wonder Woman isn’t an amazing movie and even better role model for young girls). Valkyrie in Thor: Ragnarok drinks alcohol and sells Thor into the Contest of Champions, also showing extreme behavior.

Another problem is the way women are portrayed in these movies. In the 2020 film, Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey was marketed and created to be a female empowering movie; it left a few things to be desired. The biggest problem was Harley’s separation from the Joker.

Anyone who follows DC would be aware of the Joker’s and Harley’s toxic and abusive relationship. Harley is constantly beaten and berated and abandoned by the Joker, but her twisted sense of love always brings her back to him, no matter what he does. One of her biggest arcs, if not her single biggest, was her realizing that this was unhealthy and that she needed to leave him. Harley Quinn coming to this realization was in big part to Poison Ivy (not shown in the movie). In the comics, and even in the HBOmax original show Harley Quinn, she has a lot of trouble with this. She leaves him, only to go back to the Joker time and time again. So when the movie starts out with her already being separated from the Joker, and their absence of Poison Ivy, it leaves fans familiar with the story already missing a key point of the character.

Birds of Prey completely scrapped one of Harley’s biggest transitions simply for the act of making her start off already being independent. This is not only discordant with the way Harley Quinn was portrayed in the previous movie, Suicide Squad, but it’s also unrealistic and disrespectful to the process of leaving abusive relationships that millions of woman have had to go through.

Also, when big companies like this replace male superheroes with female counterparts, that isn’t feminism. Planned movies such as Ironheart taking over for Ironman, and Shuri becoming Black Panther, are logical because Ironman died on-screen in Endgame and Chadwick Boseman, who played T’Challa in Black Panther, sadly passed away in real life. However, it becomes a problem when replacing Chris Hemsworth’s Thor with The Mighty Thor which shows Natalie Portman playing a female God of Thunder and She-hulk replacing Hulk. Movies like this aren’t necessary and are more than likely created just to capitalize on a feminist trend going through social media. And not only that, but male superheroes shouldn’t be scrapped altogether.

As a female, I’m all for gender equality, when it’s done well. But these corporations aren’t actually helping anyone. They’re simply replacing males with females without acknowledging the problems behind it, nor the very real differences between men and women. Profiting from social issues and reversing inequality isn’t a solution.