First Advisor

Amy Balogh

Second Advisor

April Samaras


Regis College

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Students for Professional Advancement

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages



The objectification of the Marvel Cinematic Universe character Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow has been present through the films she has been in. She is merely a sex symbol and seen as just the pretty face, when she leads the Avengers by combat fighting, espionage tactics, and hacking into computers. By employing film theorist Laura Mulvey’s the Male Gaze Theory, Hugo Ingrasci’s theory of the antihero trope, Historian Barbara Hales’ Theory of the femme fatale in film noir, author Michael Manahan’s concepts of the antihero and societal implications, and Director Joey Soloway’s notion of the Female Gaze theory we are to examine the character Black Widow from the Marvel Cinematic Universe through seven Marvel films. Additionally, this research includes interviews, outside source websites, and film posters. Each research section examines the mentioned theories by dissecting each movie to focus on the theory and film instead of the whole movie and theories included. Through these examples of the Male Gaze theory there were prevalent instances of Black Widow that display Mulvey’s theories. Examples of the camera’s angle direction, the dialogue between male and female characters, and the film posters that objectify the Marvel Cinematic Universe character. The character Black Widow visibly shows the femme fatale trope by displaying examples from the film noir genre, spy movies, and Barbara Hales’ results of the femme fatale in film noir of the 1940-50s from certain scenes of certain movies. After evaluating Hugo J. Ingrasci’s antihero trope, the character Black Widow exhibits traits of an antihero trope in multiple Marvel films. In Michael Manahan’s concept of writing an antihero, the character Black Widow is seen as the antihero when it comes to injustice versus justice situations in society and determining her alliance in Captain America: Civil War. The intention of the antihero is to set apart from this view of Black Widow as an object and view the character. However, through the utilization of Director Joey Soloway’s 5

theory of the Female Gaze Theory they dismantle the Male Gaze Theory of Black Widow by focusing on the audience’s emotion through the character’s actions or scenes, the narrative of the heroine, and sociopolitical achievements in dialogue in the Black Widow film. The conclusion of these findings were verifiable as it shows the character Black Widow as a femme fatale through the Male Gaze Theory. However, in the antihero trope and Female Gaze Theory, it humanizes Black Widow, and it dismantles the Male Gaze by focusing on her personality and untold storyline.

Key Words: Black Widow, Male Gaze, Marvel Cinematic Universe, femme fatale, Female Gaze

Date of Award

Winter 2021

Location (Creation)

Colorado (state); Denver (county); Denver (inhabited place)

Rights Statement

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