This is the kind of thing I’m talking about

December 2, 2011

So. Avengers.  I can’t wait.  We all know it.  Over the summer, a publicity poster was released:

(Click to make big.)  I love this poster, because it’s full of action and character.  It’s dynamic, it’s fun.  Also — Black Widow looks awesome.  She’s wearing sensible clothing, and she’s in the same action pose as Captain America.  She isn’t a “girl hero” here, she’s just one of the heroes.

Contrast to this, the newer poster recently released:

You know why I hate this one?  Which of these is not like the other?  The men have these manly 3/4 profile poses, looking very serious and ready for action.  Black Widow:  3/4 profile — from the back.  Here, everyone, look at my ass.  It’s what makes this cartoon so funny — because it’s true.  It happens.  It’s a little tiny thing.  But it’s important, because it happens over and over again and it tells us what Hollywood thinks women are here for, and it’s not being heroes.  Black Widow ought to be more than her ass, you know?  She’s an Avenger.

33 Responses to “This is the kind of thing I’m talking about”


  1. Yep, all the men have their far leg forward to include more shoulders and brawn, while Widow has her near leg forward adding more ass to the image.

  2. Geoff Says:

    I agree with you, but it does fit with the comic tradition. And it IS a nice ass.

  3. Debra Jess Says:

    I have the funny feeling that if they posed her like the men all we would see is her cleavage. Her top is cut rather low in the first poster, but you can’t see anything because of the way her body is turned. No win situation?

  4. carriev Says:

    I think people make choices, and those choices mean something. Having her face forward might have shown more cleavage, but it wouldn’t have made her look so *different* — and dare I say out of place — compared to the rest of them.

  5. carriev Says:

    Oh, and Geoff — I’d argue the first one fits tradition just as much. Part of my point is that maybe this is a tradition that needs *changed*.

  6. Rebecca Sparks Says:

    Have you seen Kevin Bolk’s reinterpretation of one of the new Avenger posters, based on this point? http://kevinbolk.deviantart.com/art/Avengers-Booty-Ass-emble-270937785?

  7. Geoff Says:

    I agree with you that it needs to be changed.
    It is a slow process, but it has been changing over the years of my reading comics. If you look at the early Batgirl comics, she went around with a purse over her shoulder. Invisible Woman used to be called Invisible Girl, even though she was an adult. As with everything, change takes time, and I see that it is happening. maybe not fast enough , but it is happening. Do you agree?

  8. carriev Says:

    Rebecca — I have now!

    Geoff — I think the first poster shows that yes, it is changing for the better. Which is part of why I was so disappointed when the second one came out.

  9. Geoff Says:

    Well, lets hope that the movie treats her as an equal.

  10. RevBob Says:

    While there is definite focus here on her ass, I would like to point out that this is just a terrible poster visually, thrown together by some hack. I mean at least you can still see her face. Captain America is traditionally the leader of the team-he’s the first one in the pix, and his face is obscured and he appears smaller than everyone else.
    Not saying there isn’t a need for change – just saying this crap poster isn’t the best evidence to base it on.

  11. devinise Says:

    I think the worst part is that her pose could have worked. Fury stands out because he’s facing a different direction than everyone else. Black Widow could have stood out because her back is to the viewer–like she has something to hide. If only her ass was covered so her pose was more mysterious and less cheesecakey.


  12. I so agree. Hollywood’s vision of women is the main reason why I refuse to watch Suckerpunch. Can women not be badass while being fully clothed?! Does showing copious amounts of skin somehow up their badassness powers?


  13. Thanks for including the first poster. I hadn’t seen that one yet, and it was a treat. Strong, dynamic, powerful images. That’s the Avengers movie I want to see.

    BTW, just finished _After the Golden Age_. Loved it.


  14. But…but…she can kick YOUR ass with her ass! 😀

  15. Dr. Nick Says:

    Other than the fact that Scarlett Johanson is a beautiful woman, since I was a kid, female comic book characters have been “perfect.” Their bodies were flawless. Even She-Hulk had the sexy curves, when female body-builders don’t look anything like that. Black Widow was always the type of person that could kill you with her bare hands and still look sexy doing it. By the way, I did read the “Black Widow” series.

  16. wygit Says:

    I remember snorting my coffee when I saw Jon Favreau’s tweet, while filming “Iron Man 2”:

    “Scarlett’s first day on set in the Black Widow outfit. You’ve never heard a crew get so quiet so fast.”

    I think it was on the next day that he tweeted:

    “Scarlett kicked ass yesterday. All of her preparation has really paid off. She has a great work ethic. A real pro.”

    Which was much more professional, but not nearly as funny.

    Where did you find the new poster? I haven’t seen one that hires anywhere. Thanks for sharing.

  17. C Says:

    Interesting points, but you also work from a double standard.
    In the poster, the men’s masculinity is emphasized, as is the one woman’s femininity.
    Some here speak as if they want the masculine aspects of a woman emphasized instead. The guys are “meat racks” just like the women, except the women don’t like being thought of in the same way.
    Are women trying to say they want to be guys? Is this a way of showing that you’re ashamed of being women???? What’s going on here???

  18. carriev Says:

    C — It’s not “masculine” v. “feminine.” It’s the way that they’re presented. The way whoever made the poster wants us to look at them.

    In the first poster, Black Widow is in an action pose — the same post as Captain America, even. She’s there because she’s powerful, she’s a hero, she’s capable, and so on. She’s still feminine — curvy, flowing red hair, etc. But also powerful.

    In the second, her pose is obviously different — and sexier. All the men are shown in powerful poses, and she’s in one that marks her as a sex symbol. Her standing to face the viewer would not make her any less feminine (as we’ve pointed out, they could have shown off her cleavage if they wanted to). But this pose — the one that emphasizes her ass over any other feature — marks her as different from her colleagues, when she shouldn’t be.

    It’s almost like she’s got her back turned to the fight that everyone else is facing. It’s stupid.

    (And thanks for the comments, everyone.)

  19. Ty Says:

    “Are women trying to say they want to be guys? Is this a way of showing that you’re ashamed of being women???? ”

    Wow, partner. Swing and a miss.

  20. Charlie Says:

    ‘Hollywood’s vision of women is the main reason why I refuse to watch Suckerpunch.’

    Sucker Punch looking absolutely terrible on every level is the reason why I refused to watch Sucker Punch

  21. David Bowles Says:

    The executives footing the bill for all this want maximum sex factor I’m sure in an attempt to pander to the target demographic.

  22. carriev Says:

    THE TARGET DEMOGRAPHIC IS GOING TO SEE THIS NO MATTER WHICH WAY BLACK WIDOW IS FACING IN THE PROMO POSTER.

    A-hem. That is, I’d argue that Black Widow’s ass is not the primary reason most people, including 18-24 year old males, are going to see this movie.

  23. wygit Says:

    Charile and Chrissy, if you haven’t seen Sucker Punch, how do you know it’s so terrible? The women ARE fully clothed.

    Surely a lot more clothed than the cgi’d six-pack ab enhanced men in “300”

    I thought both were just visually stunning, which is what they were intended to be.

  24. David Bowles Says:

    I agree with you, but you have to understand how executives and advertisers think.

    The whole comic genre has a lot of underlying sexism in my opinion. I mean, they are all drawn with giant breasts, etc. You’re telling me that there are not *any* normal-looking supers? It probably started as a way to sell comics, and now it is just *that way*.

    One of the reasons that X2 is my favorite superhero movie, is that it really showcased the female mutants in a realistic, enpowered way. That, and Magneto gets scenes of epic badass.

  25. Charlie Says:

    wygit – it look sterrible, every review I saw of it said it was terrible, and I hate Zack Snyder. No amount of visual stunnery can compensate for any of that.

  26. wygit Says:

    Charlie; That’s cool, tastes differ. You’re free to hat Zack Snyder all you want.

    David; On the “giant breasts” thing, interestingly enough, in Joss Whedon’s introduction to the comic “Fray” (about a future Slayer) he said his instructions to the artist, about the protagonist, were that she be “slight of build. (translation: small breasts)”.

    I always got a giggle from that.

  27. Doruk Says:

    I would like to have sexy AND kick-ass. Can we have that?

  28. Rebecca Sparks Says:

    “I agree with you, but you have to understand how executives and advertisers think.”

    We all know how Hollywood thinks–that men won’t watch a movie about women, but women will watch a movie about men. (You substitute any social hierarchy for white/people of color, able/disabled, etc.) Black Widow demoted from female hero to fighting f*** toy (to steal the expression from Jennifer Siebel Newsom).because even though there are 7 male heroes that they could identify with, they really need to make sure she was appealing to men to secure that elusive guy market.

    I understand that Hollywood (and comic books) are androcentric most of the time–but I don’t like it, and I don’t think that becoming less androcentric is going to cause the the total collapse of the market as we know it..

  29. Rebecca Sparks Says:

    er… other than my counting error, I stand by what I said…

  30. David Bowles Says:

    I understand that the male/female divide you talked about is well known. What I’m saying is that its not a director thing or even writer things as much as what the execs allow to be green lit. That’s my take on it.

  31. carriev Says:

    It’s not ever going to change if we don’t talk about it and point fingers at it and say that we don’t like it.


  32. […] example of one below, of the Avengers in heroic poses except for Scarlett’s ass shot, see here, here, and here for further discourse) and both involved the Hulk. (Not really spoilers, but this […]


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