First, if you’ve read All Things Geek in the past? Thank you. You know I report from the intersection of Pop Culture Fandoms and Political Inclusion. As I tell my children “We (black folks) wear our politics, we must define our own narratives, and tell our own stories, or, we will forever be defined by others.”
Representation matters. Black Heroes Matter. Women Matter. Everything is political, yes, even comic books. If anyone tells you differently, that person has an agenda that’s bad for your health.
In America, you sit at the table, or you’re on the menu.
A few years ago, I was frustrated by the lackluster live-action offerings by Warner Bros. of my beloved childhood heroes and disheartened by the lack of diversity or representation in this golden age of Comic Book Movies.
I thought, “Wonder Woman can shatter Hollywoods Superheroine glass ceiling.
I was inspired by Dr. King’s impassioned plea for affirmative, positive and immediate action to ratify the Civil Rights Amendment, in his famous speech, The Fierce Urgency of Now –
We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there “is” such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and postive action.
-Martin Luther King Jr.
That April, 2014 I made the case for a Wonder Woman film titled “The Fierce Urgency of Wonder Woman
My point being, as I stated then,
“There remains a counter intuitive bias toward female featured and lead movies. How can I make this claim? Do you really think the men who run Hollywood didn’t know the numbers of the films they produce before this study? It’s what they do. They only invest in tent pole male action and superhero films.
Seeing women be successful in big blockbuster films hasn’t broken through Hollywood sexism to this day. Women are valued less than men, and in turn, their stories are valued less. That is why on the cusp of the new Batman vs.Superman movie, Wonder Woman is the heroine we need NOW!”
Needless to say, this went over like a lead balloon at the time with a large, vocal group of white fanboys who are the self appointed gate-keepers of all Fandoms.
As it turns out, Patty Jensen’s “Wonder Woman” garnered universal critical acclaim from fans and critics here’s my Wonder Woman review to date has grossed over $821 million worldwide, making it the tenth highest-grossing film of 2017. Wonder Woman not only saved the floundering DCEU. It pushed Warner Bros. answer to Marvel’s MCU past $3 billion at the worldwide box office, making it the fourteenth-highest-grossing film franchise of all time.
Most importantly, it gave me the opportunity to take this picture –
From my review-
I love it even more that I witnessed my daughter, in gauntlets, headdress & cape, pantomime the action on screen in total rapturous delight through the theater lobby at the film’s end. She informed me in no uncertain terms her fondest desire is to emigrate to Themysciara. “You and William can visit me and Mommy, but you can’t stay.”
I lambasted Marvel in my article for not having ONE Woman lead a feature –
“in this era of the billion dollar superhero franchises, it’s due to old habits and fears that plague Hollywood and greater American society. In a country that opposes equal pay for equal work and political machines flush with cash to interfere with women’s reproductive rights, devaluing of women and girls is a by-product, it’s one of the most fundamental problems today. Ironically, this makes it the perfect time for Warmer Bros and DC Comics to take an affirmative stand all while making a profit. Marvel’s famous “phases” incredibly has no plans on a big screen female vehicle.
Well, Marvel, better late than never, has Captain Marvel. And, like in the DCEU it takes a woman to save the day. Captain Marvel turns out, is unknowingly Nick Fury’s Hail Mary play to save half the life in the universe.
I feel that we still have a long way to go for female led super hero franchises, but I’m hopeful today because there is a lot of money left on the table if media companies don’t cater to a wider variety of consumers. Look at Black Panther. I pitched for that franchise too. Here’s “Remember When We Were Sidekicks?-Black Panther and Comic Book Politics”
Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther is the highest grossing super hero film of all time in North America. An unprecedented coup for a film with an all black cast and predominantly black and female crew.
Cigarette companies figured out 60 years ago. “Get em’ young, you’ve got a customer for life”. Well, Diversity doesn’t cause cancer, but it can be habit forming. Once you know better, there is no excuse not to do better.
Representing more of your customers pays off. Expanding your fan bases pays off financially in the short term and arguably socially in the long run. Impressionable little girls seeing powerful women as heroes and role models makes them feel like they can be powerful too.
Empowered girls tend to grow into empowered women, hopefully, have empowered kids. Not only that. Boys or gender non-specific kids see powerful women will influence how they view women as they mature. Wanna “smash the patriarchy?” Make it ok for women to be seen having agency, being powerful and in charge.
In this paper –Gendered Media: The Influence of Media on Views of Gender by Julia T. Wood she points to media as one of the most powerful influences of how children see themselves and others. –
Of the many influences on how we view men and
women, media are the most pervasive and one of the most
powerful. Woven throughout our daily lives, media
insinuate their messages into our consciousness at every
turn. All forms of media communicate images of the sexes,
many of which perpetuate unrealistic, stereotypical, and
limiting perceptions. Three themes describe how media
represent gender. First, women are underrepresented which
falsely implies that men are the cultural standard and
women are unimportant or invisible. Second, men and
women are portrayed in stereotypical ways that reflect and
sustain socially endorsed views of gender. Third, depictions
of relationships between men and women emphasize
traditional roles and normalize violence against women.
The gender binary of the article aside, because society is run by those who self identify as “White Males”. They are the “default humans” primarily because of the stories they tell themselves.
As I said before,”define your own narratives, tell our own stories, or, forever be defined by others.”
I feel strongly in efforts to address the needs of girls, particularly the most vulnerable among us.
To that end, Los Angeles based non-profit Girls Inc., activist Frederick Joseph, and philanthropic organization We Have Stories have teamed up to launch a GoFundMe to raise money to send girls to see “Captain Marvel” in theaters.
Below is the campaign description from the GoFundMe page: “Everyone should have an opportunity to see women in roles they can aspire to one day be, roles that show women as strong, smart and bold. From a teacher to a fighter pilot—or a superhero. This is an opportunity to continue to empower girls to be just that. Marvel Studios’ first female led film, “Captain Marvel” offers this type of important representation. We want to help girls from various backgrounds have the opportunity to see the film by providing tickets and renting out theaters.”
This campaign was inspired by a tweet from “Captain Marvel” star Brie Larson, which used the hashtag “#captainmarvelchallenge,” inspired by a similar “#blackpantherchallenge” campaign last year which purchased theatrical screenings of Black Panther for kids, eventually raising $1 million worldwide for the effort, which Joseph also ran.
— Brie Larson (@brielarson) September 20, 2018
● Captain Marvel is Marvel Studio’s first woman led film
● She will be the most powerful superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
● The story adds new components to open doors for the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe
● Unlike many female characters, her story doesn’t rely on romance and other typical woman character arcs
● There are multiple female characters in the film that enforce diversity of women in race, careers, and talents
● The film is co-directed and scored by women
● The film releases on International Woman’s Day during Women’s History Month
We Have Stories would love your help in providing these young women from Girls Inc. LA with an opportunity to have a film experience with many elements that are female led.
About Girls Inc. of Greater Los Angeles:
Girls Inc. of Greater Los Angeles serves girls in Title I schools in South Los Angeles, Watts and Compton. Many Girls Inc. participants are considered “at risk” through no fault of their own, due to circumstances such as family poverty, gang surroundings and even homelessness. Still, girl-based challenges affect all young girls regardless of income, ethnicity, or education.Girls Inc. of Greater Los Angeles provides hundreds of girls with life-changing support and real solutions to the unique issues they face.
Any additional funds raised outside of hosting the experience will go towards the non-profits Girls Inc. LA and We Have Stories to support programmatic efforts. Girls Inc. LA has a major growth initiative to expand services by reaching 2,000 new girls by 2020. We Have Stories continues its commitment to provide funding to underrepresented and marginalized storytellers and content creators.
-$13.00 per child ticket
-$13.00 refreshments per child
-$17.00 per chaperone ticket
*All organization donations and movie/refreshment purchase receipts will be sent to campaign donors after the campaign is finished.*
About We Have Stories:
We Have Stories is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides financial grants for resources and support to storytellers and content creators from diverse communities to help increase positive representation of these groups in media. At We Have Stories we believe that empathy is a powerful tool that can be used to create a less divisive and more equitable world for everyone.
Contact We Have Stories at: [email protected], Twitter @WHSorg, Instagram @WHSorg, Facebook: wehavestoriesorg
To learn more about Marvel’s GoFundme for “Captain Marvel,” visit the project’s website here.
Photo credit- Girls Inc. of Greater Los Angeles / Marvel