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Avengers: Age of Ultron’s Mark Ruffalo Calls Out Marvel’s Sexism and Demands More Black Widow Toys

The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Hulk tries hard not to get angry over the unfair treatment of his superheroine costar.

image via youtube screen capture

As the hype machine for Marvel’s next cinematic tent pole event reaches fever pitch, Avengers: Age Of Ultron star Mark Ruffalo has a message for his comic book bosses: When it comes to the sole female Avenger in the multi-billion dollar franchise, it’s time to do better.


Ruffalo, who pulls double duty playing The Avengers’ gamma-ray expert Bruce Banner/gamma-irradiated maniac The Hulk, tweeted the following:

There is, of course, an implied threat in that “Pretty please,” as if Ruffalo is daring Marvel to make him angry enough to Hulk-out.

While Marvel has done an incredible job transforming their superhero roster into massively popular lines of toys, clothes, and accessories, they’ve devoted just three of the 60 total pieces of official Avengers merchandise to the team’s lone woman, super-spy Natasha Romanoff, AKA “Black Widow,” played by Scarlett Johansson.

This is the latest in a series of public incidents that have put Marvel Studios’ treatment of Black Widow in the spotlight. Last week Johansson’s Age Of Ultron co-stars Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner issued public apologies after calling the character a “slut” and a “whore” in response to a reporter’s question regarding (mild spoiler alert) Romanoff’s rumored cinematic romance with Bruce Banner.

In a statement to The Los Angeles Times, Renner, who plays Avenger Hawkeye, explained “I am sorry that this tasteless joke about a fictional character offended anyone. It was not meant to be serious in any way.” Evans, who plays Captain America, issued his own statement to The Times, saying:

Yesterday we were asked about the rumors that Black Widow wanted to be in a relationship with both Hawkeye and Captain America. We answered in a juvenile and offensive way that rightfully angered some fans. I regret it and sincerely apologize.

Since Johansson’s Black Widow Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) debut in 2010’s Iron Man 2, fans—including Ruffalo—have been clamoring for the super-spy to get her own standalone film like those of her male teammates. Marvel studios, to date, has yet to oblige.

Kids—not just Ruffalo’s daughters and nieces, but sons and nephews as well—deserve more opportunities to experience powerful, positive female role models. And if Marvel isn’t able, or willing, to fill that need, I’m sure those fans looking for kick-ass superheroines will be more than happy to look elsewhere. That makes Ruffalo’s continued calls (to say nothing of those from Johansson, herself) for an overall increase in Black Widow all the more important, both for the fans that love the franchise and it’s characters, as well as the studio, which succeeds solely on the good will of its audience.

That audience, as it happens, has definitely noticed the conspicuous lack of Black Widow merchandise. In recent days a Change.org petition, as well as an accompanying hashtag have sprung up, asking #WheresNatasha?

So keep asking, Mark, Scarlett, and everyone else interested in seeing Natasha Romanoff get her cinematic due. And next time, don’t worry about saying “pretty please.” If Marvel still has no plans for a Black Widow movie after the (almost certain) blockbuster bonanza that is Avengers: Age Of Ultron, well, they deserve to see what happens when they make the Hulk mad.

[via comics alliance]