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The Marginalization of Women's Stories During The Summer Movie Season

Women and Hollywood By Melissa Silverstein | Women and Hollywood May 7, 2012 at 1:00PM

The summer movie season kicked off this weekend with gusto with the record breaking $200 million opening of The Avengers.   I joined the throngs on Friday afternoon for a showing and there was much excitement in the theatre.  Just to give you a sense of the excitement, when the credits rolled at the beginning, people clapped. 
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summer movie preview

The summer movie season kicked off this weekend with gusto with the record breaking $200 million opening of The Avengers.   I joined the throngs on Friday afternoon for a showing and there was much excitement in the theatre.  Just to give you a sense of the excitement, when the credits rolled at the beginning, people clapped. 

Now that I write about movies, I see a lot of movies at screenings and the one down side to that is that I never get to see previews.  I love previews.  I love trying to guess what movie the preview is of just as it starts.  I love getting excited for an upcoming movie I didn't expect to like.  I used to love this show on E! called Coming Attractions which was a weekly half-hour look at upcoming movies.  It was this film nerd's favorite show of the week.  But that feels like a lifetime ago before I really started thinking about how movies are so male dominated. 

Even though I write about gender and films, I am still a movie lover so as I sat back in my seat I was as excited for the previews as I was for the film.  The previews started rolling with The Dark Knight.  Damn that looked awesome.  Anne Hathaway will be a great Catwoman.  Then Battleship, which I could take or leave, but the friend who I was with had already seen it abroad and liked it.  So that could be a maybe.  Then the new Spider Man.  That looked really good too.  I'll see that one.  Then Paranorman.  Not for me.

Wedged in the previews was one for Brave.  It made my heart sing.  That movie looks so amazing.  But aside from the fact that it looks so good, seeing that preview and hearing the voice of Kelly MacDonald as the Princess Merida was shock inducing.  A girl's voice in a summer movie preview.  I never really thought before how rarely that happens.  It broke the cycle and made me again realize how important the stories of women and girls are especially when there is a mostly male captive audience. 

And all this was even before the movie began which I have to say was fun.  I didn't love it because it was way too long and the final battle sequence was endless.  And the fact that all the guys in the movie had superpowers and Black Widow's (Scarlett Johansson) superpower was the ability to get people to reveal secrets was pathetic.  She kicked a bit of ass, but her character was nowhere near as interesting as the male characters.  And I have to say that Mark Ruffalo was my favorite Avenger.

This article is related to: Box Office, Brave, Scarlett Johansson