Breaking boundaries

Brie Larson: Captain Marvel is a meditation on ‘intersectional feminism’ and ‘female strength’

Brie Larson attend the 91st Academy Awards Vanity Fair party in Beverly Hills, California, on February 24, 2019. (REUTERS/Danny Moloshok)

Outspoken feminist and Oscar-winning actor Brie Larson says she wants her new starring role in Marvel comics first woman-led film, Captain Marvel, to be seen as a meditation on “intersectional feminism” and on “female strength.”

“But what is female strength?” Larson added, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “What are the different ways that can look?”

In the case of Captain Marvel, Larson said, her strength is multifaceted. From a perspective of mental strength, she said, the character is one that she herself strives to be like. She doesn’t “apologize for herself,” even if “she is incredibly flawed and makes a lot of mistakes.”

“She’s not ever shrinking herself down,” the actor explained. “I felt like that was a really valuable trait.”

But the character’s physical strength, she added, is also a major component of her character. So in preparation for the role, she weight-trained for nine months until she was able to deadlift over 200 pounds and hip-thrust over 400 pounds. No-one asked her to put on muscle, she said, but she chose to do so anyway.

“Breaking that boundary of what it means for a woman to be muscular and strong and own your body and use it as a tool, that felt meaningful,” Larson told InStyle.

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I did it for you, superstar

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Off and onstage, Larson has continued to be a powerful proponent of female empowerment. An active member of the Time’s Up movement, Larson was one of the first actors to adopt inclusion riders in her contracts that mandate diversity in casting and production staff.

“Inclusion has to be a choice; it’s not happening naturally,” Larson said. “You really have to fight for it.”

“The movie was the biggest and best opportunity I could have ever asked for,” Larson told In Style. “It was, like, my superpower. This could be my form of activism: doing a film that can play all over the world and be in more places than I can be physically.”

As Marvel Studio’s vice president of creative development Stephen Wacker puts it, “She is Earth’s mightiest hero. Period. Not Earth’s mightiest female hero.”

Larson will be joining Women in the World onstage at our tenth anniversary summit at New York’s Lincoln Center in April. More information about the event can be found here.

Watch the trailer for Captain Marvel below:

Read the full story at InStyle and Entertainment Weekly.

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