As you probably already know, we’ve seen three different depictions of Spider-Man, from Tobey Maguire to Andrew Garfield and to the most recent addition of Tom Holland. And while you may be disappointed (but not really surprised) that all of these actors are straight, white men (after all, they are Hollywood’s favorite), something you might not know is that Peter Parker is in fact contractually obligated to be straight and white (yeah, it’s that bad).
In June of 2015, WikiLeaks released a document from Sony Pictures that contained 276,394 private files, emails, and financial data. The leak was first reported by Gawker, and the traits of Spider-Man (as you can see above) include being male, and not being “a homosexual” unless Marvel portrays the alter ego as gay. And to make it even worse, Peter Parker, must always be Caucasian and heterosexual (I mean, really?)
Sony and Marvel, why are you so narrow-minded? You do realize POC and queer characters can play Spider-Man too, right?
And in fact, they already have (at least sort of). Miles Morales, a character introduced into the Marvel Universe back in 2011, is half-black and half-Latino, and after Parker is killed in the comics, becomes Spider-Man himself. So Sony/Marvel, where are his movies?
“I wouldn’t mind, if Peter Parker had originally been black, a Latino, an Indian or anything else, that he stay that way,” says Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee said. “But we originally made him white. I don’t see any reason to change that.”
Oh, I don’t know Stan Lee, maybe to show minority kids that they can be superheroes too?
Lee then went on to say, “What I like about the costume is that anybody reading Spider-Man in any part of the world can imagine that they themselves are under the costume.” But is that really true?
Sure, anyone can imagine themselves under the costumes, but I guess anyone can’t imagine themselves as Peter Parker since he contractually has to be white and straight. And furthermore, only white and straight boys get to see themselves represented on the big screens and see their imagination become reality.
And if Sony, Marvel, and Stan really believed that anyone can be Spider-Man, why haven’t they put forth the effort to making sure Morales becomes Spider-Man in an upcoming movie? Oh wait, that’s probably because they probably don’t actually believe anyone can be the superhero, and just say it to cover themselves.
In Spider-Man: Homecoming, Donald Glover plays a character named Aaron Davis, Morales’s uncle in the comics, who frequently references his nephew. Although Miles is never named, his existence is hinted at.
Whoa, so Sony issued a liscening agreement where Spider Man is contractually obligated to be straight and white: https://t.co/sxJGMtx3pB
— Camryn Garrett (@dancingofpens) September 3, 2017
People keep saying “what if Batman were black and bi” or “what if Mickey Mouse were black and bi” as if these are bad things???
— Camryn Garrett (@dancingofpens) September 4, 2017
In 2013, Andrew Garfield started talking about a queer Spider-Man and how he’d be up to play one. He even suggested Michael B. Jordan as Spider-Man’s boyfriend, saying “it’d be even better—we’d have interracial bisexuality.”
— Andrew Garfield
So there you have it, folks, our beloved Spidey, and his everyday self contractually lack representation, and probably won’t gain any — despite an actor who played the character petitioning for a change.
“He represents the everyman, but he represents the underdog and those marginalized who come up against great prejudice which I, as a middle-class straight, white man, don’t really understand so much. And when Stan Lee first wrote and created this character, the outcast was the computer nerd, was the science nerd, was the guy that couldn’t get the girl. Those guys now run the world. So how much of an outcast is that version of Peter Parker anymore? That’s my question.”
— Andrew Garfield
Marvel Comics already has queer characters, like Wiccan and his boyfriend Hulkling who are both gay and of the “Young Avengers” comics, Northstar from “X-Men” who is gay and made history in 2012 when he married Kyle Jinadu (marking the first same-sex marriage in a major comic book), and Mystique, also from “X-Men,” who is sexually-fluid.
These characters exist in the comics, but we need them in the Marvel Cinematic Universe too. Everyone deserves to look up at the big-screen and see some sort of version of themselves there.
And to end on a completely different note, if you are in for a laugh, this Spider-Man gif is scientifically proven to be accurate: