Black Widow has been a fan fave throughout the Avengers and Ironman films. But the character is taking on a greater cultural significance in teh hands of writer/director Joss Whedon.
Joss Whedon is already known for taking strong female characters and building worlds around them, letting them stand, falter, learn, and fail is amplified versions of how people live in real life. He did it with Buffy Summers as a vampire slayer. He added Eliza Dushku's character of Faith to show more facets of that. He continued building strong females, even in a male-centered show like Angel. He built another entire show around Dushku with Dollhouse. And he has Black Widow to continue that tradition.
“I’m always looking for pain, because pain usually contains truth and humor,” Joss Whedon said. As for Black Widow, “Her character is to me the most fascinating, because she’s defined by it in a way that she generally doesn’t show, and when she gets to, it’s very affecting. … I think we went deeper with her than with anybody else.”
I'd pay to see a Black Widow film before Antman, Black Panther, or another Hulk. I crave seeing complete whole female characters #GenderBias
— Daniel Emery Taylor (@DEmeryTaylor) April 26, 2015
Actress Scarlett Johansson sees her role as Black widow as more than just some fill-in bit in a throwaway action flick.
“For so long, female superheroes have been mistreated, and I think women’s roles in general are often oversimplified and generic and saccharine,” Johansson said. “I’ve finally been able to be a part of creating this character that is really multifaceted, and it’s fallen into what is generally a kind of male-dominated genre."
Black Widow controversy is a product of limited female superhero representation. She has to be all things to all people. Fans get protective
— Caroline Siede (@CarolineSiede) May 5, 2015
Not that it hasn't been a tough road. Even in this day and age, and with Joss Whedon and Johansson batting for her, Black Widow is often omitted from marketing materials about the Avengers team.
But Scarlett Johansson also believes that the fact that people are noticing the missing Black Widow is a good sign.
“I see it as a vestigial remnant of this kind of sexist sort of mindset,” Johansson said. “It’s certainly nice that people are noticing and talking about it, whereas before it would just kind of be like, ‘Well, you know, it’s long pajamas and they’re for boys, so of course it’s all the guys on them.’ It’s a conversation that people are having — ‘Where’s all the girls? We want more. We want to see females in this genre who are not the stick in the mud or the damsel in distress or the girlfriend waiting by the window. We want to see characters who reflect the environment that we’re a part of.’”
Yeah she's treated badly because she's like the best non powered female in the game, poor black widow 🙁
— Loïc G. (@lilkay06) May 6, 2015