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Yet another reason of why we love Regina, as if we needed one.. from FB:

 

 

The curse of cool: A short history of Abercrombie & Fitch

This quote- from an interesting article in the New Yorker about them not hiring a young Muslim woman wearing a hijab- sums up the exact opposite of what I think is cool...

"In 1992, Abercrombie was a hundred-year-old company known for its safari wear when a new C.E.O., Mike Jeffries, came in to update it. Jeffries had a vision, and it was not a broad one. As he told Salon in a 2006 interview, “In every school there are the cool and popular kids, and there are the not-so-cool kids. Candidly, we go after the cool kids. We go after the attractive, all-American kid with a great attitude and a lot of friends. A lot of people don’t belong [in our clothes] and they can’t belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely.”

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Below article from Daily Tarheel (a North Carolina paper).. Regina's song Hero is cited at the bottom... .(emphasis added)..


 


 


My dad took me to see “Spider-Man” the first week of its release in 2002. I walked out of the theater feeling a little dazed; my seven-year-old self had never seen that much action, apart from the minuscule amount in films like “Mulan” and “Hercules.” It was exciting, adventurous and seemed so real. I wanted to see the movie again, because it was that movie that made me decide I was a comic book film fan. 


More importantly, I was smitten with the idea of a normal person being an unlikely hero. This common theme has followed me throughout my life in many different facets, but culminates directly within my love of superhero movies. I like having someone to root for, so the unlikely hero is appealing to me. In recent years — coinciding directly with my developing feminist beliefs — it’s hard not to notice the way female superheroes are being presented: yes, they are heroes (though few in number), but it’s also stressed how unlikely these heroines are.


The most recent superhero to date was this summer’s early blockbuster, “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” As per tradition, my dad waited for me to get home from college so we could go see it together. I was struck by the portrayal of Black Widow, aka Natasha Romanoff, one of the (spoiler alert) two eventual female members of the Avengers. Admittedly, she was pretty hardcore, what with her lightning-fast motorcycle and her impressive wit. I was proud to see a woman hold her own among well-known male heroes, but Marvel didn’t exactly get it right. 


Towards the end of the film, due to the ongoing battle with Ultron, Natasha needed to be saved.


 

My eyes narrowed as the familiar Disney princess damsel-in-distress trope somehow snuck its way into a high-action hero movie. Just a few scenes prior, Black Widow was stealthy, smart and Samurai-like. Now, she was trapped, wounded and waiting for a man to come free her.


It wasn’t her fault, I knew. She just was written to continue to fill the shoes of an unlikely heroine.


So unlikely, in fact, that she needed a likely (male) hero to help finish the job. This instance wasn’t the only problematic one in the movie; Romanoff was extremely distracted by a budding romance in the film. And it's not that filmgoers mind a love connection every now and then — it just seemed like Natasha was the easiest character to use as an outlet for romance. Why? Because she is a woman.


Granted, Marvel and DC have made progressive moves over the years regarding women on comic book pages. However, both comic companies — through the films — have managed to always put women on the back seat. Sure, there have been advances; one that comes to mind is Emma Stone’s portrayal of Gwen Stacy in the now deceased “Amazing Spider-Man” franchise, who made her own choices, even if that meant sacrificing her relationship. It was her character that gave me a little hope that perhaps women in superhero films might be taken more seriously, or at least serve a bigger purpose than being the romantic foil to some hulky hero. It’s encouraging to see female heroes coming slowly to the forefront, but in the end, they’re still background players. 


So why hasn’t been a film strictly about a female superhero? Given the fact that Black Widow wasn’t featured on most of the Avengers merchandise, it seems like Marvel isn’t ready. Superhero film companies aren’t ready to put a woman front and center, but why? Are they worried the power of men will somehow be diminished? If anything, having equal representation is superhero films would only appeal to more audiences and reinforce the way the real world is beginning to operate. 


Quite frankly, long-time female fans are ready to see a woman storm the screen. Little girls need to know that, if they want, they can kick butt while wearing lipstick. These women don’t have to be hyper-sexualized or romanticized in order to be taken seriously by their male counterparts. They’re strong enough, whatever path they choose: lover, wife, hero, mother, working woman or all of the above.


Because it wasn’t wrong to see Natasha fall in love, but she shouldn’t have to consider giving up her life as a heroine if she wants the best of both worlds. Because, If anything, women of the real world have shown us that’s possible; Beyonce has shown us, Hillary Clinton has shown us and even some of our own mothers have shown us. Natasha could show us, too.


It’s time for these mega comic book empires to make a shift in their films: women aren’t unlikely heroines. Women, as a Regina Spektor song "Hero" declares, are the heroes of their own stories and they don’t need to be saved. 


BY EVANA BODIKER


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