Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson said in a recent interview that women are “underminded, and underserved, and under-appreciated, and underpaid,” and that women often have to be their own allies because sexism has been and remains present in Hollywood.
Johansson and her Black Widow co-star Florence Pugh spoke to Glamour Magazine UK about their relationship with each other, as well as gender in the film industry and specifically, in superhero movies.
When prompted with a question about when either woman has been their own ally, Pugh said she did not know the answer and that it was “sad” that she did not know. Johansson responded and pointed to sexism in the film industry as a reason why women are “underpaid,” according to her.
“As a woman, you have to be [your own ally] all the time, because we are underminded, and underserved, and under-appreciated, and underpaid. You have to be your own ally. My mom instilled that in me from when I was really, really young, because of course, she’d experienced it even more severely than I did,” Johansson said. “And, you know, equal pay is a huge part of that fight. Even when I was a teenager in the industry or a young woman, I should say, my mom would have those conversations. Like, ‘why is she not getting (paid the same)?’ It never had anything to do—there were always these little key terms like ‘bankability,’ ‘box office draw.’ Those are all terms that are basically masquerading as sexism. It never had anything to do with those things.”
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Johansson, who became the first solo female superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) nearly a decade ago with her introduction in Iron Man 2, is also one of the first women cast in a leading role in the universe. Brie Larson became the first woman to do so in Captain Marvel (2019) and Elizabeth Olsen portrayed Wanda Maximoff in the Disney Plus miniseries WandaVision to kick off Phase Four of the MCU earlier in 2021.
Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh’s Black Widow debuts in theaters and on Disney Plus’ Premier Access on July 9.