Living as we now do, in a world where the Marvel Cinematic Universe is about as successful as any franchise has ever been, it's easy to forget that less than a decade ago, many fans and commentators were openly doubting whether anyone would give a damn about it. After all, they said, Marvel only had B-List superheroes like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America to work with, and only D-listers like Hawkeye and Black Widow to back them up. How could they possibly compete with DC's Batman and Superman, and Fox's Spider-Man and Wolverine?
And then, this happened:
And everyone suddenly realized that Iron Man wasn't a B-Lister - he was just a less obvious kind of megastar.
And then all of his friends showed up too, and together they blew a whole bunch of box office records into tiny pieces.
And suddenly, even the previously 'uncool' likes of Captain America, Thor and Hawkeye were on every kind of merchandising you could imagine, with little kids around the world fighting to play as them in the playground.
And Black Widow?
Well, if you go by the merchandising, she didn't really take off - either due to fans not really clicking with the hero, or Scarlett Johansson's performance not really selling the part.
Except, of course, that isn't what actually happened...
Everyone loved Black Widow. I mean, how could we not? She's... awesome:
If You Walk Around a Toy Store, or Look at Marvel's Upcoming Slate, There's Hardly Any Black Widow to Be Found
Which, seeing as she sometimes seems to be half of Marvel fandom's favorite Avengers, is a little... odd.
Ever since her introduction to the MCU back in Iron Man 2, Black Widow has been given a whole lot of the franchise's greatest action sequences and most quotable lines, and, crucially, a genuinely engaging character arc.
And yet, if you head to the superhero aisle in your average toy store:
Which - for a whole lot of reasons, not least the inherent sexism tied up in her absence - is clearly a massive problem.
Fans are Coming Up With Some Incredible Ways to Fight the Problem
Specifically, they're taking to the streets - and going viral - in exactly the sort of incredibly badass way that would make Natasha proud.
Black Widow Fans Have Launched an International Flashmob Campaign
And it's freaking awesome.
As US Blogger Kristin Rielly, who launched the campaign, put it:
“Black Widow is an important female superheroine in the Marvel universe, and she deserves to be more than just a love interest at this point...She is a trained assassin with an incredible background story, turning from Russian espionage to joining the Avengers and saving the world. She should have her own movie and merchandise and Marvel should be proud at the opportunity to develop a character that girls can look up to. Unfortunately, even with all the Hulk-smashing internet outrage, it seems that Marvel and Disney are still not listening. So I’ve taken it upon myself to do something about it.”
And that something, as it turns out, was #WeWantWidow:
Which, along with a whole lot of social media action, involved a flash mob spread over 16 U.S., Australian and Canadian cities:
Which was predictably awesome:
And got a whole lot of people talking:
Because, once again, of the inherent awesomeness of not only standing up for something important, but of doing it in as geekily badass a way as humanly possible:
The bottom line, though?
The fans have spoken - and this isn't the first time, nor will it be the last. There's a huge audience for Black Widow themed stuff, not because 'people just want to buy things,' but because fans want to buy things that represent what they love, and not what they're told to love by toy companies - especially when that involves the lack of proper representation of a female character. What's more, for little kids (of both genders) in particular, the implicit suggestion that 'only boys can be heroes' is incredibly damaging, and spectacularly wrong.
Similarly, fans don't only want to see a Black Widow movie because it'd be awesome - though it almost certainly would - but also because one Captain Marvel movie (exciting as the prospect is) does not a balanced cinematic representation of female heroes make. Half of the world's population is being horrendously under-served when it comes to heroes that represent their gender, and the entire planet is missing out on a whole lot of awesome, inspirational heroes as a result.
What do you think, though?
via The Guardian