By RazzaTazz 11 Comments
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.