Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Karen Page is the best female representation in the Marvel Universe

Marvel Cinematic Universe writers need to take notes from ‘Daredevil’
David Giesbrecht/Netflix
Courtesy of Marvel’s Daredevil

Women have always been objectified on the big screen, including in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Whether it be the skimpy costumes or a lack of female characters on the screen, men and women aren’t equal in their importance in the MCU.

The first real female character, Black Widow, was sexualized the moment she appeared onscreen. Even when she finally was established as an Avenger, her character poster was in an extremely sexual pose. If they aren’t being overly sexualized, women are made out to be love interests, even when the actors lack chemistry or when the relationship makes no sense. Only in very recent years has Marvel begun to improve their representation, and even now, they still make grave mistakes. The first female lead movie in the MCU, “Captain Marvel,” was an afterthought, shoved in right before Avengers Endgame after Marvel realized the success of Wonder Woman.

In short, women aren’t a priority for Disney’s Marvel Universe. Their writing is always subpar to that of the male characters and their plotlines often not even half-developed. As a female Marvel fan, it makes me incredibly sad to see these amazing women with so much potential take the backseat. The lack of good representation only contributes to the toxic male comic culture, allowing male fans to objectify women without second thought. Without real development, that’s all the characters become: objectified. However, “Daredevil,” a Netflix Marvel production, gets female representation right in the form of Karen Page.

Portrayed by Deborah Ann Woll, I believe Page is the best example of female representation in the Marvel Universe. We first meet Page when she’s arrested by the NYPD, and Nelson and Murdock serve as her lawyers. Despite her blonde hair and doe eyes, Karen isn’t all that she appears to be. She’s portrayed as the innocent damsel in distress at first, but throughout the show, she’s revealed to be so much more.

Page has secrets, a dark past and a constant desire to do what she believes is right. In short, she’s her own character. She has plotlines separate from the men on the show and serves an active role in the overall arc all on her own. She doesn’t need a man to be her gateway to the story. Page has a role that matters all on her own, and that’s where Disney’s MCU lacks.

Page does eventually become a love interest of Daredevil’s, sticking with the plot of the comics, but that’s never all she is. Even when dating Murdock, she has separate plotlines and separate secrets from her male counterparts in the show. It’s something the MCU is never really able to do. For example, when Black Widow and the Hulk started to have a relationship in “Age of Ultron,” Natasha’s role was reduced to nothing but the love interest. It was almost like she couldn’t be both a romantic interest and an independent woman. Fortunately, Page doesn’t have that problem.

When watching “Daredevil,” Page quickly became one of my all-time favorite characters. She did what she thought was right without apologies, without remorse. She sticks to her own personal compass and isn’t afraid to call people out on their mistakes. Page also has her own shortcomings and flaws, things she desperately fights to overcome. She’s a well-rounded, real character who can hold her own outside of a man and who never becomes objectified. And that’s something I can’t really say about any of the women of the MCU.

Fortunately, the MCU is beginning to improve in the character department, but it has a long way to go. Costumes still objectify these female characters, with cleavage on display in the middle of battle, and characters still struggle to have plotlines separate from a man. As the MCU progresses, the writers need to take notes on how “Daredevil” treated the characterization of Karen Page — a woman, a love interest and a character all on her own.

Shannon Moore can be reached at [email protected].

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  • A

    addieMar 1, 2022 at 7:27 am

    A really well written article and it’s ENTIRELY true 👌 The marvel TV shows are honestly so good and Agents of SHIELD does an equally amazing job with diverse, independent and bad*ss female superheroes
    the MCU needs to look into and bring back these amazing characters!

    • S

      Shannon MooreMar 2, 2022 at 12:40 pm

      ahhh thank you so much for reading! same, i think AOS and the other marvel tv shows do an awesome job with female characters (daisy and melinda may!!). hoping they bring them back