Now for the sake of this article, I consider The Avengers to be the OG crew of: Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thor, Bruce Banner, Clint Barton, and Natasha Romanoff. I’m going to remove Bruce Banner and Natasha Romanoff from this equation, since they are kind of an item/power couple and yet both of them have an ‘it’s complicated’ status on Facebook right now. And to keep the list from feeling sparse, I’m going to include Ant-Man for the purposes of this discussion only.
As a feminist, do I see the irony in making a list that ranks women? Yes.
Is that going to stop me? No.
1. Agent Peggy Carter (Steve Rogers / Captain America)
This woman is amazing. After the one-two punch of losing out on a dance with Captain America and, you know, the horrors of WAR, she still went on to become a top agent and founder of S.H.E.I.L.D. To be fair, she is the only one of the women on this list with her own TV show, so I have been able to know her as a more well-rounded person. Weird how I can respect her more because I see that she is a human with strengths and flaws outside of her relationship with a superhero. Huh.
2. Pepper Potts (Tony Stark / Iron Man)
Pepper certainly has had an impressive career. She is in charge of the seriously epic business that is Stark Industries, and seems to be an A+ businesswoman and philanthropist. However, I would say the real thing that impresses me, is that she can make Tony Stark actually listen to her. Nobody else in the entire Marvel universe can do this. Not Bruce Banner, not Cap, and certainly not Rhodey/War Machine. Sure, sometimes she comes off as a nag or a killjoy, but most of the time she is the only thing stopping Stark’s ego from literally destroying the world.
3. Laura Barton (Hawkeye / Clint Barton)
Laura Barton is a kick-ass wife and mother, but she earns a place on this list because of #relationshipgoals. Clint and Laura treat each other with affection and respect in a chill life-partners kind of way. A more stereotypical one-dimensional women would pull some guilt-tripping if their husband ran off to fight killer robots when she was pregnant. Instead, she gives him a pep talk, recognizing that he is able to offer perspective and wisdom to the team that no one else can bring. Boom. Mutual respect. She is an asset to her superhero husband by being a moral/emotional touchstone, not a doormat. He trusts her to tell it like it is. Not to mention she is super cool about his innumerable home improvement projects.
4. Dr. Jane Foster (Thor)
Just because Jane Foster has a job in STEM doesn’t make me give her an auto pass. She’s a world-renowned scientist. I think? Other characters keep telling me she is smart, but they still bring in an old white guy for the scientific heavy lifting. She would be much higher up on this list if she had been Stellan Skarsgård’s role in Avengers.
This character is boring. She discovers that Asgard exists because she was in the right place at the right time. And Thor fell for her because of… no reason that I could tell. It seems that she likes him because he looks like Chris Hemsworth, and he likes her because she looks like Natalie Portman. Which mzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Sorry, I fell asleep writing about her non-character.
5. Hope van Dyne/ The Wasp (Scott Lang /Ant Man)
Some of you might be wondering why the only woman on this list with an actual super suit would be so far down on this list. Well, I’ll tell you. She puts herself under the boot of the patriarchy and it is infuriating! The biggest plot hole in “Ant-Man” is that Hope van Dyne is 10000% more qualified to be the new Ant Man than Scott Lang. Everyone in the movie seems to acknowledge this fact. She is a brilliant scientist, an ant expert(?) and a kick-ass martial artist, but she doesn’t take on the superhero mantel because HER DAD THINKS IT IS TOO DANGEROUS. Instead, she takes a break from fake dating (!?!??!!!!) her Dad’s old protege in order to train (and fall for) her Dad’s new protege. *rips out hair* Marvel wanted me to be excited that she got the wasp suit. I would have been, IF she had gotten it before the final battle, instead of after the end credits. You are better than this Hope, step up to the plate.