I guess I was early to the party when I bemoaned the lack of superheroine movies and Thera Pitts was fashionably on time. Her editorial on Rope of Silicon has set the blogosphere on fire, prompting hundreds of comments on Jezebel alone ... and an incredibly short-sighted rant by Josh Tyler of Cinema Blend.

Guess what ladies? If you went to see Spider-Man or The Dark Knight, it was merely because there wasn't a romantic comedy for you to go see. Girls only like Julia Roberts movies and not "boy things" like superheroes. Tyler writes, "Wishing for more female superhero movies is kind of like longing for more Sex and the City knockoffs with all-male casts. It'll never work and it's not because of sexism or Hollywood bias or whatever rabble rousing labels you want to throw on it. It'll never work simply because men and women have different interests. There's a reason Wonder Woman is the only noteworthy solo female superhero anyone can name. It's because men like superheroes, men wish they could be superheroes, and it's men who see superhero movies and read superhero comic books." So, back to the kitchen and make those comic-book reading boys some pie, ladies. You like girl things, and Wolverine isn't a girl thing at all.

Continued after the jump...

Well, you're flat out wrong, Tyler. Browse through the Cinematical comments sometime, or visit Jezebel a few times a week. Whenever I write a Geek Beat, at least half the comments are from women. Every superhero casting announcement prompts dialogue from women. We care just as passionately about superheroes and sci-fi as men do. We have the same investment in the characters, the same dedication to continuity, and collections that could rival any man's. We don't follow this stuff to make dudes like us, or because Hugh Jackman is hot ... surprise surprise, it's because it's fun. The reason the girls probably didn't play Batman on your school's playground was that you didn't ask them, or made fun of them if they did. (Yeah, my childhood traumas are showing -- although in my case, the boys were cool with it, it was the teachers who sniggered that I was a proto-lesbian for liking "boy things.") Male or female, we all want to be superheroes, and we all enjoy a well-made film with larger than life characters. I don't care if it's Indiana Jones or Bruce Wayne, heroism appeals to us all.

Tyler doesn't think so, though, asserting that "catching bad guys is not a common female fantasy" which is probably news to not only women moviegoers, but those who chose to join police departments, the FBI, or even our armed forces. Women, it seems, only join the X-Men, the Rebel Alliance, or become Inspectors because the guys are really hot, not because they're actually interested in chasing down scum and villainy.

It's beyond frustrating to read an opinion like this in 2009. This is precisely the image of women that we've been fighting against for years, and something the writers here on Cinematical have spilled a lot of digital ink on. Choosing to make popular culture into gender culture is outdated, insulting, and the precise reason we get milquetoast versions of Elektra, fewer Ellen Ripleys, and more films of frothy fashion, drippy women, and bland romance.
categories Cinematical