With the release of “Iron Man 2” in 2010, Natasha Romanoff, a former KGB spy turned SHIELD agent, made her debut. Romanoff went undercover as an employee of Stark Industries whom Tony Stark objects to after his first on-screen appearance, claiming, “I want one.” Then, driven by his lust, he converts her into his personal assistant, pitting her against Pepper Potts, his main love interest. This film began the long tradition of sexualizing Natasha Romanoff, played by none other than Oscar-nominated actress Scarlett Johansson, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU, as well as the exploitation cycle that Disney continues to impose. to its actresses.
After “Black Widow” ultimately debuted in 2021, Johansson filed a lawsuit against disney for violating the terms of his contract. The deal clearly defined an exclusive theatrical premiere before the film was made available on the company’s streaming service, Disney+. However, upon the film’s release, Disney+ allowed fans to purchase streaming access to the film for $30. This film streaming option allowed large groups of fans to watch the film with a single purchase, while each individual had to buy a ticket when going to the cinema.
There is also the problem of Black Widow merchandising, or better yet, lack thereof. When the MCU movies started hitting the big screen, stores were full of Captain America and Iron Man merchandise, but the show’s first female Avenger was nowhere to be found. While the official Disney store now offers a variety of Black Widow merchandise, you can see that most of it was created as a result of the superhero’s solo movie. However, until recently, there were no Black Widow Halloween costumes or toys. There were no action figures, pajamas, or replica nerf guns made in his honor. There wasn’t even a Barbie Black Widow — which would arguably be more suited to girls watching Marvel movies than a Captain America doll — made in her image.
So not only was Johansson sexualized, especially in one particular case stage where she gets naked in “Iron Man 2”, she didn’t even have the opportunity to make money from the merchandise because it just didn’t exist.
It’s sad to think that Hollywood’s patriarchal structures simply didn’t care about women’s stories until recently. After the #MeToo movement, we’ve seen a significant increase in women both behind the scenes and taking control of their on-screen roles.. Until the women made it clear that they wouldn’t let the men abuse their power, the men were happy to continue pretending it never happened. We just watched Issac Mizrahi gropes Scalett Johansson at the Golden Globes in 2009or to watch Natalie Portman being used and abused for years, until these women finally decided that enough was enough. It’s these fearless women who paved the way for a movie like ‘Black Widow’ directed by a woman, although written exclusively by men.
Against all odds, Johansson — and other women in Hollywood — have managed to create a space where MCU heroines can have a say in what their character wears. Elizabeth Olsen, who plays the Scarlet Witch, says she had an entrance when the costume designers were creating her final battle costume in “WandaVision”. Olsen Says She Was Upset About Her Old ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Costume which exposed a lot of cleavageand wanted to make sure her costume could actually work for her character.
Fortunately, she won this lawsuit, and in a big way. For all she’s done for women, inside and outside of the MCU, Johansson’s share of Disney’s wealth is well-deserved and learns she understood After all these years, it feels like sweet, sweet justice. Congratulations, Scarlett Johansson — we know you made Natasha proud.