“Captain Marvel” gives a glimpse of what it is like to be a woman in the armed forces
April 5, 2019
Created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan, Carol Danvers, better known as Captain Marvel, was introduced to the Marvel Comics in 1968 in “Marvel Super-Heroes No. 13.” Years later, Captain Marvel has become the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first female lead in a movie. Not only is it contributing to a more diverse MCU, but it also influences Hollywood to have more superhero movies with female leads.
“Captain Marvel,” directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck portrays Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) as a role model for girls and young women by not only being a hero with powers given to her by an extraterrestrial power, but for also being a woman in the Air Force. “Captain Marvel” shows a glimpse of the obstacles women in the Air Force have to overcome, especially the mocking and discouragement from the airmen.
Carol isn’t the only hero in this film; Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), Carol’s best friend and fellow airwoman, demonstrates the difficulties that come with being a single mother. Being in the Air Force gave Maria the ability to raise her daughter, Monica, but she and Carol always wanted to be challenged like the airmen were. When Carol invites Maria to save the world with her as a pilot, Maria worries about leaving her daughter, but Monica quickly tells her mom to go because it is the challenge she was waiting for. Maria and Carol are not given the most challenging missions in the Air Force because they are women. Women are a minority in the Air Force; women only make up 20.3% of the Air Force, according to the Air Force’s demographics. Additionally, women have not always had the same opportunities as men. Women were allowed to enter pilot training in 1976, and until 1993 they were not allowed to be fighter pilots.
Senior Eliza Lopez aspires to become part of the medical unit in the Army and is currently part of NJROTC at Santa Ana High School, a program for students seeking to be a part of the armed forces. She believes that physically the males do have an advantage. but the physical standards are adjusted for each. She has heard stories of the male cadets underestimating the females, “This huge big buff guy will be staring at this short little girl but she’ll end up beating him. I’ve seen it happen.”
She also mentions that only recently has the Navy SEAL, a three-week training program that is known for having a completion rate of 75%, allowed females to join. Even training sites have now been accepting female cadets. Fort Benning, a training site in Georgia, has only recently allowed women to train there and has seen its first female cadets graduated in 2017. There are still many firsts for women in the Armed Forces.
On the set of “Captain Marvel,” Brie Larson was trained by Jeannie Flynn, a pioneer for women to have the right to be fighter pilots. She became the first fighter pilot in 1993 and helped Larson act like an airwoman. This film has also given women in the Air Force the spotlight they deserve and has encouraged young girls to consider joining the armed forces.
Junior Ashley McDougall said, “Everyone, especially for a good cause, should have an equal opportunity to help and provide for the country.” McDougall believes that there are challenges that women go through in the military, but it shouldn’t stop them from having the same opportunities as men.
In the film, while looking for a challenge not given to them in a male-dominated Air Force, Maria and Carols find Mar-Vell (Annette Bening). Mar-Vell is a Kree scientist who is on Earth to help end the genocide of Skrulls, a race of extramarital shapeshifters, that is being done by her own people. In the comics, Mar-Vell was originally a male, but for the film, Mar-Vell was shown as a woman. People have complained that changing this character to have a bigger female cast wasn’t correct. However, the character is the same; Mar-Vell inspires Carol to become a superhero. Having a woman influence Captain Marvel is important to the film’s storyline because it is men who have pushed her down, so seeing Mar-Vell in a high position in the Air Force is her inspiration.
While showing the strength of the ordinary woman and bringing diversity to Hollywood, “Captain Marvel” has surpassed $800 million in the global box office. Although there is still a long way to go, junior Cynthia Jimenez believes that “Captain Marvel” is a good step forward. “There is not that much representation of female leads in movies even if we are progressing towards that,” said Jimenez. And with Captain Marvel’s success, it is possible that we will continue to see more of Captain Marvel and everyday female heroes on the big screen.