Scarlett Johansson is glad to see the industry evolving after playing Natasha Romanoff for over 10 years. According to a recently published Hello Beautiful piece, the actress addressed a group of reporters in a press pool for her upcoming Black Widow feature film and discussed the sexualization of her character when she first entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Iron Man 2.
"I have a much different, more evolved understanding of myself as a woman. I'm in a different place in my life," she explained when asked how the MCU has changed during her tenure. "I feel more forgiving of myself as a woman. Sometimes, probably not enough. All of that is what is needed to move away from the kind of hyper sexualization of this character." Johansson pinpointed Iron Man 2 as a key example of her character's objectification. She said although the film was "really fun and had a lot of great moments," Black Widow is "so sexualized" in it.
She recalled her character being "talked about like she's like a piece of something and like a possession." Tony Stark, Robert Downey Jr.'s role, utters the line "I want one" in reference to Natasha. "Maybe at that time, maybe that actually felt like a compliment. You know what I mean?" she said. "My thinking was different. My own self-worth was probably measured against that type of comment like a lot of young women."
But today, Johansson understands her own self-worth better and sees a positive transformation in the character, too. "We're getting like a much more positive message [now]," she said, "but it's really been incredible to be a part of that shift and be able to come out the other side, and not just be a part of that story but actually evolve." Catch the standalone Black Widow during its worldwide premiere on July 9.