This past weekend I took part in the Black Widow #WeWantWidow flash mob that swept through the world. If you happened to spend the past few days hiding under a really big rock from news sites and Facebook, here are the details about what happened.
This was cosplaying for a cause. Kristin Rielly, of RiellyGeek and formally Geek Girls Network, organized this event as a fun protest to the treatment of Marvel’s Black Widow, in terms of exposure in movies and merchandising. When I asked her the why of doing this event, she stated “After seeing Age of Ulton and Black Widow’s lack of character development (or her abrupt back story scene), and writing several posts for Fashionably Geek about the new Avengers line this and that – almost all missing Black Widow images, I just had enough. And then then to top it all off, Hasbro and Mattel both released action figures of Captain America and Iron Man on Black Widow’s motorcycle in her most badass AoU scene, instead of a Black Widow action figure.”
People from the US, Canada and Australia took part, dressing as Black Widow or in merchandise for the character. I was one of them, participating in the NYC demonstration outside of ReedPop’s Special Edition comicon. At least, that was the plan. The standard rule for most New Yorkers: if you are running late, the subway will make it worse. So I missed out on the big group photo shoot by a few minutes.
However, I lucked out that another late person and a few other Black Widows were out front when I arrived. So I still got my group shot! (I am weirdly proud of the belt buckle that I made. Never underestimate the power of twist ties!)
As I walked the floor of the comicon, some exhibitors remarked to me about the sheer number of Black Widows in attendance. I came to realize that this flash mob was sending a message to the people in the room that we want to see a change. I am so proud that I took part in it, even if I was late. I made a difference in that room.
The truth is that this really applies to all female and minority characters in comics. If DC had done the cinematic universe building first, we probably would have been tweeting We Want Wonder Woman instead. (That outfit would have been harder for me to make though.) I can hope that the industry heard us and saw the aftermath of supporting coverage.
In case you were wondering what to do now, I did ask Kristin how she thought we should continue. Rielly said “Let’s keep talking about it until we can make a difference. Keep sharing the hashtag, keep posting photos online of Black Widow images and cosplay. Maybe Marvel and Disney will see that they really do have a demographic ready for more female superheroines on screen and on the shelves.”
So, it is now in your hands. Go tweet #WeWantWidow. Go tell Marvel, Mattel, Hasbro and any other licenser that you want to see more Black Widow. Or go tell DC that you want to see more female coverage. Go use your voice to make sure that change happens.