Diversity and representation in entertainment and media is important, but one activist wants people to realize that there is a category of diversity that many -- including the Marvel Cinematic Universe -- is missing: diversity of physical ability.
Nyle DiMarco, a model and deaf activist, took to social media recently in response to an article by Mic (via Huffington Post) that broke down the MCU's diversity problem by race and gender. Specifically, DiMarco pointed out that disability is an important part of diversity that is left out of most conversations on the subject. However, DiMarco went one step further. He noted that the character Hawkeye is actually deaf in comics but that the MCU made him a hearing character.
"Disability is also a part of diversity, @mic," DiMarco wrote. "HawkeEye is actually Deaf and MARVEL Cinematic Universe made the character hearing."
DiMarco ended up having a longer conversation with Mic about the issue, elaborating that there are specific comic issues where Hawkeye is deaf and that the films could have built on that with a deaf actor but chose not to.
"There are a couple of issues where specifically Hawkeye is deaf," DiMarco said. "And so, they brought in an actor who can hear instead. I think it would have made [better movies] ... if they brought a deaf person in to play a deaf Hawkeye."
And DiMarco isn't completely off base. Hawkeye has been portrayed as deaf in the past. In 1983's Hawkeye #4, writer Mark Gruenwald had Hawkeye made deaf in a story where Crossfire captured Hawkeye and Mockingbird and tested his machine called the Undertaker on them. The machine could cause anyone exposed to it to go into a violent rage and to stop the effects of the machine, Hawkeye put a sonic arrowhead in his mouth. The trick worked, but also blew out his eardrums, leaving the archer hearing impaired and requiring him to wear a hearing aid. While his hearing was restored in "House of M", Hawkeye was rendered deaf again after an encounter with The Clown though that storyline came in after the MCU Hawkeye came about.
DiMarco's call for a deaf Hawkeye in the MCU isn't the first time he's been outspoken about disabilities and the MCU, though his previous issue wasn't with the MCU itself, but instead about AMC Theaters' closed captioning accommodations. Earlier this year, DiMarco shared on Twitter that the theater chain's captioning accommodation -- which required a special device the user has to look at instead of the action on the screen -- skipped lines and made it impossible to watch Black Panther.
At the time, AMC responded by offering to look further into the matter.46comments
Avengers: Infinity War is in theaters now. Hawkeye is set to return in the upcoming fourth Avengers movie, in theaters May 3, 2019.
Do you think Hawkeye should have been portrayed as deaf in the MCU? Let us know in the comments.