Marvel's Female Thor Looks Exactly Like The Male Thor & That's Kind of a Problem
When it was first revealed that Marvel would be announcing a new project on The View , I was among those hoping that they were about to finally kickstart those vague plans for a Black Widow movie. However, instead Marvel is having a woman become the new Thor (not She-Thor or Lady Thor but just Thor) and that's a definite victory for women in comics. Really, it is. But when I saw the pictures of the new Thor, I lost some of my excitement. She looks exactly like the old Thor, except female. As in, the new female Thor is a white, blond woman and, honestly, I feel like Marvel missed an opportunity to do something truly groundbreaking here.
According to The Mary Sue, this is what Marvel had to say about the woman's mysterious origins: "The story behind her is she created herself. She was saved by Thor and she came down to Earth, followed him, and made herself look like Thor and so now she’s taking over." However, according to those same executives, Thor is the one who became unworthy of the hammer and thus it passed into the hands of this new woman who will now and forever be Thor, so at least we can rest assured that her "take over" is not villainous in nature.
However, this is a conscious choice on the part of Marvel to appeal to a female demographic that doesn't have as much issue with representation in comic books as women of color do. Let's be honest. Even if you count She-Hulk's green skin, the number of women of color in the Marvel Universe is far outstripped by the number of white women in the Marvel Universe. In fact, while the new Thor will be the first woman to wield Mjolnir permanently, she's far from the first woman to do so. According to Wikipedia, she's actually the fourth woman who can lift the hammer, after Storm from X-Men, Rogue from X-Men (after absorbing Thor's powers), and Wonder Woman from DC Comics.
Considering the success that Marvel has had with Ms. Marvel Kamala Khan, a Muslim character headlining her own comic title, I can see no reason why Marvel couldn't have made the extra effort to make the new Thor not only a woman but also a woman of color. Thor is an insanely popular character, widely so now thanks to the excellent performance of Chris Hemsworth in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so if you're going to change the Thor wielding the hammer why not show that there are more people from a variety of cultures who are worthy to wield it permanently than just another person of Caucasian descent?
It wouldn't even be a completely unprecedented move for Marvel. In the Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, Peter Parker was replaced by Black-Latino teenager Miles Morales, whose stories have garnered positive reviews even from people who were initially put off by the "publicity stunt". Changing Thor into a woman is not going to come without its critics also decrying it as a move of Political Correctness Gone Mad, but since that's going to be the complaint either way then again I don't see what the big deal about making her a woman of color would have been.
At this point, the amount of people who have been able to successfully lift Thor's hammer have been predominantly white and predominantly male, which is an unfortunate implication when you think about it. Marvel has taken a great step by changing the person most worthy of possessing Mjolnir to a woman, but how long will we have to wait before the person most worthy of possessing Mjolnir is a person of color?
For now, I can content myself with knowing that women are getting more "big hero" status in the Marvel universe. Still, I can't help but think how much happier I would have been to see a woman of color break past that same glass ceiling.
Image: Marvel; Tumblr (1)