I’ve been meaning to do some posts like this for a while, because why not, but a recent episode of the Fanboys at Large finally gave me the push when they wondered how female fans feel about Marvel’s handling of women in these Netflix shows. Some day I’ll do posts just about the Marvel shows in their entirety, but for now I’m going to focus on the ladies. This post will be just about the women in Daredevil (both seasons), with Jessica Jones and Luke Cage to come.
Be warned, there are many, many spoilers here for BOTH seasons of Daredevil.
First up is Karen Page. I already knew going in that she has a horribly tragic story/relationship thing with Matt, so their evolving flirtation, while kind of corny and annoying, doesn’t really bother me. If anything, I’m so glad that she’s been given more of a solid foundation as their secretary and then evolving into a journalist. She gets a little overly emotional sometimes… but okay, so she’s a softie. I can live with that. But I HATE that Matt and Foggy act like she’s crazy in the first season for carrying pepper spray. She was brutally attacked, twice, and has every reason to suddenly be wary of strangers, not want to be alone in her apartment, and to carry some sort of protection. I was disappointed that the show portrayed her that way. On the other hand, she’s been shown to be persistent, compassionate, and driven towards a sense of justice. She does what she needs to survive. I dig her.
I do kind of hope that they go a different route with her relationship with Matt in the show and she tells him to go screw himself. Since I expect it, I don’t hate their storyline… but I’d love for her to find out that Matt was ready to drop everything and be with Elektra while in the midst of dating her, and then decide that she’s done with him.
Next is Marci Stahl. I admit to totally hating Marci at first, because you’re supposed to. She’s ambitious, callous, and a bit of a passive racist. But I think the men in the show kind of treat her like crap. In the end, she does help save the day by risking her life and career to get information on Fisk that will help put him away. And what does she get? A lame toast around the table behind her back (“god bless her and her designer pumps”). I love that she’s confident, and drops some truth bombs (see GIF above, I mean she’s not wrong). I find myself warming to her more and more, and I hope that her priorities are little adjusted now, because I’d like to see more of her, and if that’s in a relationship with Foggy… well, we’ll see how it goes. Be careful, Marvel.
Claire Temple is a big one, since she’s been in all three shows so far and is almost definitely going to be in Iron First. In Daredevil, she saves Matt’s life, they seem to develop some feelings towards each other, but then he gets caught up in what he’s doing, won’t really explain much of it to her, and she chooses not to be around him anymore because she doesn’t want to deal with his bullshit and she’s too afraid that he’s going to cross a line in his superheroing. I hated this entire flirtation, and I don’t think it needed to be there. Her continuing to help him did not need a romantic undertone. I like Claire, and I’m excited to see her grow into her Night Nurse role. I read an article that pondered whether Marvel will kill her off to bring the Defenders together, and I will lose. my. shit. if they did that.
Ugh, Vanessa Marianna. She seems great at first, right? Smart, articulate, owns her own business. But I kind of hate Vanessa, even though I think there’s some sweetness to her and Fisk’s relationship. She was wary of Fisk to start, and realizes very quickly that her instincts were right and that he’s dangerous, but continues to date him. As soon as she handed her gun to him, her best means of protecting herself from this stranger she suspects is up to no good, I was done with her. And she apparently approves of all the horrible shit he’s doing, even helps him. Hard pass.
Poor Mrs. Cardenas, who only existed here because Marvel couldn’t resist killing an innocent woman in order to motivate the superhero to finally get the bad guy. She was a sweet old bird, and I’m sad that she got such crappy treatment from the show.
Madame Gao is a boss. There’s not really much more to say, except that I hope she makes a reappearance at some point.
Oy…Elektra Natchios. I have so many mixed feelings on her as a character. She’s absolutely crazy, but a tiny part of me likes that about her. I really don’t like the obsessive, toxic nature of her and Matt’s relationship. You know how in season 2 of Dexter, crazy-ass Lila showed up and enraptured Dexter and he was just fucking up left and right because he couldn’t get his head out of his ass long enough to see what a bad situation it was? That was basically Matt and Elektra. I think she could be a great character, but the season she was introduced was kind of a mess and they could have done better. And speaking of doing better – why the hell didn’t her final costume have sleeves? Why bother with Melvin making anything for her at all, if her arms are like 100% unprotected? Come on, Marvel. Come on. Anyways, Elektra’s all right… but I’m a little disappointed that they hinted at her return.
My thoughts about these ladies and the treatment they receive in the shows is always evolving, and I welcome other perspectives, so feel free to tell me what you think. How is Marvel doing representing women in Daredevil?