Black Widow Movie Versus WW1984: Which One is a Female Empowerment Movie…

Black Widow Movie Versus WW1984: Which One is a Female Empowerment Movie…

I’m not gonna lie, WW1984 pissed me off, really bad. Literally, I was angry after watching the movie. Very disappointed was an understatement…

So when Black Widow Movie came out, I just couldn’t take another heartbreak. After giving Black Widow movie a chance, I soon realized this Movie was the female empowerment movie I wanted WW1984 to be… if you haven’t watched both movies, don’t keep reading Spoiler Alert.

So where did DC get it all wrong and Marvel get it right?

Two HUGE Points:
(1)Being a Feminist Icon
(2)Showing Sisterhood

Being a Feminist Icon
DC got this wrong. At her heart Wonder Woman was created to be a feminist icon, this isn’t just my observation, it is literally what she was intended to be, in fact, some of the lore surrounding her say that Amazonians should never be in bondage to men. So when Wonder Woman is constantly crying over the loss of Steve Trevor in WW1984, it broke her feminist backbone. Her archetype was split in two—she became a “Damsel in Distress” with a knife.
Yes, I said it, WW1984 was a “Damsel in Distress” with a knife! Did I mention, I was so irritated and angry? This is not the Wonder Woman I wanted to be when I was a kid! Would Superman be shown in this manner over losing Lois Lane? Seriously… this weak-willed woman was not my icon and I found myself screaming at the movie in utter dissatisfaction.

I get it…

DC has this thing where it explores and exposes the inner weaknesses of superheroes (almost to the point of making them anti-heroes) but this version of Wonder Woman took away her very reason for being… Do we really want another strong female diminishing herself to be with a man?
Not what I want in my female superhero…

And, in WW1984 she was borderline unheroic when she knew she made the mistake of bringing Steve back from the dead but her insistence and unwillingness to fix her mistake.

Yup, that’s me rolling my eyes…

Marvel got this right. Natasha’s Black Widow character is strong in her own right, there’s a mild love interest who supports her and we think about what the relationship “could be” but Black Widow is the centerpiece of the narrative who fights patriarchy and frees the other Black Widows who are human trafficked.
Black Widow did show a little unheroic behavior when she did what “needed to be done” by blowing up Dreykov's daughter. It’s quite clear that she is definitely conflicted about her decision and feels guilt that the girl survived all of that…but in the end makes up for it. Natasha heals that wound, ultimately making her heroic. She literally is at the very heart and center of saving her “sisters.”

This leads me to the point about Sisterhood…

Showing Sisterhood

Marvel got this right. I love the interaction between Black Widow and her baby sister. The first time we see the pair, they have a knock down, drag out, who will win and who will die fight. I found myself swooning. Underneath all of that fighting, you could tell they were bonded and would do anything for each other.
And then, Black Widow has the scene where she knows the other widows have no control of themselves and she fights them to survive and only will hurt them, if she has to… They almost overpower her but in the end, she sees them all freed from the tyranny of human trafficking. These are her warrior sisters and they respect her for who she is and what she has done. There’s a part of me that almost wants her character to leave the Avengers and go become the leader of the Widows.

DC got this wrong. So I know that Wonder Woman and Cheetah have always had a rivalry, however, in this version—Wonder Woman appears to be anti-sisterhood. In fact, in the “secret identity” relationship, Diana Prince is pretty unkind to Barbara Minerva. Again, she’s unheroic and doesn’t show sisterhood with the character. I almost agreed with Barbara’s decision to become Cheetah.

And, what we see is a lonely Wonder Woman, pining over the loss of a man (not her sisters) and fighting what “could’ve been” a sister. In fact, that rivalry was of her own making. There was a complete loss of sisterhood (and yes, I saw the mall where she saves a girl but that was loss in all the subtext). In the end, even Lynda Carter’s cameo appearance at the end couldn’t save the complete loss of sisterhood. All very problematic and well, tragic.

In the end, Marvel got it right and DC got it wrong. Black Widow was the female empowerment movie and WW1984 was not. Take a look at my 10 reasons why I believe Black Widow is awesomeness…

Any thoughts on this? I’d love to hear them.

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Alicia McCalla photo credit Dr. Howard McCalla

I’m author Alicia McCalla. Sign-up for my newsletter to get updates, learn about my latest projects and purchase my badass, spunky and smart Black heroines on Merchandise!