female superhero movies made by men

Why a Female Superhero Movie Won’t Matter

The World, or at least a good portion of the Internet, seems to be calling for a female driven superhero movie. Breakout characters like Black Widow, Maria Hill, and the success of the Hunger Game series have proven that audiences respond to strong female characters. So it makes natural sense to bring a female comic book character to life with her own movie.  There’s no denying that audience are ready, and have been for a long time, but I do wonder if the creators of these movies are ready. To start with I made a table of directors and writers of superhero movies divided by their gender.

Table of comic book movies directors and writers broken down by gender.
Table of comic book movies directors and writers broken down by gender.

To break it down, out of the 61 comic book adaptations I sampled only 1 was directed by a woman; the 90’s “Tank Girl”. Of the 119 writing credits a mere 8 are attributed to females. And within those 8 credits Leslie Newman owns 3 and Jane Goldman 2. It should also be mentioned that both Leslie Newman and Janet Scott Batchler wrote the screenplays with their husbands. And it’s sadly questionable if Hollywood would have ever hired them if it weren’t for their male counterparts.

This table also illuminates a 15 year gap between 1995’s “Tank Girl” and 2010’s “Kick-Ass” where no women were hired to work on comic book adaptations. Remember how “progressive” we felt sometimes in the past decade? I don’t care that Black Widow was given reasonable screen time or that Thor was made into a women in the comic. The fact remains that inequality exists behind the camera, even if the screen is telling us something different.

It’s as if we’ve forgotten that movies are fantasies. And we believe that if the World we want to live in exists on screen then it must be real. I don’t really care if my daughter watches comic book movies and believes that she can be a superhero because she see’s characters of her gender. I would much rather her grow up believing she can create these characters and bring them to life. I want her to be able to have any job she wants. It’s great that we have more opportunities for females to relate to fictional people, but that’s an issue that would naturally be solved by allowing women to be a bigger part of the creative process.

Everyone is asking Marvel and DC to release a female superhero movie, but I think we need to divert that energy into demanding a female created superhero movie. The same is true for comics right now. DC and Marvel have been winning great press for their progressive use of women and multicolored heroes, but their staffs are still primarily of a certain persuasion.

I think it’s fantastic that there’s a real movement to get a female driven superhero movie made, and I feel that the time is soon. I just want people to remember what really matters. That we be superheros in our own World, and fight for equality and justice and peace.


BleedingCool hosts a column “Gendercrunching” which illuminates the disparity within the comic industry and partly inspired this article.


* I sampled 61 of the most well known comic book adaptations, but did leave some off. I tried to include every female credit I could find. Including the entire canon of superhero movies would have only further illustrated the lack of female writers.

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