Scarlett Johansson Hits Out At The ‘Hypersexualisation’ Of Her Character In Iron Man 2

by : Niamh Shackleton on :
Scarlett Johansson Hits Out At The ‘Hypersexualisation’ Of Her Character In Iron Man 2PA Images/Marvel Studios

Scarlett Johansson has expressed concerns that Black Widow was initially too sexualised.

The long-loved Marvel character made her debut in 2010 in Iron Man 2, with Johansson playing her ever since.


While we know and love Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, for her kick-ass ways, Johansson has admitted there were problems with how her character was portrayed in Iron Man 2. 

She told Collider, ‘I mean, you look back at Iron Man 2 and while it was really fun and had a lot of great moments in it, the character is so sexualized, you know? Really talked about like she’s a piece of something, like a possession or a thing or whatever — like a piece of ass, really. And Tony even refers to her as something like that at one point.’

The scene Johansson is referring to is when Tony Stark turns to Pepper Potts and says he ‘wants one’ while talking about her.


The Jojo Rabbit actor continued:

At one point he calls her a piece of meat and maybe at that time that actually felt like a compliment. You know what I mean? Because my thinking was different.

Maybe I even would have, you know, my own self-worth was probably measured against that type of comment or, like a lot of young women, you come into your own and you understand your own self-worth. It’s changing now.

Scarlett Johansson at the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards (PA)PA Images

Noting that the film was 10 years ago, Johansson explained she’s changed a lot since then and is now a 36-year-old mum. With this in mind, she has a ‘different, more evolved understanding of [herself]’ now she’s in a different place in her life.


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She’s not alone in changing, either; Johansson also believes society is changing, ‘Now people, young girls, are getting a much more positive message, but it’s been incredible to be a part of that shift and be able to come out the other side and be a part of that old story, but also progress. Evolve. I think it’s pretty cool.’

Johansson’s Marvel origin movie, Black Widow, was set to hit cinemas in November of last year but was pushed back alongside several other Marvel movies as a result of the pandemic.

It’s now set for release in cinemas and on Disney+ Premier Access on July 9.

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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Celebrity, Black Widow, Film and TV, Marvel, Scarlett Johansson, Sexualisation


  1. Collider

    Scarlett Johansson on the Sexualization of Natasha Romanoff and Why It Took 10 Years to Make ‘Black Widow’