flawless casts // the avengers
Please forgive this rant. But it’s the first thing I thought of, and I wanted to share-
I love the Avengers. I LOVE it.
But I also believe that if women don’t make up 50% of your fictional universe, you should have to explain why. If your visibility of PoC makes up less than 30% of your fictional universe, you should have to explain why (I chose 30% based on US census info, which doesn’t count people very well, actually, so please forgive me). Maybe there is a good reason. Maybe it’s a reason that helps the storytelling, or increases the validity of the Universe. In which case, the lack of diversity should be explained in the storytelling itself. (Y the Last Man comes to mind. I also read a really interesting review of Dishonored that makes the point that the game world hates women and treats them like crap, but the gameplay tries to get you to confront that and be not okay with it.)
Don’t get me wrong, you can still make very watchable, fun stuff if your cast is, say, 25% female and 8% PoC (Avengers), and it’s worth noting that 25% and 8% are really, really good for a Hollywood Blockbuster movie, but isn’t that kinda sad in itself? (I immediately thought of Thor, actually, which seemed to feature a lot of women, but then I went to their imdb page, and it turns out there are only 4 in the top 14 members billed. I actually was gonna do top ten billing, but that cuts out Jamie Alexander and Rene Russo, so 14. That’s 29%. And 14% PoC in top 14 billing.)
So what’s your explanation Marvel? Are there fewer PoC/women in your universe? Or are they just less visible? If so, why?
Reasons that aren’t acceptable-
There aren’t enough good female/PoC characters in Marvel Comics. (Explain why, again. Even though I don’t really buy it, cause Marvel has a lot of great women, and some absolutely stunning PoC.)
There aren’t enough good female/PoC actors to play all our awesome diverse roles, so we cut ‘em. (Oh, shut up.)
It’s totally the norm and is just accepted that way. (Sigh.)
Our primary market is white men, and we are giving them what they want. (Yeah, my husband would hate seeing Kerry Washington headline a movie about Storm. That would suck.) *EDIT- Seth has a thing for Kerry Washington, which is why I mentioned her, but he is correcting me, because he would much rather see her play Celia Reyes. *EDIT- He would also be okay with her playing Jean Grey. *EDIT- or Polaris. *EDIT- She-Hulk. *Okay, it was a mistake to ask him, he clearly just wants to look at Kerry Washington, but I think my point is made.
I think this kinda goes hand-in-hand with this post that I’ve seen floating around recently that says something along the lines of- acknowledge the fact that some of the things that you love are problematic. Don’t try to explain it away. (I know that’s not exactly what it says but I can’t find it right now.) So love the Avengers. Love Marvel. Expect more from them. Expect more from everyone. If everyone expects everyone to try harder, they eventually will. They are in the business to make money. Your money. So tell them what will get it, and together, at least in this one tiny arena, we will make a difference. Eventually. Not, like tomorrow. Don’t expect that. It’s unrealistic. But a nice thought.
On the other hand…
Dear Marvel- thanks for Tom Hiddleston. And Clark Gregg. Props for that. Seriously. You get no credit for Idris Elba, because Thor is at least 10th down on his list of best/most notable, and because this whole post is very, very, subjective so I get to give credit to The Wire for making him a household name, not Marvel.