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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp attends the Class of 1972 50-year reunion in Kyle Field on April 20, 2022.
A&M System’s Title IX director suspended after supporting Biden's Title IX changes
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor • May 23, 2024
Texas A&M fans react after The Aggies win the NCAA Bryan-College Station Super Regional at Olsen Field on Sunday, June 9, 2024. (CJ Smith/The Battalion)
The mad dash to Omaha
Ian Curtis, Sports Reporter • June 21, 2024

After Texas A&M baseball’s win over Florida sent the Aggies to their first Men’s College World Series Championship Series in program...

Texas A&M pitcher Ryan Prager (18) delivers a pitch during Texas A&M’s game against Kentucky at the NCAA Men’s College World Series at in Omaha, Nebraska on Monday, June 17, 2024. Prager went for 6.2 innings, allowing two hits and zero runs. (Chris Swann/The Battalion)
Sixth sense
June 18, 2024
Enjoying the Destination
Enjoying the Destination
Cara Hudson, Maroon Life Writer • June 17, 2024

For the history buffs, there’s a story to why Bryan and College Station are so closely intertwined. In 1871 when the Texas Legislature approved...

Chris Hemsworth as Dementus in Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.
Review: ‘Furiosa’ is a must-see
Justin ChenJune 4, 2024

My jaw dropped open in 2016. Rarely in life does that happen, but the viewing experience of “Mad Max: Fury Road" was something to behold....

Scarlett Johansson deserves everything she got from Disney

Photo by Creative Commons

Opinion writer Abbie Beckley analyzes Disney’s partnership with Scarlett Johansson after Johansson filed a lawsuit against the company on Thursday, July 29 following the release of Black Widow. 

With the release of “Iron Man 2” in 2010, Natasha Romanoff, a former KGB spy-turned-agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., made her debut. Romanoff went undercover as a Stark Industries employee who Tony Stark objectifies after her first appearance on screen, claiming, “I want one.” Then, driven by his lust, he converts her into his personal assistant, pitting her against Pepper Potts, his main love interest. This movie began the long tradition of sexualizing Natasha Romanoff, played by none other than Academy Award nominated actress Scarlett Johansson, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or MCU, as well as the cycle of exploitation Disney continues to enforce on its actresses.
After “Black Widow” finally made its debut in 2021, Johansson filed a lawsuit against Disney for violating the terms of her contract. The agreement clearly defined an exclusive theatre premiere before the movie would be available on the company’s streaming service, Disney+. However, upon the film’s release, Disney+ allowed fans to purchase streaming access to the film for $30. This option to stream the movie allowed large groups of fans to watch the movie together with only one purchase, while each individual would have to buy a ticket when going to theatres.

There is also the problem of Black Widow’s merchandising, or better yet, the lack of it. When MCU films first began hitting the big screen, stores were chock-full of Captain America and Iron Man merchandise, but the series’s first female Avenger was nowhere to be seen. While Disney’s official store now boasts a variety of Black Widow merchandise, you can see that most of it was created following the superhero’s solo movie. However, until recently, there were no Black Widow halloween costumes or toys. There weren’t any action figures, pajama sets or replica nerf guns made in her honor. There wasn’t even a Black Widow Barbie – which would arguably be more suited for girls who watched Marvel movies than a Captain America doll – made in her likeness.

So, not only was Johansson sexualized, especially in one particular scene where she undresses in “Iron Man 2,” she wasn’t even given the opportunity to make money off merchandise because it simply didn’t exist.

It’s sad to think the patriarchal structures of Hollywood simply didn’t care about women’s stories until recently. After the #MeToo movement, we saw a significant increase in the number of women both behind the scenes and taking control over their roles on screen. Until women made it clear they weren’t going to let men abuse their power, the men were happy to keep pretending it never happened. We were content to watch Issac Mizrahi grope Scalett Johansson at the Golden Globes in 2009, or to watch Natalie Portman be used and abused for years, until these women finally decided enough was enough. It’s these fearless women that paved the way for a movie like “Black Widow” to be directed by a woman, despite being written exclusively by men

Against all odds, Johansson — and other women in Hollywood — managed to create a space where the MCU’s heroines can have an actual say on what their character wears. Elizabeth Olsen, who plays the Scarlet Witch, says that she had input when costume designers were creating her final battle costume in “WandaVision.” Olsen says she was upset about her past costume from “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which exposed a lot of cleavage, and wanted to make sure her costume could actually work for her character. 
Fortunately, she won this lawsuit, and in a big way. For all she has done for women, in and out of the MCU, Johansson’s share of Disney’s wealth is well-deserved and learning she got it after all these years feels like sweet, sweet justice. Congratulations, Scarlett Johansson —we know you’ve made Natasha proud.

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