Number Nine on my list of BWCGs is Black Widow, Natasha Romanov. Unlike Deputy Jo Lupo, Romanov probably didn’t start out as a badass, but was twisted by the USSR’s Black Widow Program, which trained young girls to be assassins. Played by Scarlett Johansson, an actor with a strong work ethic, Romanov comes off as badass, but not in a testosterone kind of way. In the recent film Avengers: Age of Ultron, she is the only Avenger who doesn’t feel the need to try to pick up Thor’s hammer; she makes it clear she has nothing to prove. The downside of her portrayal in that film is her getting paired up romantically with the Hulk instead of Hawkeyes (wrong, wrong, wrong) and the whole thing where the graduation ceremony from the Black Widow Program is getting a hysterectomy. That makes sense in a communist patriarchy kind of way storywise, but it says something about women who are Allowed to be Badasses in Popular Culture. Too many of them are broken in some way.
But I like that Johansson does as many of her own stunts as she can, and from the very beginning in Iron Man 2, those stunts are just PRETTY! She says:
“I like doing the stunts. Oh, sure, it hurts sometimes. I came into work on Winter Soldier some days aching with bruises and bangs, and Samuel L. Jackson, my co-star, would say: ‘So why not just hand over that stuff to the experts, Scarlett, and save yourself from pain?’ I explained to him why I just couldn’t do that. Please don’t think I’m stupid, though. I know my limitations. When Natasha, my character, has to bound 20ft in the air and do four cartwheels, it’s my stunt double Heidi Moneymaker who’s doing that.”
Peachey, James. “Scarlett Johansson Keeping Figure, Doing Stunts…” Daily Mail. 2 April 2014. Web. 20 Sept. 2015.