‘All Women Are Superheroes’ Is Not The Message We Need Right Now

Brie Larson, Sigourney Weaver and Gal Gadot were caught up in the patronisingly tokenistic Oscars moment.

Brie Larson, Sigourney Weaver, Gal Gadot

by Rosamund Dean |
Updated on

Let me begin by saying that these three women are among the best of us. Brie Larson, star of Captain Marvel, has been outspoken about the treatment of women in Hollywood (and her look of disdain in 2017 when she had to present the Best Actor Oscar to Casey Affleck - who had previously settled two sexual assault cases - was quite spectacular). Sigourney Weaver was championing gender equality, while kicking alien arses, back before many of the Twitter feminists were born. Meanwhile, Gal Gadot is literally Wonder Woman. So it was quite exciting to see these three take the stage together at the 2020 Oscars.

However, in a year in which no women were nominated in the Best Director category, despite there being plenty to choose from, their speech soon began to feel patronisingly tokenistic. Coming on to present the award for Best Original Score, they introduced Eimear Noone, the first woman conductor at the Oscars. An empowering moment, you might think, until you realise that Eimear was only wheeled on to lead the orchestra for that category, and then was whisked off to let a man take over for the rest of the ceremony. Also, should the Academy really be patting itself on the back for finally allowing in a woman conductor for the first time in 92 years? Shouldn't they be doing a bit better than that in 2020?

Sigourney's announcement that 'all women are superheroes' was clearly meant to be rousing, but it missed the point. None of us are superheroes. We simply want to be paid the same as a man for doing the same job, or be free to go through life without fear of sexual assault, or be able to speak up at work without being patronised or belittled, or maybe even have our achievements recognised by our peers at an annual award ceremony.

As for the Best Original Score award, it went to the only woman nominated: Hildur Guðnadóttir, for Joker. Thus making a hugely accomplished composer feel like her award is part of the 'you go gals!' section of the ceremony, rather than proper recognition for her incredible work (she also won the Emmy for the score of Chernobyl last year).

True equality will be when women are nominated across all the technical categories, including Best Director, and no one even thinks to mention it, because they are simply 'people doing a great job', rather than 'all superheroes'.

All the arrivals at the 2020 Oscars...

Gallery

Oscars 2020 Arrivals

Bong Joon Ho1 of 19
CREDIT: Amy Sussman/Getty

Bong Joon Ho

The Parasite director gives a thumbs up on the Oscars 2020 red carpet

Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig2 of 19
CREDIT: Amy Sussman/Getty

Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig

The indie power couple each have a film in the awards race: Marriage Story and Little Women

Roman Griffin Davis and Archie Yates3 of 19
CREDIT: Amy Sussman/Getty

Roman Griffin Davis and Archie Yates

The young stars of Jojo Rabbit arrive at the ceremony together

George Mackay and Dean-Charles Chapman4 of 19
CREDIT: Kevork Djansezian/Getty

George Mackay and Dean-Charles Chapman

The stars of 1917 arrived together – here they are in one, unbroken shot

Todd Phillips and Alexandra Kravetz5 of 19
CREDIT: Amy Sussman/Getty

Todd Phillips and Alexandra Kravetz

The writer-director's Joker leads the way with 11 nominations

Zazie Beetz6 of 19
CREDIT: Amy Sussman/Getty

Zazie Beetz

The Joker star hits the red carpet

Rian Johnson and Karina Longworth7 of 19
CREDIT: Amy Sussman/Getty

Rian Johnson and Karina Longworth

The Knives Out writer-director and his wife

Julia Butters8 of 19
CREDIT: Amy Sussman/Getty

Julia Butters

The young actor stars in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Spike Lee9 of 19
CREDIT: Amy Sussman/Getty

Spike Lee

The legendary Spike Lee pays tribute to Kobe Bryant on the red carpet

Idina Menzel10 of 19
CREDIT: Amy Sussman/Getty

Idina Menzel

The Frozen star will be performing 'Into The Unknown' at the ceremony

Olivia Colman11 of 19
CREDIT: Amy Sussman/Getty

Olivia Colman

The British actor won Best Actress last year for The Favourite

Antonio Banderas12 of 19
CREDIT: Amy Sussman/Getty

Antonio Banderas

He's up for Best Actor for Pedro Almodovar's Pain And Glory

Laura Dern13 of 19
CREDIT: Amy Sussman/Getty

Laura Dern

The Jurassic Park star is up for Best Supporting Actress for Marriage Story

Taika Waititi14 of 19
CREDIT: Amy Sussman/Getty

Taika Waititi

The writer-director-star of Jojo Rabbit plays up to the cameras

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino15 of 19
CREDIT: Amy Sussman/Getty

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino

The stars of The Irishman enter the ceremony together

Joaquin Phoenix16 of 19
CREDIT: Amy Sussman/Getty

Joaquin Phoenix

The Joker star is up for Best Actor

Timothee Chalamet17 of 19
CREDIT: Amy Sussman/Getty

Timothee Chalamet

The Little Women star is presenting an award at the 2020 ceremony

Brad Pitt18 of 19
CREDIT: Amy Sussman/Getty

Brad Pitt

The Hollywood icon is up for Best Supporting Actor for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Renee Zellweger19 of 19
CREDIT: Amy Sussman/Getty

Renee Zellweger

She's up for Best Actress for her turn as Judy Garland in biopic Judy

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