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Saturday, Feb. 24
The Indiana Daily Student


OPINION: Marvel improves gender representation, still has long way to go


With Halloween drawing near, I, like countless others, find myself in the annual conundrum of choosing the perfect costume. Should I don the attire of my favorite TV character, channel the timeless essence of Barbie or perhaps indulge in the mystique of a Disney villain?  

Then, an idea struck me – why not opt for a superhero-themed costume? As someone who has been an ardent Marvel fan since childhood, I decided to explore this avenue. Yet, as a woman Marvel fan looking for the ideal superhero ensemble, I couldn't help but notice a somewhat limited array of choices. 

Marvel has undeniably left an indelible mark, enthralling audiences across the globe with its movies and TV shows. Many of us grew up immersing ourselves in the tales of these superheroes and villains, originally through their comic books. When they began producing movies, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) the characters we knew and loved transitioned from books to the screen, marking the inception of one of the most beloved and successful film franchises in the world.   

Nevertheless, the MCU has been scrutinized in recent years for its lack of diversity. It wasn't until 2019 that Marvel finally released its first female-led film, “Captain Marvel,” marking over a decade since the first installation of the cinematic universe “Iron Man” (2008). 

As the Halloween season approaches, the excitement surrounding the MCU remains as potent as ever. The recent debut of the first episode of the second season of “Loki” reignited my passion for this captivating universe. Tom Hiddleston's portrayal of Loki, a cherished character known for his cunning schemes and deceptions, has garnered a legion of devoted fans. 

The introduction of a female variant of Loki’s character, Sylvie, added a fascinating twist to the first season of “Loki”. Sylvie swiftly became a favorite character not only for me, but also for my friends. This revelation highlighted the limited gender representation within the MCU, a significant player in the realm of Hollywood, whose influence shapes the future of television and film. Moreover, the MCU's stories and characters are witnessed by millions of children worldwide, shaping their impressionable and developing minds. 

As we contemplate our options for Halloween costumes, it's clear the MCU, despite its considerable accomplishments, grapples with issues surrounding diversity. The available choices, particularly for women and underrepresented groups, remain limited, leaving many without relatable figures to admire.  

The continuously evolving MCU keeps us captivated and eager to observe how it confronts these challenges in the future, striving to promote inclusivity and representation for all. While the MCU has taken commendable steps in the right direction with recent releases such as “Black Widow” and “WandaVision,” it's evident there is still a considerable journey ahead in terms of achieving more comprehensive diversity and inclusivity.  

While my current Halloween outfit options remain limited, I hold hope for the near future. With the introduction of more characters like Sylvie, I anticipate finding a superhero I can truly connect with, someone I'd love to dress up as, and who represents my identity. 

Prakriti Khurana (she/her) is a sophomore studying finance. 

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