Sarah Michelle Gellar calls out ‘backwards’ audiences who don’t want female superheroes

Sarah Michelle Gellar at the Teen Wolf The Movie premiere.

The Sarah Michelle Gellar renaissance is in full swing, and the Buffy The Vampire Slayer icon is coming for anyone who has a problem with female superheroes.

Gellar starred as Buffy in the hit supernatural show for six years at the turn of the millenium, so she knows a thing or two about becoming a seminal female protagonist.

But despite Buffy’s success, some other female screen icons with otherworldly powers have not been so well received. From Catwoman (2004) to Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel (2019) and Wonder Woman 1984 (2020), there’s a string of superhero movies helmed by female characters that have been shrugged off or discredited by audiences. 

Speaking to The Guardian, Gellar, expressed her frustration at the lack of respect women-led superhero films receive. 

“Genre is where women can really succeed and hold an audience,” Gellar said. “Every time a Marvel movie tries to do a female cast, it just gets torn apart.

“Unfortunately, audiences weren’t as accepting. There’s still this mentality of ‘the male superhero’, this very backwards way of thinking.”

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As the face behind one of this generation’s most beloved female heroes, Gellar is no stranger to speaking out about Hollywood’s male dominated and often misogynistic culture.

Further on in the interview, Gellar revealed that she still isn’t “taken seriously by men on sets”.

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“I still feel the need, sometimes, to read [out] my résumé,” she said. ‘Like: ‘How many of these shows have you done? How many experiences have you had at 2am with 250 extras, a late shot, a stunt – all of these things? I not only have produced it, but I’ve also been in it. Listen to me, because I know where I’m coming from.’”

Chloe Rose Robertson, Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Bella Shepard attend the "Wolf Pack" Premiere
Sarah Michelle Gellar with Chloe Rose Robertson (L) and Bella Shepard (R), her Wolf Pack co-stars. (Getty/Jesse Grant)

In December, Gellar spoke out about a ‘toxic’ set she worked on when she was younger, with many fans assuming she was referring to her time on Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

The show’s creator, Joss Whedon, has faced several allegations of “abusing his power” from former cast members. Whedon has denied the accusations.

Speaking at The Wrap’s Power of Women Summit, Gellar said: “For so long, I was on a set that I think was known for being an extremely toxic male set. [It] was ingrained in my head that that was what all sets were like, and that women were pitted against each other – that if women became friends, then we became too powerful, so you had to keep that down.”

While Gellar’s experience in the industry is undeniably dreadful, it’s made her committed to ensuring younger people she works with now never have to go through anything similar.

On the set of her new show Wolf Pack, which she stars in and produces, Gellar immediately removed one crew member from production after she learnt that he was making someone in the cast uncomfortable by offering them back massages.

Gellar also gave her phone number out to the younger co-stars so that they could discreetly share any concerns, in order to set up a “safety net” that she “didn’t have” while working on Buffy.

Meanwhile, Wolf Pack co-star Rodrigo Santoro recently shared how Gellar has taken steps to look after and protect the cast.

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