Diversity both in front and behind the camera has been a hot topic, and while there’s been an explosion of opinion pieces and reports of blatant unfairness, this is still something that needs to be addressed.
There have been news stories about studios beginning to provide opportunities for more diverse directors and writers. It’s great that there are discussions, but some of us are getting antsy. Let’s greenlight this stuff already!
To date, the only female director that had comic book movie released was Lexi Alexander who helmed ‘Punisher: War Zone’ in 2008. The movie wasn’t much of a success, but it did develop a cult following that includes ‘Arrow’ showrunner Andrew Kreisberg, who hired her to direct the most recent episode “Beyond Redemption”.
So why does Alexander think female directors aren’t being approached for comic book movies? It’s the same reason for most other industries— the utterly unnecessary pressure for women to prove themselves.
In an interview with ‘Vulture’ she stated,
“I think in industries riddled with bias, you tend to hire women only if their previous work is very masculine, which is hilarious given that this is not how male directors are chosen. I am pretty sure when Kenneth Branagh came up for ‘Thor’, nobody at Marvel thought: “Yes, that Kenneth Branagh is masculine enough to do action, just look at ‘Henry V’ and ‘The Magic Flute’”. Don’t get me wrong I’m a huge Branagh fan, I’m just trying to demonstrate how ridiculous it is that women have to be ‘one of the boys’ to get in on the superhero business, whereas male directors don’t have to have any proof on their résumé that they can deliver hardcore action. “
In the ‘Vulture’ interview, Alexander is very forthright in making Hollywood accountable for this bias. Before she became a filmmaker, Alexander was a World Karate and Kickboxing champion and trained with the Marines—areas typically identified with being masculine. However, she explains that she was more taken aback by the sexism in Hollywood.
“It saddens me, not only for myself and other women directors, but also for the people who run an industry with this mindset. There’s something not right with a person’s soul when they judge another human being to be less adequate because of their gender or skin color. Both racism and sexism are a sickness, and it’s frightening that the world’s number one exporter of entertainment is so heavily affected by this sickness. “
Alexander’s sentiment echoes a lot of the frustrations women experience in many industries. While it’s great that discussions are happening, we’re ready to see some action.