There’s a lack of female ponytails in Avengers: Infinity War — and apparently, that’s sexist.
Yep. According to an article in Racked — titled “Superheroes Don’t Wear Ponytails, and Yes, It’s Sexist” — female superheroes’ hair is basically the patriarchy.
In discussing the new Avengers movie, Rebecca Jennings explains that “one thing you won’t be seeing a lot of” is “hair ties.”
“Aren’t these people, like, fighting each other?” Jennings asks. “While doing flips and jumps and stuff?”
“So why don’t Black Widow, Gamora, Scarlet Witch, and Mantis — and even superheroines beyond Infinity War, from Wonder Woman to Jessica Jones, Elektra, Storm, and She-Hulk — ever seem to take a second to throw their hair into a chic chignon (or, more likely, a half-assed messy bun like the rest of us do before an activity as simple as getting on the elliptical)?” she continues.
Jennings admits that “the simplest answer is that comics are a visual medium, and a bunch of long, flowing hair swirling around during an already epic fight scene looks pretty cool,” but seems to believe that there’s more to it.
“But there’s a reason we don’t see many male superheroes with waist-long hair just so we can watch all that cool hair fly around,” she writes. “Christina Dokou, an assistant professor of American literature and culture at the University of Athens, explains that the ‘boys’ club’ legacy of comic books, in which female characters were stuck with sexist stereotypes, still endures.”
Now, in her piece, Jennings actually admits that “comics are fun because they aren’t real life” — but apparently, she doesn’t see that that’s the entire point. Of course it would be tough to fight any kind of battle without your hair in a ponytail. Of course it’s difficult to do any kind of physical activity as a long-haired woman without your hair in a ponytail. But the fact is, comics aren’t supposed to reflect reality. They’re comics.
The long, mermaid-like hair on female superheroes is cool, and something that I very much wish I could achieve without hair extensions. I can’t, though — and very few can. Even fewer could fight any sort of battle (yes . . . including one with an elliptical) without tying it up. The whole thing is, that’s part of the fun of it. I also couldn’t defeat some kind of being with superpowers with my own superpowers because, well, I don’t have any. None of us do. The fun of superhero movies is imagining things that exist outside of reality, not mimicking it.
I cannot help but think how boring a “realistic” superhero movie would be. For me, it would be someone looking for ideas on the Internet and then finding one she likes and then asking her editor if she can write about it and then writing about it — all with a ponytail — and then watching Forensic Files and going to bed. Wahoo! Everyone would watch that! Oh wait, they wouldn’t, and almost everyone probably stopped reading this article in the middle of this paragraph because it was so boring.
Stop trying to make fantasy reality. Fantasy is fantasy for a reason: It’s fun. Don’t ruin it.