My guest post on the gender gap in science fiction posted on the LibraryJournal SELF-e blog today, just as Iron Man 3 co-writer Shane Black revealed that Marvel’s corporate interests forced him to change the gender of the movie’s villain to sell more toys. According to Black, the original script featured a female version of antagonist Aldrich Killian, written in a way that initially occluded the character’s sex and later subverted audience expectations by revealing her as female. Marvel executives, however, decided that merchandise based on a woman villain wouldn’t sell and mandated a sex change.
It’s #WheresRey all over again. Why do franchise owners persist in the erroneous belief that only boys like sci-fi stories? And what are the social consequences of condemning female characters to be The Invisible Woman? My article discusses these issues, along with the surprising history of women in the science fiction genre and the shocking psychological consequences of gender segregation in our storytelling. Check it out, then join in the SELF-e Twitter chat on Thursday to discuss it with me!