Never Woke Enough: Disney+ ‘She-Hulk’ Star Tatiana Maslany Says the Phrase ‘Strong Female Lead’ Is Problematic


Tatiana Maslany, star of the upcoming Disney+ Marvel series She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, says the phrase “strong female lead” is problematic, demonstrating once again that even well-meaning praise for woke celebrities will only make them more dissatisfied and insufferable.

Maslany told the Guardian that she finds the “strong female lead” label irritating in an interview promoting She-Hulk.

“It’s reductive,” the Emmy-winning actress said. “It’s just as much a shaving off of all the nuances, and just as much of a trope. It’s a box that nobody fits into. Even the phrase is frustrating. It’s as if we’re supposed to be grateful that we get to be that.”

“I’m really interested in when these [marginalized] voices get to speak without it being like: ‘Oh my God, it’s all women,’ or, ‘Oh my God, this is a story about a queer couple,’ and those stories become as innately expected as they are now special,” Maslany added.

At another point in the interview, the actress appeared to carefully choose her words while talking about what she called “a celebration of female friendship” in the upcoming She-Hulk film.

“It takes time and it’s about finding new ways to tell stories,” she said. “What made me go: ‘Oh OK, this feels fresh and surprising’ is that it feels deeply — if I can use a binary term — feminine.”

“There’s a girliness to it. That word is often used as a derisive term, but to me there’s a celebration of female friendship in She-Hulk that’s really fun,” Maslany added.

While She-Hulk may strike a chord with a niche audience of Tumblr obsessives, it likely will not single-handedly change the fortunes of the troubled Disney+ streaming platform. Last week, the company announced it was lowering its internal projections for user growth as well as hiking subscription prices.

At the same time, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is also suffering, with woke box office busts such as Eternals breaking the superhero films’ massive earning streak and even familiar properties such as Thor: Love and Thunder seeing huge second-week drops in ticket sales.

However, before the MCU even has a chance to course-correct, the studio will continue to put out gratingly woke content that is already in production. Another Disney+ Marvel series, Ironheart, recently announced the casting of both a RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant and a “non-binary” actress.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.


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