The image above was created from gathering all of the significant named characters from released Marvel Studios movies as documented on the Marvel Movies wikia.
It’s pretty sad. As you can see, only 22% of the characters are women and half of them are love interests. There are over twice as many supporting characters who are men than women (and none of them function as love interests like the women do.) 84% of the characters are white.
60% of the characters are white men, including all the main characters
77%of the characters are men
76% of the men are white
81% of the characters (both genders) are white
All of the women are white
Allof the characters of color are men
None of the characters are women of color
Out of all the films, Thor probably does the best in introducing diverse side characters. Natalie Portman and Kat Denning’s characters pass the Bechdel test within the first five minutes, and some of the Asgardians are played by people of color including Idris Elba’s Heimdall and Tabano Asano’s Hogun. Four white women characters are introduced instead of the other films’ average of one or two. But even then, there’s no question that the main characters of the film are Thor and his brother Loki.
Marvel is working off of decades of existing properties that for years solely focused on white men and a the demographic market of white men. So it makes sense that many of the films would have an abundance of white male characters. Beyond ratios, what doesn’t make sense is that even in the comics there is also an abundance of characters of color, etc. that they are ignoring or underutilizing. There are already five completed films where the titular character is a white man, with more to come. There are no films in the works where the titular character is a person of color or a woman.
Women made up at least 40% of the audience of The Avengers, yet only one out of the six Avengers–Black Widow–was a woman. Women also made up 40% of attendees at this year’s ComicCon. Why, given the scarcity of female heroic leads in the existing Marvel films, did Marvel choose to announce the addition of several more male characters but only one new female character?
Read the full article at Racebending.com: On Marvel, Mandarin, and Marginalization
Can I ask a quastion? I just checked the racial composition of the american population for comparison and that can (if I’m reading the table correctly) be summed up as: 72% white, 16% hispanic, 12% black, 5% asian, 6% somethin else (klingon, I suppose :P ) -> I know this sums up to more than 100%, I don’t know why, I’m confused as it is.
So, I don’t entirely see the issue with mainly white characters as most of the population are white people. I am aware of the gender-problem, apart from the fact that as a kid I never ever cared about the gender of my heroes, and I am aware that it sucks that all people of colour are support characters.
And concerning Thor: In the traditional nordic mythology Heimdall has the name of being “the whitest/brightest of all the gods”, so following that description in terms of colour-scheme alone, idris Elba is not the obvious choice. Going with the “bright” in terms of wisdom and cleverness, he’s pretty cool :) (luv’ him!)
apart from that: Explanation please? I’m interested in a discussion on the topic.
(Help, I’m opening a can of worms here XD)
I have a question back, then: why does it matter what the percentage is of people who comprise the US? People bring this up all the time as if it somehow should have a lot of bearing on whom we see in the media. Our brains do not sort out information like that. To simplify for example purposes: if black americans make up 13% of the population (US Census), and therefore 13% of media, and the media we do see usually relegates them to background roles (that was an important aspect of the above visual presentation), and on top of that usually to roles in which they are “bad people,” is everyone going to be able to watch said media for an average of several hours per day, and not be affected by it and subconsciously pick up on harmful stereotypes (and the idea of white as the default) just because “The US statistically has more white people”?? As a white person, would you really be negatively affected if you saw white people 40% of the time on tv, rather than 81%? You would still see people of your skin color doing things and comprising a larger number of roles than any POC group experiences now.
The US statistically has economic, social, and political inequity for POCs. Sure, media doesn’t have to care about this. But we should when we talk about what we want to see in media (which influences media, who care about what we watch, since it affects their money). These inequities should not be exacerbated by the media we ourselves feed with our viewing and money.
TV does not have to represent the statistical realities of America. That would be really boring- just look up what percentage of a day the average american sleeps, eats, and pees for. No one is asking for media to be 100% POC- people are hoping for a day when you don’t have to go through magazines with a magnifying glass to find the POC celebrities (and not white washed by photoshop, at that)- a day where you don’t have to stop your movie during a crowd scene in order to see some background POCs doing their thing. Identifying racial statistics as any sort of real measure of whether or not someone should be in a movie seems to imply that we can only identify with characters of our own race; otherwise, why would it really make a difference to the x% how often the saw themselves exactly? When white privilege is a real force in society, can’t we afford to not see ourselves quite as often as we do everywhere?
Assuming “non-Hispanic white” people make up 70% of the United States (they don’t) there is still this problem where 76% of the white people are men. That, and if we really wanted to be based on demographics, then at least half of the 11 films they have produced or officially announced would have women as the lead, and at least two films would have black and Latino titular leads respectively. Yet there are no black titular leads and no Latino characters at all. No Latino characters at all. So by those stands, it is still really problematic. (But the article says it is not advocating for forced quotas, so I don’t know why that is the first thing people jump to conclusions about.)