Women of Science

 

         Almost four weeks after most of the rest of our community got out to see Thor in theatres, I finally went to watch it last night.   As with most other people here I liked it – the movie is doing well financially, but also getting good reviews with its combination of humour and action.  While I liked the characterization of Thor (at the same time recognizing it as somewhat different from the comics) it was Jane Foster that I really liked.  In the comics she is not that weak of a character, though nurse is a profession which at one point was maybe considered a strong one, it no longer really is and is more of an anachronism as more and more women are being admitted to medical schools.  Instead she is somewhat reimagined and given a new occupation – astrophysicist.  

           

 

             For me astrophysicist is a job title which is comparable in complexity to those two clichés of hard jobs – rocket scientist (which would really be either a ballistic physicist or a rocket engineer) and brain surgeon.  In fact when I was a child, I watched the 1953 version of War of the Worlds where the main character (Dr. Clayton Forrester) is an astrophysicist and fell in love with the job title (though the character does very little with astrophysics in the movie.)   This I think is one of the strengths of Thor specifically and of the Marvel and recent superhero movies in general soon they became popular in the late 1990s, and that is female characters who are written well and whose backgrounds are updated to contemporary norms. 

 

   

            There are of course those who believe as Lawrence Summers stated, that women are genetically inferior to having an understanding of the sciences, but despite this it is undeniable that women, when allowed free access to academia excel in science just as much as the men do.   So I think this is an area which the movies have gotten right, even going so far as to make Jessica Alba’s Sue Storm into a scientist as opposed to just a girlfreind.   It is not always the case.   While there is a reimagined Jane Foster there is also a not so reimagined Pepper Potts, though even she was eventually made CEO of Stark Industries in Iron Man 2.   Most of all though, I think in these films where the understanding is that pretty much anything is possible, that there are some very intelligent and scientifically savvy women being portrayed, which shows that science is now an open field.     

 
 
11 Comments
11 Comments
Posted by MrUnknown

Actually I'm pretty sure not just the movie Susan but comics Susan has a PhD in some Science field. I think it was Biochemistry but I'm not sure.

Posted by cattlebattle

Abotut the time women started getting equal rights, there was a heavy influx of women being more than girlfriends in comics. Today in the society we live in, the films try that much harder to make the women just as important and heroic as the men.
 
Moira Mactaggart is a notable one for me

Posted by thehummingbird

Just a quick idea, but while comics are a more male oriented industry, movies and even comic movies are just as popular among females as males. So in comics with less women reading the content, less will care or realize how women are often portrayed as having less academic jobs. In movies, however, more women will go and see it, and if the women in the movies are always portrayed as uneducated or just a show girl, this could easily take away from some of the appeal of both genders enjoying the movie? I hope I made sense. Just another reason for this difference in portrayal. 

Posted by JediXMan
@MrUnknown said:
Actually I'm pretty sure not just the movie Susan but comics Susan has a PhD in some Science field. I think it was Biochemistry but I'm not sure.
Pretty sure she did.
Moderator
Posted by RazzaTazz
@JediXMan said:
@MrUnknown said:
Actually I'm pretty sure not just the movie Susan but comics Susan has a PhD in some Science field. I think it was Biochemistry but I'm not sure.
Pretty sure she did.
I am not absolutely sure on this, but I do know that for most of her comic history Sue Storm was portrayed as a university dropout and thus essentially a high school grad.  It wasnt because of a lack of intelligence though.  They might have changed this recently though.
Posted by SC

I know quite a while back (decades), under a writer I can't remember, Sue was written to be quite intelligent, as in smartest of most of the heroes, if not by virtue of Reed's existence. It seems to fluctuate.  
 
Definitely best thread that proves Natalie Portman >> Jessica Alba though! 

Moderator
Posted by RazzaTazz
@SC:  
That wasn't really the point of the thread.  I like both of them, in real life NatPo wins though as she is a Harvard grad in science.  
Posted by SC
@RazzaTazz said:
In real life NatPo wins though as she is a Harvard grad in science.  
 
I think she wins with prep or without prep! Only way Jessica Alba has a chance is if its... on the set of Dark Angel and she gets 2 years prep and a weapon! 
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Posted by MrUnknown
@RazzaTazz said:
@JediXMan said:
@MrUnknown said:
Actually I'm pretty sure not just the movie Susan but comics Susan has a PhD in some Science field. I think it was Biochemistry but I'm not sure.
Pretty sure she did.
I am not absolutely sure on this, but I do know that for most of her comic history Sue Storm was portrayed as a university dropout and thus essentially a high school grad.  It wasnt because of a lack of intelligence though.  They might have changed this recently though.
It's not recent; it's been so for a while. I never heard about the dropout story. But Sue is really smart just when she is next to Reed all the time you don't really get the vibe so much. It the same story with sidekicks.
Posted by Kairan1979

I think turning Jane Foster into astrophysicist was stupid. As a doctor or nurse she could teach Thor about the value of human life and the true price of war (especially if she worked in the war zones before).
The only girl genius in the movies who looked convincing to me was River Tam from Firefly/Serenity.
  

Posted by JediXMan
@RazzaTazz said:
@JediXMan said:
@MrUnknown said:
Actually I'm pretty sure not just the movie Susan but comics Susan has a PhD in some Science field. I think it was Biochemistry but I'm not sure.
Pretty sure she did.
I am not absolutely sure on this, but I do know that for most of her comic history Sue Storm was portrayed as a university dropout and thus essentially a high school grad.  It wasnt because of a lack of intelligence though.  They might have changed this recently though.
I always thought she did have a PhD, but I'm not very knowledgeable on the F4. But I'm pretty sure the Ultimate version did.
Moderator