As any year-old would do, I laughed it off. But growing up where I did — Staten Island, New York — I was acutely aware that this girl may never have had a black friend before.
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It just felt so strange and awkward that someone was so obsessed with my hair. The only people who cared up until that point were my mom and my hairdresser. If the back of my hair was starting to feel like Brillo, that usually meant it was time for mom to make another hair appointment, since I used to get my hair chemically relaxed back then.
I was way too obliging when I was a kid. Some are more curly, some are more like coils, and mine is dense and coarse. Last year, I took my son to get a haircut.
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All of the hairstylists there were Eastern European white women, and most of the other kids there were white. As the stylist ran her hands through his curls, I could feel her eyes on my hair. I braced myself for what I knew was coming next. She was curious, but I could also see she was also a little embarrassed.
She was cool about it — behaving equally like a hair professional and a person feeling something new for the first time. Of the five Marvel films announced for to , three are heavily focused on women.
Portman is taking over the Mighty Thor mantle from Chris Hemsworth for the fourth instalment in the series while Johansson, who has been playing Black Widow and second - or sixth - fiddle in The Avengers and beyond since , is finally getting her own movie. Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek, meanwhile, will head the cast of new superhero franchise The Eternals. It's quite the sea change and, on the face of it, could smack of box-ticking. But it's not quite as simple as that.
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If female representation is to mean anything it has to happen not just aesthetically by parading A-list stars on the big screen, but organically across the industry from writers to directors, producers, cinematographers and beyond. The stories told need to be representative of the female experience. New to Independent.
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Create an account. Marvel has gone some way to addressing this issue. Captain Marvel, for example, the first female-led superhero film in the MCU, was written and directed by a woman and man team, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck while Geneva Robertson-Dworet also has a writing credit on the film.
It was a long time coming. Boden was the first female director of a Marvel movie, and the film is only the second, after Guardians of the Galaxy , to credit female screenwriters.
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Although Marvel would argue that Captain Marvel was already in development when rival DC released Wonder Woman, that film, released in the summer of , was a game-changer. With Israeli actress Gal Gadot in the title role, it certainly ticked a box or two on the representation list. However, it also boasted a female director in Patty Jenkins and the screenplay was written by Allen Heinberg, a writer with female-centric TV series like Party of Five, Sex and the City, and Gilmore Girls among his credits.
Wonder Woman set the bar, but Captain Marvel, released in the months after the MeToo movement kicked off, arguably benefitted from both Wonder Woman's success and capturing the zeitgeist in the summer of One of the reasons why it has taken so long to see female superheroes carrying movies harks back to the notion that female-led films don't sell.
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Among the leaked Sony emails in was one from Marvel Entertainment CEO Isaac Perlmutter in which he said the film Elektra was "a very bad idea", Catwoman released the previous year was a "disaster" and Supergirl from all the way back in was "another disaster", suggesting female-led films were box office suicide.
However, it could be argued that the women were not the issue with those films. No actor, male or female, can make an abysmal script work we're looking at you, Ben Affleck in Daredevil. Money talks, and the box office success of Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel and Black Panther, carrying the flag for diversity has paved the way for more and the move is welcome.
But what does this mean for female-led films beyond the superhero genre? Of course we want young women and men to see Gal Gadot kicking ass just like Superman, and representation within the superhero genre is essential and welcome.
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However, there is a wider issue.