Posted on June 17, 2011

‘Green Lantern’ Is Opening. Does It Appeal Only to White American Males?

Gloria Goodale, Christian Science Monitor, June 16, 2011


But, as movies continue to mine classic comic books, some critics suggest they are going retro in more ways than one, returning to the genre’s early weak spots: a lack of diversity and an overwhelming emphasis on white American male power fantasies.

“Hollywood often continues to use a white American male as its default lead character and assumes that viewers of all demographics will be able to identify with him,” says Amy Corbin, assistant professor of art and film studies at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Penn.

The white male becomes the “universal” character who is supposedly compelling for everyone–while when women and people of color play the leads, those films are often assumed to be “niche” films that will only attract a viewing demographic that matches the lead character,” she adds via email.

{snip} In the Green Lantern mythology, the latest wearer of the ring of power is chosen by the ring itself, specifically for the wearer’s strength of will and ability to overcome fear.

The ring is looking for “the best of the best,” says Mr. Chambliss, adding: “You’re telling me that in 2011, on a planet of some 7 billion people, the vast majority of whom are minority faces, that the best of the best is going to be a white guy from southern California?”


This sends a troubling message, he says adding “there are many other figures they could have chosen to make a movie about, but this one is appealing much more strongly to the privileging of white, male American power than many others.”