So, in case you hadn’t heard, there are no Black Widow toys for Avengers AoU. Her motorcycle scene, as depicted by one toy, has Iron Man riding the bike, which is ridiculous. Another version has Captain America riding the bike.
What about her character arc? Here is some very thoughtful commentary on it, with further links to other commentary contained within.
The point that resonated with me is, what is the character arc that Romanoff could have that wouldn’t be sexist? The danger of making a “strong” female character that has parity is that you could very well just end up writing the female doing what the men typically do in a superhero movie. Is that really parity? Is parity really so simple as “oppressed group should do exactly what the privileged group does”? What if the privileged group is engaging in unethical behavior?
Is the goal of parity for women to do exactly what the men do? Or is that inherently patriarchal, since we would be essentially writing the male choices and qualities as the “ideal” for women? Should women’s roles be equitable first? I don’t have an answer to that one, nor should I, since I’m a dude. But its definitely worth thinking about. I want women to have access to the same levels of accomplishment of men, of course. But do we really want a world in which women become men? I don’t think that women should have to lose their gender identity or switch it in order for us to have parity.