Like A ‘Piece Of A**’: Scarlett Johansson On How ‘Black Widow’ Was ‘Hypersexualized’
Scarlett Johannson
Jean-Baptiste LaCroix/AFP via Getty Images

Actress Scarlett Johansson, speaking of the character “Black Widow” that she has played in films for over ten years, said the character has been “hyper-sexualized” and talked about like she is “a piece of a**.”

Johannson was interviewed by Collider in 2019 on the set of the film “Black Widow,” but because the film’s 2020 release was delayed until early next month, the interview was held for release until this week.

Collider asked Johannson, “There is a sort of sexualization of superheroes. How did that affect Black Widow?”

“Yeah. It definitely has changed and I think part of that change has probably — it’s hard because I’m inside it, but probably a lot of that is actually from me too,” Johannson answered. “I’ll be 35 years old and I’m a mom and my life is different. Obviously, 10 years have passed and things have happened and I have a much different, more evolved understanding of myself. As a woman, I’m in a different place in my life, you know? And I felt more forgiving of myself, as a woman, and not — sometimes probably not enough. I’m more accepting of myself, I think.”

“All of that is related to that move away from the kind of hyper-sexualization of this character and, I mean, you look back at Iron Man 2 and while it was really fun and had a lot of great moments in it, the character is so sexualized, you know?” she continued. “Really talked about like she’s a piece of something, like a possession or a thing or whatever — like a piece of a**, really. And Tony (Stark, the character of Iron Man) even refers to her as something like that at one point. What does he say?”

“I want some,” Collider informed her.

“’I want some,’ Johannson agreed. “Yeah and at one point calls her a piece of meat and maybe at that time that actually felt like a compliment. You know what I mean? Because my thinking was different. Maybe I even would have, you know, my own self-worth was probably measured against that type of comment or, like a lot of young women, you come into your own and you understand your own self-worth. It’s changing now. Now people, young girls, are getting a much more positive message, but it’s been incredible to be a part of that shift and be able to come out the other side and be a part of that old story, but also progress. Evolve. I think it’s pretty cool.”

When Collider asked how Johansson felt about the Black Widow’s “empowerment” had changed over the years, Johannson answered, “Well, I think that actually goes back to the other question about this hyper-sexualization thing because I think actually Natasha uses her sexuality as a means to feel, to sort of manipulate a situation and then be coquettish and sly and then she’s going to take your legs out, right? She’s going to be seductive in this way, and that’s her power. Her power’s in her sexuality, and then that changed over time, right? Her strength was actually her vulnerability.”

“That’s the kind of place that we’re in now and then in Endgame she sacrifices herself out of love,” she concluded. “She saves her friend. She saves everyone. And I think that just being in that kind of headspace and being able to make that decision, that selfless act is so incredibly powerful. It’s amazing that she could be in that place to do that.”

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