The superhero world has been dominated by men for decades, but now slowly yet surely, this is changing. Patty Jenkin’s Wonder Woman is a perfect example of what these female-led films can do at the box office and even Doctor Who surprised everyone by debuting its first female doctor.
In a recent study by BBC America and Women’s Media Center on the impact of female heroes, it was revealed that the gender gap between men and women on-screen has a huge impact on the youth.
The study stated that teenage girls are less likely to call themselves confident to superhero or sci-fi film than their male counterparts. They were asked if they have seen enough powerful heroes of their own gender and 2/3 female participants denied.
Here’s what the study states:
“There’s something sort of elemental to sci-fi [and] fantasy, magic storytelling that just feels really resonant as girls and boys are forming their ideas of who they can be,” Sarah Barnett, the president of BBC America, told The Hollywood Reporter.
“I think ultimately the role of a superhero is an expression of power that is very important in shaping boys’ and girls’ ideas of who gets to inhabit the power situation and how. For us, it felt like the right space to explore for the study.”
The President of Women’s Media Center revealed that she was surprised to see the majority of men admitting that there is a disparity in representing the characters.
“It was really surprising, for me, the fact that boys as well as girls, teenage boys and girls, both recognized there are fewer opportunities for women and girls,” Julie Burton explained. “That’s at a young age, and that’s setting the track for their whole future of what they choose and what they think they can be. But the fact that boys were recognizing there’s a gender difference in opportunities is extremely powerful.”
However, we have a few female superhero films coming soon. MCU will be bringing Captain Marvel while DC is currently developing the sequel to Wonder Women and a female-led Birds of Prey starring Margot Robbie.