To build buzz for the Superbowl debut of the new Captain America: Winter Soldier trailer, three posters dropped today. Along with Nick Fury and the man himself, Captain America, a Black Widow poster was released. It’s, well. It’s very Hollywood. And it caused an immediate uproar on Twitter.
Scarlett Johansson’s waist has obviously been photoshopped. Probably her bust and thighs as well. She has been undeniably and dramatically thinned to disproportionality.
Photoshopping women into impossible, and at times unrecognizable, shapes and poses is standard practice for the movie, music and fashion industries, and as a frequent spokesmodel, photoshopped images of ScarJo are a quick Google search away. Still, many were outraged that a beauty icon who’s known for her curves was photoshopped to have even more dramatic, and indeed impossible, curves.
There is something terrible about a woman’s character and heroism coming down to her component body parts. This is a woman chopped up for artificial sex appeal: bust, waist, thighs. Her guns are an afterthought–this poster is about beauty. What does the image tell us about Black Widow’s role in the film, or about Black Widow herself, for the uninitiated? She’s pretty, well-lit, and has an extreme hip to waist ratio. Is she a soldier? A sidekick? A femme fatale? Who knows. But look at the gloss on those lips!
MTV’s headline neatly, and unironically, summed it up: “Captain America Broods, While Black Widow Struts Her Stuff.”
Even putting the Photoshop hackjob aside, this is a disappointing, slapdash poster; a step back from Avengers marketing that at least conveyed a sense of character, even when it was problematic. Its ridiculous message is clear: the real ScarJo is insufficient, Black Widow is insufficient, and a woman’s worth comes down to her measurements and pose.