Irrespective of having a role in a highly-anticipated comic book movie, Cara Delevingne was recently quite forthright with scorn aimed at the portrayal of women in super-movies, while managing to sidestep flinging shade on Suicide Squad, naturally.
In an interview with Empire Magazine (via Yahoo), Delevingne discussed sexist superheroine costume choices, and the validity of their significant lack of protection:
"Female superheroes are normally naked or in bikinis. No-one would be able to fight like that. Wonder Woman, how the hell does she fight? She would be dead in a minute."
I wonder what Diana Prince would have to say about that?
With Suicide Squad being Delevingne's biggest role to date, it comes as a surprise that she is so willing to trash talk her employers and one of DC's greatest heroes, yet reserve high praise for the movie she's starring in:
"There are only three girls in ['Suicide Squad’] but in my opinion they have the best roles. Generally though, superhero movies are totally sexist."
While it is a bold, brave and necessary move by a superstar to highlight the portrayal of women in entertainment, and the dissolving of the sexist trope of women being used primarily as foils for the male gaze/empathy by wearing next to nothing, Delevingne should have first consulted Suicide Squad's costume team before attacking the entire comic book movie industry:
How the hell does she fight in 5 inch heels and hot pants?
Women & The Comic Movie Industry
Let's put generalisms in the argument aside for a moment and discuss the validity of Delevingne's point, because it does raise an interesting discussion. For a start, the industry is very male centered, and this fact was highlighted with aplomb earlier in the year when this ridiculous email from Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter to Sony CEO Michael Lynton, regarding the profitability of female led super movies was leaked:
(H/T to Indiewire)
Considering Supergirl was released over 30 years ago, and Electra and Catwoman are just bad movies, you can't condemn women, whether straight or LGBTQI to a dearth of features with heroes they can relate to because of three films, as discussed by (Lord) Joss Whedon himself:
"It's a phenomenon in the industry that we call 'stupid people. There is genuine, recalcitrant, intractable sexism, and old-fashioned, quiet misogyny that goes on.
There's always an excuse. You hear 'Oh, [female superheroes] don't work because of these two bad ones [Catwoman and Elektra] that were made eight years ago."
What about the vast amount of male led super movies that bombed, like Green Lantern or Green Hornet? Anyone remember Ben Affleck's turn at Daredevil?
Though the character isn't a superhero, but is sold as a messiah of sorts, The Hunger Games' Katniss Everdeen's cinematic exploits resulted in Catching Fire and Mockingjay Part 1, of 2013 and '14's highest grossing movies. That's a female led franchise that did exceedingly well. And I haven't even touched upon Mad Max: Fury Road's Furiosa, or Guardians of the Galaxy's refreshingly terrific (IMHO) portrayal of women.
"Female superheroes are normally naked or in bikinis."
When discussing the comic book industry's representation of women, this is a precariously balanced viewpoint, because when addressing comic movies, which include Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, movies of the MCU, and Bryan Singer's X-Men, this is when things begin to get a little fuzzy.
The depiction and representation of women in comic books is an issue that has been heavily discussed for some time now, and for good reason. Having women in comics posing in anatomically impossible ways, with boobs and bums all over the place isn't conducive for a healthy relationship with the female readership.
In regard to Cara's comments, name me a super movie that has had naked women fighting a legion of extra-terrestrial invaders. How many porn parodies has she seen?! Though January Jones' portrayal of Emma Frost in Michael Vaughn's X-Men: First Class was a tad problematic.
With all the changes that have occurred, translating comic book heroes to the screen, and the attempt to ground them in reality, would she really roam around in a short skirt and bra?
Despite there being female role models such as Lara Croft, Gamora, Sarah Connor, Katniss Everdeen, Black Widow, and Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman's impending solo outings, to name a few, the industry needs to work harder at diversifying its stance on the representation of women.
Cara Delevingne, though generalized, raised interesting points and this is a practice that needs to continue. Women don't deserve to have their heroes utilized as sexual objects to sell copies or plot devices to spark an action in the male hero.
What do you think?
(Source: The Mary Sue, Indiewire, i09, Cinema Blend)