Joss Whedon has been sticking up for women in Hollywood since the very beginning of his career, and hats off sir. Whedon has been entertaining us (and occasionally breaking our hearts) with his powerful female characters ever since the Buffy the Vampire Slayer days. He is also responsible for creating some of our favorite lady characters with Firefly and Dollhouse, and we can’t wait to see Scarlett Johansson kick more booty in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Along the path of this powerhouse career he’s also been dropping some serious feminist wisdom, and carving out a narrative for women in Hollywood that is next-level crucial.
One of Whedon’s interviews, in particular, on the topic got a lot of attention. Before Marvel and DC Comics decided to (finally!) cast female lead roles in their upcoming films (Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel, respectively), Whedon took a stand for women everywhere when he talked about — put bluntly — the stupidity of Hollywood’s lack of casting female leads. In an interview he did with Digital Spy last summer, Whedon stated that there was a “genuine, recalcitrant, intractable sexism, and old-fashioned quiet misogyny that goes on.” Shortly after this interview, Marvel and DC indeed stepped up their bad-ass lady game; but Whedon hasn’t backed down from his original sentiment.
Whedon a few days back talked with Buzzfeed about the uproar that his Digital Spy interview created, “I just thought, I sounded very harsh,” he said. “and then [Marvel announced], ‘We’re going to make Captain Marvel. We’re going to make Black Panther. We’re going to shake it up.’ I was just like, great! Now I just sound mean and bitter. But, you know, there’s a lot to be mean and bitter about.”
While Whedon was excited about the progress being made, he retains his duh attitude towards the film industry that seems to just now realize that women can not only be superheroes, but lead roles. He actually credits Guardians of the Galaxy with this industry revelation: “If a raccoon can carry a movie, then they believe maybe even a woman can.” BRB printing that quote on a t-shirt.
These Joss Whedon truth bombs are nothing new. After winning an Equality Now award in 2006, Whedon dropped more serious truthyness: “Equality is like gravity. We need it to stand on this earth as men and women.” And he gave some dude advice for guys about what it means to be a true feminist, telling Vulture in 2014,
“A guy who goes around saying ‘I’m a feminist’ usually has an agenda that is not feminist. A guy who behaves like one, who actually becomes involved in the movement, generally speaking, you can trust that. And it doesn’t just apply to the action that is activist. It applies to the way they treat the women they work with and they live with and they see on the street.”
All this is just to give Joss Whedon some props. Keep walking the walk and, yes, keep talking the talk.
Oh and before we go, just a moment to reflect on perhaps the best Joss Whedon quote ever. In his aforementioned Equality Now speech Whedon perfectly summed up his motivations. To the question why do you keep writing strong women he replied: “Because you are still asking me the question.” Preach.