Does loving Avengers: Age of Ultron make me a bad feminist? Nawwwww Girl.

Spoilers abound. Obviously.

Avengers

I, along with half of the known universe, went to see Avengers; Age of Ultron this weekend. I went with two other gal buds and one dude. Afterwards we went for a drink (or nine) and gushed about the movie. The romance between Black Widow and Bruce Banner barely came up as we all sat around talking about the awesome action sequences, the hilarious Whedon-esque one liners, and the long-awaited character development for the human members of the team.

It wasn’t until I searched for reviews the next day that it occurred to me that anything about the movie could be seen as sexist.

It seems pertinent at this juncture to point out that I am a proud, card-holding, flag-flying member of Feminists-United. (That’s not a thing… I’m a feminist, is what I’m saying). I’m constantly putting movies to the Bechdel test, or rolling my eyes at unnecessary damsel-situations or absurd love triangles. Women are constantly being represented in a condescending way that furthers horrifying gender stereotypes, and it has to stop.

I just don’t believe that Black Widow, or any of the other female characters in Age of Ultron, are a victims of this.

Avengers 2

Firstly, lets put Age of Ultron through the Bechdel test, shall we?

Does the movie have two or more female characters with actual names and lines?

HECK YES. Maria Hill, Scarlet Witch, Black Widow, Laura Barton, Dr. Cho… heck, even our beloved Peggy makes a (heart breaking) cameo.

Do these female characters interact?

Of course!

Are their conversations about something other than a man?

Yup. Nat and Laura have a cute conversation about the baby, and there are other conversations at the party, and within the context of Black Widow’s past (her “graduation” from the Red Room with Madam B).

Okay, great, the movie passes the test. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s feminist-friendly, so let’s dive into some complaints floating around the internet.

Firstly, (SPOILER) the romance between Natasha Romanoff and Bruce Banner. In the article The Avengers’ Black Widow Problem: How Marvel Slut-Shamed Their Most Badass Superheroine by Jen Yamato, she posits that Black Widow is simply a plot device to service the male heroes. She argues Black Widow has been used as a sexual device, and “shipped around” to most of her Avengers team-mates. While I agree with a lot of what Yamato states in this article (the lack of female representation in Marvel toys and products is appalling, and we absolutely DO need more female-led superhero movies, STAT), I have to disagree with her her main point about Black Widow.

In general, women in superhero films are simply there to be the love interest of the hero. Jane Foster, while a hella-smart scientist, is reduced to the girlfriend of Thor. Pepper Potts, Betty Ross, Gwen Stacy, Mary-Jane Watson, all love interests for a hero. These women could be swapped out with any other female character and the result would be the same.

The fact is, Black Widow is different. She’s a kick-ass spy with a dark past and a heart of gold. Yes, female audiences deserve a heroine who stands on her own and isn’t bogged down in romantic drama. But at the same time, Black Widow is a human being, with human emotions and desires. She DID go three movies without a love interest. In terms of Hollywood today, I’d say that’s pretty darn remarkable. Yamato argues that she was sexualized by Tony Stark (who wasn’t?), then paired with Hawkeye in the first Avengers, then kissed Captain America in The Winter Soldier.

Let’s evaluate these moments, shall we? Tony Stark ogling women is nothing new. He was not a love interest, he was simply being true to his (then) womanizing character. As for the first Avengers, what evidence did the movie give that Black Widow was romantically involved with Hawkeye? She put effort into saving him from the mind-control of Loki, then they had a chat about it. Sure, the chat was tender in a way we hadn’t seen Black Widow be before, but as we’ve now learned, that tenderness was born from friendship. If your friend’s mind was taken over by a charming, handsome, yet obviously evil meta-God, wouldn’t you be concerned?

Avengers 3

As an audience we are so conditioned to see romance at every turn, that we made up this romantic moment in our heads (with the assistance of the comic books, of course). We now know that Hawkeye was married with children, and Natasha knew, to the point of being “Auntie Nat.”

Thirdly, the famous kiss in Winter Soldier. Throughout the movie, Natasha was continually trying to set Steve up with “that nurse”. The movie went above and beyond to show that these two were friends, at least, as much as one can be the friend of a super-spy. So at the point when the fan-baiting kiss happened to elude Hydra, we the audience knew there was nothing romantic to it. Was it cheesy? Yes. Was it an example of how Black Widow is being “slut shamed” in the Marvel Movie Universe? I’m not so sure.

Strong women can also be vulnerable. In fact, there’s a strength in vulnerability. We need to allow our kick-ass heroines to also be human, otherwise they’re not relatable. Am I saying all female heroines need love interests to be relatble? Of course not. But they shouldn’t be condemned for having human wants and needs. A big complaint among reviews is that Black Widow was ‘reduced’ to a love interest for Bruce Banner. One could easily argue that it’s the other way around. They are equal characters in this franchise. A romance between them in no way hurt either of their development.

The next point I must disagree with Yamato on, is the way Black Widow’s backstory was presented. “The result is an overdue character exploration for Black Widow that still manages to reduce the baddest bitch in the MCU to a shell of a superheroine who’s sad she can never be a complete woman.” 

Natasha’s monologue about her inability to have children wasn’t about not being a ‘complete woman’. It was about her lack of control over her own life, and yes, her own body. This choice was taken away from her, along with most choices that people get to make every day. The monologue focused on what made her a ‘monster’ in her eyes; she was a killer. The Red Room took away her choices, her power, and her innocence. I believe that’s what she was lamenting.

Avengers 4

Of course, Jen Yamato was not the only reviewer bringing up these issues. Sara Stewartwrote An Open Letter to Joss Whedon from a Disappointed Feminist Fan After Watching ‘Age of Ultron’, where she states that the women in the film were not kick-ass enough. Maria Hill just carried a clipboard, Scarlet Witch doesn’t joke around enough, Dr. Cho gets beat up, Laura Barton is ‘reduced’ to being a housewife, and Black Widow dares to be sad about not being able to have children. Stewart accented her point by quoting Caitlin Moran:

“I have a rule of thumb that allows me to judge, when time is pressing and one needs to make a snap judgment, whether or not some sexist bullshit is afoot. Obviously, it’s not 100% infallible but by and large it definitely points you in the right direction and it’s asking this question; are the men doing it? Are the men worrying about this as well? Is this taking up the men’s time?”

Firstly, this is an amazing quote. Secondly, as it relates to Age of Ultron – yes! Of course, yes! The only reason the topic of kids came up is because Bruce lamented the fact that he could never have what Hawkeye has. The theme of family vs. Superheroing is not new. It has been a trope since Stan Lee first thought, “hey, why don’t we create some people with powers who go around saving people for a living?” Captain America spent a large portion of his screentime wondering where he fit in into the world, and if love, family and a normal life was ever in the cards for him.

Avengers 5

Having Natasha’s backstory include the fact that the choice was taken away from her sat perfectly well with me. Moving on.

Let’s address my biggest peeve with Stewart’s article: “You got Linda Cardellini — Lindsay goddamn Weir! — in your movie, and you made her a housewife. As Hawkeye’s secret spouse (he’s kept his family in some sort of superhero protection program, apparently), she is literally pregnant and in the kitchen for most of her screen time. Sure, she dispenses some womanly words of wisdom and lets the Avengers crash in their Pottery Barn-tastic farmhouse, but seriously? That is some reductive gender shit right there.”

This statement is more condescending to women than anything in the movie. I don’t want to throw around accusations, but what exactly is Stewart saying here? We have women represented from all angles in this movie. We have superheroes, secret agents, scientists, ass-kicking spies, and yes, a housewife. Is Stewart saying that Laura Barton is any less of a strong woman, any less of a valuable character, because she’s a housewife? Feminism is about equality. It’s about respecting a woman’s choice to be whatever the hell she wants to be. If Laura Barton chooses to focus on raising her family, then all the power to her. How dare you reduce the role that so many women choose to make into some sort of anti-feminist ‘gender shit’. I saw nothing wrong with Laura Barton’s character. She is simply another example of a strong woman, doing what strong women do.

Avengers 6

As for the rest of Stewart’s concerns: Maria Hill is a badass agent who stands on her own, has strong opinions, isn’t tangled romantically to any man and can go toe-to-toe with Nick Fury. I see no problem here. Scarlet Witch is an intrinsically dark character with scary powers who doesn’t need Whedon-esque quips to be wicked- awesome. And as for Dr. Cho, she’s a brainy bilingual badass who can science the shit out of anything. Not all characters are going to be able to kick literal ass. Of course she got beat up by Ultron. She stood up to an evil robot, despite obvious personal risk.

Avengers 7

Do we need more superheroine representation? You bet your bippy! More Peggy Carter! Let’s give Black Widow her own movie, and Wasp and Scarlet Witch and Spiderwoman. Let’s include Hellcat, Moondragon and Fire Bird. And more Peggy Carter! Have I mentioned I’d like to see a season 2 of Peggy Carter? Because I would, please and thankyou. Peggy Carter!

Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and like I said, I do agree with some of the issues covered in the articles I mentioned. Women deserve representation in TV, movies, comics and toys. We deserve a strong female character to look up to and emulate. We deserve to have our heroes respected.

I think Joss Whedon is doing that. Or at least, he’s trying.

Age of Ultron boasts more empowered female characters than most of the action movies seen in the last ten years. Is it enough? No. Is it a step? Yes.

I look forward to the next step.

Like some more Peggy Carter???????

Avengers 8

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Does loving Avengers: Age of Ultron make me a bad feminist? Nawwwww Girl.

  1. ORIGINAL POST COMMENTS:

    Charissa29
    Dec 02, 2015
    Bravo

    Dandygram
    Sep 04, 2015
    I am so grateful for you article. This is the type of discussion we need, even catching several points I missed myself. I think you made one mistake, You forgot She-Hulk in our list of strong female characters we are missing!

    Debbiekeithgray
    Jul 28, 2015
    AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHGGGGGGGGG!!!! I usually like your posts, but I didn’t even read thru this one BC IM SICK AND FUCKING TIRED OF PEOPLE PRETENDING THIS MOVIE GOES AGAINST FEMINISM IN ANY WAY. This is Joss Whedon we are talking about, he’s done more in one episode of any of his TV shows, for female characters than 99% of the so called feminists out there. So the badass chick, who climbed a tower of flying aliens in the last movie to win the day, got caught and then rescued. SHE RESCUED HAWKEYE WHO GOT CAUGHT in the last movie. She was also in captivity for all of ten minutes of the movie and it was probably just to keep her from having to choose sides when deciding whether or not to wake up the Vision. Would feminists rather had her get a hole blown in her side like Hawkeye, or die like Quicksilver? And got forbid she’s a straight lady who liked a guy in this movie. Holy FUCK this sensitivity crap is outta control. Do he of different race, gender, sexual identity, sexual preference want to be treated equal for fucks sake?? Cuz it seems like everyone wants to be treated better. Cuz if equal was ok, we wouldn’t hear this shit. No one will be happy until every action star is a fat multi racial post op gay woman who beats all her multi racial thin male slaves, who in turn have their own aids ridden skinny half dead white slaves to pee on and take out their frustrations on. I am a white woman who is married to a biracial male, and I was happy with the state of equality till now. Equal opportunity making fun of everyone, but that’s gone now and it’s gone way too far. Now you are looked down upon for being in shape, not a slut, and wealthy. It’s a sick sad world.

    Toni_watches Jul 28, 2015
    I appreciate your candor, and your passion.
    This post is about how the movie isn’t offensive to women. We are in agreement. Maybe read it? And go to a
    kick-boxing class to let out some aggression. That usually helps me.

    roxy477
    Jun 24, 2015
    I agree with everything u said except for one thing…I don’t think it was really necessary for Scarlet Witch to have that breakdown. It couldn’t have been her brother? it would have made the whole Quicksilver saving Hawkeye thing better if Quicksilver had been the recipient of Hawkeye’s speech. I do agree that this movie isn’t particularly sexist though, and they better give agent carter a 2nd season!

    kryptonkalel27
    May 30, 2015
    Nah it just makes you someone who likes a shitty movies

    scrapheap1976
    Jun 03, 2015
    So movies that you don’t like are automatically “shitty”? And here, I thought people have different tastes in movies.

    WildPict
    May 28, 2015
    BTW, I totally agree that we need lots more of Agent Carter!

    WildPict
    May 28, 2015
    I’m right with you on the AoU, and women in comic books, movies, and in comic book movies. And this from a female comic book fan, working in a male-dominated field (mining) on my own terms, and a former Navy Reservist.
    There is absolutely no reason to feel that any female character in AoU was portrayed in any other way other than as a strong, independent and proud woman. And especially Hawkeye’s wife, who has made her choice to be a housewife and mother, and who runs that household whether or not Scott Barton is able to help her out or not. And considering his job, he’s probably not home near as often as they both would like.

    Garyness
    May 18, 2015
    sometimes people need to just enjoy something instead of thinking about political agendas. Who cares if it doesn’t go along with feminism, if you enjoyed the movie you enjoyed it. I don’t think everything needs to be analyzed. Black Widow and Hulk got a flimsy love story, it happened, nobody bought it, doesn’t change the fact she’s a badass.

    Tanis_Ketra
    May 18, 2015
    Great read! And the best line of the whole article:
    “Feminism is about equality. It’s about respecting a woman’s choice to be whatever the hell she wants to be.”
    Thank you, this fundamental part of feminism is far too often forgotten. Feminism is about celebrating strong independent thinking women. A woman can be equally self empowered as a housewife or an astronaut. There should be no shame in choosing to be a wife and mother. Just as there should be no shame in choosing to be neither of those things. Feminism is about allowing women to make those choices for themselves.

    elizabethchilds
    May 16, 2015
    I think what I disliked most about the Bruce/Nat storyline in AOU is that it felt… rushed and contrived and sort of like they just wanted to throw the two together and slap a relationship label on it. As we know Natasha has not been very open or forthcoming about her life and what she’s been through, so I was a bit confused when she was so vulnerable with Bruce because we have never seen the two as “close” before this movie (correct me if I am mistaken). I figured if she would open up it would be to one of her best friends (ie: Clint or Steve), and found her pretty OOC for most of the movie. The biggest save for her character came at the end when she refused to run away and leave the fight to everyone else, though I was taken aback when she offered to just go on the lam with Bruce in the first place. Natasha is a complex character, and an Avengers movie was not the proper place to try and shell out her personality while simultaneously giving her a love interest. It wasn’t the time or the place. Give her a Black Widow movie and try it there, but don’t cheapen her by speeding through her development to get it over with. Black Widow is one of my favorite characters and I hated to see her storyline so sloppily done.

    ParanoidAndroid
    May 14, 2015
    I love this film so much, zucchinis for everyone!

    ElisabethMuld
    May 14, 2015
    Also the back handed and asinine compliments you’ve been given in the comment section is appalling. Lesbians and victims have ruined feminism? Wow. I should know better by now to not try to read comments, youtube should have taught me better.

    ElisabethMuld
    May 14, 2015
    I love your article, well researched and you really went into it. My favorite kind of articles. I just wish you hadn’t phrased it the way you did. Liking or not liking Age of Ultron has nothing to do with your status as feminist or possibly being a bad one. I didnt think the movie was good for a variety of reasons, but I don’t think it had anything to with me being a “good feminist”, All you’ve done now is just sort off rally a bunch of people who are chomping at the bit to damn those damn feminists and their critiques. At the end of the day this movie did barely pass the Bechdel Test which itself is the absolute BARE minimum for female representation/interaction and everything Black Widow did WAS directly tied to the Hulk. Whether or not that made the movie good or bad is a totally subjective opinion.
    So you’re a feminist and you liked the movie. Thats awesome. Thats great. You werent the only one, loads of people went to see it. That doesn’t make you a “bad feminist”. Just makes you a person who liked a potentially problematic movie. Nothing wrong with that, but it is what it is.

    ionee24
    May 14, 2015
    If anything, I would say Wanda was made the killer under a knife. At least, it’s how Captain America describes it: war hasn’t stopped for [the Maximoff]. I think it’s easier for Rogers to relate because he was experimented on, about the same age as Wanda, and for the same reasons (he was powerless to fight in WWII).
    Wanda and Pietro were stripped from who they were by a very human tragedy: their parents died. But the experiments empowered them in the same sense as Captain America was empowered. And that power is what drawns Ultron to them.

    phoxenisiles
    May 13, 2015
    I SAY YES TO ALL OF THIS. Natasha Romanoff is a WOMAN, she CAN FALL IN LOVE, and that doesnt reduce her to anything. LAure Bartn is a WOMAN, she can choose to be a MOTHER, one of the most holy things there is, and actually, with a husband going around risking his life, taking care of her children must be essential for her, noone can reduce her of being a useless housewife when she makes a choise to take care of her children, and I DONT KNOW, CHILL, MAYBE? Not everyone has to kick ass in a war. And Maria Hill is badass even while carrying a clipboard, sassing all over captain.
    BESIDES,
    Natasha’s monologue about her inability to have children wasn’t about not being a ‘complete woman’. It was about her lack of control over her own life, and yes, her own body. This choice was taken away from her, along with most choices that people get to make every day. The monologue focused on what made her a ‘monster’ in her eyes; she was a killer. The Red Room took away her choices, her power, and her innocence. I believe that’s what she was lamenting.
    THISSSSSS!!!! I hate that everyone just overlooked this simple fact because they wanted to throw shade on Joss whedon. IT WAS NOT ABOUT NOT BEING WOMAN ENOUGH TO PRODUCE BABIES. IT WAS ABOUT BEING LITERALLY TURNED INTO A KILLER UNDER KNIFE. Does anybody even think about the hormonal changes a sterilization could cause on a woman that age? Does anyone ever stop to think that maybe just maybe she wouldnt even want babies, but now that she cant it sucks? Ugh. Being stripped from who you are in every means and being forced to kill, that was what she meant when she said monster. And I think all this shit just happened because of shipwar, frankly. If she would have ended up with clint most of the people who are going on saying BUT SHE IS A ROMANTIC INTEREST NOW SHE IS NOT AS APIC would just sit and grin. UGH.
    A woman can fall in love. A woman can be fed up with being a badass spy who kills people for years and want to dissapear, and then come to her senses and HAVE ANOTHER BADASS MOMENT BY THROWING HER LOVE INTEREST OFF OF A CLIFF OR WHATEVER. SHE IS A WOMAN. She doesnt have to be loveless or without romance to be a strong independed woman character. UGH.
    Sory to explode all over your post. IT WAS SO GREAT THAT IT MADE ME FEEL THINGS OK? Thank you for all of this.

    roxy477
    Jun 24, 2015
    im not insulting your comment, I actually thought it was pretty good, but could you give the caps a rest maybe?

    phoxenisiles
    May 18, 2016
    I see this a thousand years later, but as you can see, exaggerating and overreacting is part of my nature, and I was very enthusiastic at the time.. But you are right, now that I look at it again, I’ll try to contain myself next time 😀

    Like

    1. ORIGINAL POST COMMENTS PART 2

      LilacFeathers
      May 13, 2015
      “If Laura Barton chooses to focus on raising her family, then all the power to her. How dare you reduce the role that so many women choose to make into some sort of anti-feminist ‘gender shit’. I saw nothing wrong with Laura Barton’s character. She is simply another example of a strong woman, doing what strong women do. ”
      THANK YOU! Choosing to focus on our children AND RAISE THEM RIGHT is NOT a backwards step. It is NOT anti-feminist. It doesn’t reduces us to ‘barefoot and pregnant’ and nothing but an adjunct to men. As someone who CHOSE to be a stay at home mom for many years it doesn’t mean I gave up all power and did nothing but bake cookies and run a vacuum around. I wrote books, I planned to return to school to get ANOTHER college degree thankyou very much. It just meant that for several years I put the needs of my child at the top of my list.
      I’m not in any way bashing women who work, nor am I saying staying home is the only choice women should make, but darnit I am tired of women bashing women who CHOOSE to stay home for their kids for a few years. Sheesh. Talk about sexism ….
      You wouldn’t believe how many times I had to defend my decision. How many times I heard a fake laugh and “How nice for you” patronizing tone. How many times other women’s eyes would glaze over and look pityingly at me.

      Toni_watches
      May 13, 2015
      Feminism IS choice! Good for you for making the choice that was right for you, and not feeling pressured to do
      what society thinks you should.

      AeonAngel
      May 13, 2015
      The thing that bothers me with the Nat/Bruce romance, is that for many of the other appearances of Natasha in MCU, it’s been implied that she was in a relationship of some kind with Hawkeye, (I will never shut up about the Necklace) but what made it so great was that this relationship happened entirely off screen.
      Ultimately, this ‘off screen’ relationship allows a viewer could choose to pretend it was not even there, if so inclined, but it felt like a little easter egg for fans of the comics that loved the BlackHawk relationship.
      This left Natasha in the rare position of being a woman in a male dominated series that isn’t part of some obvious romantic entanglement, and I loved that. All too often, women as characters can’t just be fellow heroes, or friends of heroes, they have to have some romance too. I get that they’re trying to build a balanced character, but why not give her an unexpected hobby, like knitting, or have her be a member of a book club? Why does she have to be further defined by a romantic relationship with a male character?
      In the end, we got a smooshed-in romance between two characters that (to me) seemed to come from a place of ‘what can we do to develop Bruce and Natasha further as characters? … I know, let’s hook them up!’
      AoU was super crowded with characters and subplots as it was, I feel like a new romance, if it had to exist at all, should have happened in a solo movie, where it had a bit more room to develop. I just think they could have done better.
      (Full disclosure: As a BlackHawk shipper, I kinda hoped that at some point, they’d just casually say, ‘oh hey, Nat and Clint have been married for three years’ and move on, with it having no effect on the grander story. But, I promise, that’s not (exclusively) what bothered my about Bruce/Nat)

      ionee24
      May 14, 2015
      I was under the impression Nat had history with Clint, which made their entire confrontation – at the first movie – feel earned. Every male character had a thing back then: Thor was trying to bring Loki back home, Captain America to feel at home, Tony to finish homework in order to go back to Pepper and so on.
      Hawkeye was Natasha’s thing; the Loki to her Thor, the home to come back to, the homework she had to finish, the brother in arms she was trying to avenge. As such, Hawkeye empowered her as much as any nemesis, challenge or superpower would.
      In Age of Ultron, however, Natasha didn’t have her own thing; Captain America had SHIELD, Tony had Ultron, Hawkeye had a family, Bruce had her, but Natasha herself never had any challenge, nemesis or something to overcome personally.

      ionee24
      May 12, 2015
      @Oenc: The movie made The Black Widow said so herself; there was no place for Nat in this world, because – after the ceremony – she couldn’t bring children to it. It wasn’t something she was born with. It was something that was done to her, something that compels Romanoff to validate herself to Banner, the very character that abandoned her by the end of the movie.
      The implication is clear that, should Nat have been as fertile as Laura, then The Black Widow would’ve kept the character she was validating herself to around, much like Laura does with her husband by the end of the movie. Hence how the movie taps into fertility as a source of power and infertility as lackthereof.
      * For some reason I can’t reply to the post, so I had to put it here.

      vampman87
      May 12, 2015
      I find it hard to believe that 90% of the focus on feminism is focused on Black Widow not being “badass enough” when there was a character that overshadowed anything she could do – Scarlet Witch. Black Widow is a Badass Normal. She can kick the asses of any normal person but struggles against super-powered beings. She could barely take out a single Ultron Drone in physical combat, and then there were the Powered Drones were able to take on all the male Avengers (besides Hulk) at once… and then there’s the Super Drone at the near end of the movie which Widow had NO chance of beating. Now Scarlet Witch, on the other hand, was able to take out DOZENS of Ultron Drones and Powered Drones, and even ripped out the Ultron Super Drone’s battery with her mind. Not to mention that Ultron himself stated that while he and Quicksilver would be able to HURT the Avengers, Scarlet Witch would be able to flat out destroy them with her mind tricks. Plus, unlike Black Widow, Scarlet Witch doesn’t seem to have an ounce of sexuality to her. In my opinion Scarlet Witch is everything a feminist wants in a female superhero, so why is she overlooked in favor of the “normal” member of the team?

      ionee24
      May 13, 2015
      I’d say Wanda gets overlooked because she isn’t the strongest female role in the ensamble, but rather a breakthrough role. As engaging and solid as The Vision or Pietro, but hardly a female role that sustains the main plot.
      More to the point, while Scarlet Witch wasn’t sexualized in any way, Wanda was certainly romanticized by Ultron: he builds himself a body more appealing for her, seeks out her complicity and even shows concern over her impending death. An impulse that Vision himself carries out as he takes her away. She’s hardly a damsel, but she’s hardly a badass either.

      Oenc
      May 12, 2015
      Excellent rebuttal. I am shocked they writers you quoted would say all those things. Do they not know Joss Whedon? Whedon is very good at writing strong woman, that is his forte after all. None of his female characters where ever defined by the men they were involved with. He wrote them to stand on their own and own their decisions and development. Buffy, Willow, Tara, Echo, River Tam, Fred… omg so many women. I don’t know how they could accuse him of not respecting these female characters from the comics. He is a geek who develops great women leads.

      mori1bund
      May 12, 2015
      THANK YOU very much for this article!!!

      Ankh49
      May 11, 2015
      I love this article so much I’m going to post it to my facebook page. You made some excellent points here. I think that some women as well as some men forget the true meaning of the word ‘feminism’ which is a belief that women are equal to (not better than) men. I personally find women who belittle other women for choosing to devote their time to raise a family or be a housewife as sexist as men who belittle women for being weak. It is about being choose for yourself what you want to do and not being made to feel ashamed of your choice. One of the things I love about Joss whedon is that he writes strong and interesting female characters. I other writers will follow his lead.

      StefaniaCryn
      May 11, 2015
      If this “feminism” s**t is everything ppl found wrong in this movie than it must be great (haven´t seen it yet… ).
      Sure.. the REAL world still has a long way to go for the female rights but let´s not put this issues in a comic book movie. If u liked the movie just say what u found great about it.. don´t look for stuff to complain just because u like feeling righteous.
      IN THE COMIC BOOK WORLD …ALL super heroes have a big problem.. personal life… if u dare to have one you can be sure a bad guy at some point will kidnap, threaten, mutate and god knows there are a lot of ways to kill someone in a comic book… Untill the writers find a way to give the superheroes a safe world where they can have a family… in other words when there will be no more comic books… all those super nice guys and gals defending the planet have all the right to complain, to hide their family and to look for love any way the writers feel like…
      IN my view of the fantasy world… all those superheroes are putty in the hands of women and that is Female power! The Black Widow kiss with Captain America… spy stuff… and I haven´t heard of any1 complaining about his rights to complain sexual harassment and slap her for being so forward… (see what i did there?!? ). She is a kick ass spy who will put all the bad guys through a wall if she needs to… but do we get to see guys beating bad girls?! Nope… and let´s not forget this is COMIC BOOK world! there are a lot of bad girls.
      All this complaining… it´s not feminism .. feminism is same rights for all .. I want to be called person and not female or male.
      Also Agent Carter must come back… she is THE MAN!

      ZamielCrow
      May 11, 2015
      Another thing Yamato and Stewart ignore is that Scarlet Johansson was pregnant during the filming of this movie, and as such was not given as much “ass kicking” as before to avoid having most of her part played by a stunt double. She simply couldn’t do the stunts this time, folks. That’s not a sign of weakness; It’s a sign of not wanting to endanger her child.

      muswp1
      May 12, 2015
      That’s a fact a lot of people that find convenient to forget about.

      vb9756
      May 10, 2015
      I don’t understand. A feminist is someone that advocates or supports the rights and equality of women. A feminist is *not* someone who insists that women act a certain way. To me, that means women have the right, for example, to act like a damsel in distress *or* a superhero. They can also change their mind and have the experience of being both (at different times of course).
      Also, gender equality doesn’t require a particular role to be represented in equal *quantity* among genders. For example, if you don’t see an equal number of men in the story about the amazon women, there’s nothing wrong. It’s also not necessary to make half the women lesbian, half the women black, half the women … etc. I mean, how many black (and other color) lesbian women of different nationalities must be in a story before someone is accused of being sexist, racist, homophobic, homoerotic, etc.? This whole idea is getting extremely misused, misunderstood and completely out of hand. Just stop it! 🙂
      ——-
      I like seeing both male and female superheroes. However, it wouldn’t be a problem for me if I only saw female (or male) superheroes. In other words, I don’t think something’s wrong if a women wants (or doesn’t want) to be a superhero. Something’s wrong when a woman isn’t allowed to make that choice — even if she’s the only woman that wants to make that choice.
      Life often consists of situations involving “Heroes, Villains and Victims”. Men and women are free to play any and all of those roles. Sometimes, the same person plays multiple roles. Sometimes, all the people involved are of the same gender, sometimes they’re straight, sometimes they’re gay. In fact, I’ve often played all three roles in the same situation: I saved myself from a situation I created all by myself.

      ZamielCrow
      May 10, 2015
      You’re witnessing the difference between two camps of feminism.
      Equality Feminism is made up of people who advocate and support the rights and equality of women, as well as understanding that in doing so we cannot devalue the equality of men, transgender people, or anyone else. This is the feminism that you may think of when you think of benevolent, equal-rights feminism. It’s the feminism that recognizes that women are people, just like men, and that we all want love, respect, and to be allowed to be ourselves.
      Gender Feminism, AKA “Victim Feminism” or “Third Wave Feminism” is the cult-like belief that in order for women to be vindicated against “The Patriarchy” and “Rape Culture”, men must be trampled underfoot and women must be portrayed as not EVER needing a man’s friendship, aid, confidence, or support. It is as much a hate group as it is a pro-women group. It is concerned with VENGEANCE, not equality.
      Christina Hoff Sommers says all this more eloquently than I can, but the bottom line is that a lot of people calling themselves “feminists” are not actually feminists; They’re angry, bigoted people carrying loads of emotional baggage (often misinformed) and seeking revenge instead of equity.
      The problem is that these fake feminists make actual feminism look bad. This will only get worse as these extremists continue to act like they’re the banner-carriers for feminism when, in actuality, they’re feminism’s worst enemies.

      Arska
      May 20, 2015
      Christina Hoff Summers is my spirit animal. If everyone was like her, the world would be a better place. I recently made the mistake of correcting someone who believed the awful “1 in 4 women are raped” research made a few years ago. The one that Summers actually talked about herself and said that it holds pretty much no academic credibility and actually would count a husband and wife having sex while drunk as a rape. The response I got to that correction was this:
      “3 paragraphs of bullshit telling women that they don’t know what rape-rape is”
      I can assure you that I only talked about the research not knowing what rape is.
      But these “third wave feminists”… Facts don’t matter for them if they are against their POV. A badly implemented research with a low answer rate and vaguely worded questions is good enough for them because it validates their point of view. It validates the view these people have. And everyone does this. Let’s get that straight. Everyone likes to read good reviews of something they enjoyed. Everyone likes to read negative reviews about something they loathed.
      The difference is, that’s harmless. This is not.
      When these so-called feminists or as I like to say, perpetual victims start painting demons on walls, everyone suffers. Imagine young boys in school that are being raised on the notion that they too are basically rapists until proven innocent. Young boys raised to loathe masculinity. Then there’s the young girls that are raised to be afraid of every single man as a potential rapist with these “1 in 4” buzzwords.
      But whatever. My patience has been running out for a year now. Maybe this was the last straw.

      vampman87
      May 12, 2015
      I remember a documentary on feminism and how it gained a lot of ground in the 60s and early 70s… until lesbians got involved. Back in the late 60s the fear men had against feminists was that any woman who wanted equality would declare that they’d need no man and start exclusively dating women. The involvement of lesbians kind of confirmed their belief, and the feminist movement in the 70s collapsed, leading to the era in the 80s and 90s where women seemed to be portrayed exclusively as housewives almost as much as they were in the late 40s and 50s.
      Nowadays we know that homosexuality is something people are born with and not a choice, but that deep seated fear of “A true feminist needs no man!” is still stuck in the male psyche, and women like this critic who believes Black Widow should’ve taken out all the Ultron drones herself (even though she physically struggles fighting the WEAK drones) don’t help remedy this fear.

      vb9756
      May 11, 2015
      Thanks. That explains a lot. 🙂

      TVanimal
      May 10, 2015
      Just read the article and agree with you completely Toni_watches. And here’s why;
      1) Do Marvel comics need more female superheroes? Yes. people do tend to forget though that when comics first went into publication, gender equality was unheard of so, unfortunately, the classic superheroes are ALL male with the rare exceptions of Wonder Woman and Supergirl. In a nutshell, you can’t blame a network studio for banking on reliable material most people have heard about.
      2) Are the female characters somehow less than their male counterparts? No. Scarlett Witch brought all the Male superheroes to their knees with a touch. Maria Hill helps Fury hold everything together and Black Widow makes a normal, human heroine seem immortal and an essential member of the team. As for past films I’d like to add that Pepper Potts did kick some a** in Iron Man 3 and survived the Extremis virus, not to mention she is vital to who Iron Man is.
      3) Are the female characters reduced to romantic interests? No. With the appearance of Barton’s secret wife came a firestorm of sexist comments. For me, this is exactly what is so dangerous about feminism. campaigning becomes soo aggressive that it can do more harm than good, especially with the rights of freedom and choice as Toni_watches puts so elegantly.
      The future is clear, folks. Let’s look forward to Wonder Woman and Supergirl as the next phase of DC (BvS and supergirl series ) and Marvel cinematic universes unfolds and hope that they don’t stray too far into the sexist (and annoyingly successful/desirable) romantic notions that have plagued us for years and have gone largely unnoticed since Edward and Bella from Twilight.

      SandyTanBayley
      May 10, 2015
      I thought all the women were kick ass and great at what they did, be it a housewife with kids or a super spy. None of them felt like they were in need of rescuing at all. All these so called feminist who complained about this movie just need to lighten up. I can’t think of anyone else in Hollywood other than Josh Whedon who gives women strong roles. Thank you for the article. It was very articulate! 🙂

      JohnMangan
      May 10, 2015
      You have one of your wishes (as do I). A second series of the wonderful AGENT CARTER has been announced.

      RenAlexisCati
      May 10, 2015
      I also read somewhere that as a feminist, they hated that she (Black Widow) was emotional with regards that her fertility was taken from her without her consent, that according to Black Widow it made it easier for them as trained killers to focus more on what they are doing. They hated it because they think it reduced women as just baby carriers which I think is very narrow minded.
      I am reading this book, (1Q84 by Haruki Murakami) and there is a passage there that was said by a Dowager “I’m not saying that a woman’s only purpose in life is to bear children. Each individual is free to choose the kind of life she wants to lead. It is simply not permissible for someone to rob her by force of her innate right as a woman before she has the opportunity to exercise it.”
      So yeah, just because we learned about this about Black Widow does not make her less of a bad ass, I for one sees this as one of the struggles that makes her more bad ass, and seeing how she opened up and make her self vulnerable makes her stronger.
      So yeah, I totally agree with this post!

      ionee24
      May 10, 2015
      Game of Thrones also deals with infertility in terms of power source; a woman is less of a woman if she can’t bear children, thus what makes Daenerys such a powerful concept as barren woman for she had found a way to be mother, to experience power where the was none.
      Age of Ultron taps into the idea of Natasha being less powerful because she can’t bear children, but somehow fails in presenting the alternative: Stark & Banner create life, but such life is Ultron. Then Thor himself creates life, but Vision recognizes humanity as a lost cause he just wants to be part of.

      WildPict
      May 28, 2015
      I didn’t see Natasha being less powerful because she couldn’t bear children. She was responding to Banner’s comment that he couldn’t give her a child, and she told him the fact that she couldn’t have children anyway, since that choice was taken from her. I found her strength in being able to tell Banner such a painful fact, especially given the circumstances behind it, to be inspiring.

      ionee24
      May 10, 2015
      Could Wanda create life? Could Captain America? They were fundamentally altered too, so it doesn’t seem likely. But the story doesn’t link their power to whether or not they can have children, in fact it doesn’t even pose the question.
      All the more reasons to raise an eyebrow when the question is posed regarding the Black Widow.

      Oenc
      May 12, 2015
      I do not see how AoU made Natasha less powerful for being infertile. Joss Whedon isn’t about that either. She was like that since she was a child. She was responding to Hulks emotional reasoning that he could not give her anything more while also bringing in some backstory of the Black Widow programme (the only other place we glimpsed it was in Agent Carter). I thought it was very interesting to catch this glimpse. The point they were trying to make was more to do with how they viewed themselves as Monster (we haven’t seen the darker side of Black Widow and all the evil things she has done in her past). Her being infertile is more a matter of fact. This is what they did to me, I have no choice like you (Hulk/Banner) don’t either – We are the same. I don’t see it at all as a “woe is me” and I am less of a woman and less powerful now that I have revealed this about my body. When she said it even, I was like…oh yeah that makes sense. Like I said, Whedon wouldn’t take a woman’s power away, he isn’t like that. He is an advocate for women and their choices and power.

      GreyMinerva
      May 10, 2015
      But both Cap and Wanda CHOSE to be made different, even though they could scarcely have understood all the implications.
      I do NOT see the notion that Nat is less powerful as a result of her forced sterility, but she seems to feel that it leaves her with fewer options – i.e. it makes her a better killer, but she might make a less desireable romantic partner for someone who does want biological children of their own.
      (As Bruce cannot, the two of them are even more of a match. 😉 )

      ionee24
      May 11, 2015
      You said so so yourself: Natasha was denied of the choice which renders her powerless even if the character is the best killer produced by the program.
      By contrast, Captain America has an entire movie devoted to his choice, so did the Hulk for that mater, Wanda may not have one yet, but the AOU movie never poses the question for her or the male Avengers. It purposedly poses it for what is arguably the strongest female role in the ensamble (the Black Widow).

      RenAlexisCati
      May 10, 2015
      I also read somewhere that as a feminist, they hated that she (Black Widow) was emotional with regards that her fertility was taken from her without her consent, that according to Black Widow it made it easier for them as trained killers to focus more on what they are doing. They hated it because they think it reduced women as just baby carriers which I think is very narrow minded.
      I am reading this book, (1Q84 by Haruki Murakami) and there is a passage there that was said by a Dowager “I’m not saying that a woman’s only purpose in life is to bear children. Each individual is free to choose the kind of life she wants to lead. It is simply not permissible for someone to rob her by force of her innate right as a woman before she has the opportunity to exercise it.”
      So yeah, just because we learned about this about Black Widow does not make her less of a bad ass, I for one sees this as one of the struggles that makes her more bad ass, and seeing how she opened up and make her self vulnerable makes her stronger.
      So yeah, I totally agree with this post!

      GreyMinerva
      May 09, 2015
      Thank you! I agree COMPLETELY with what you’re saying!
      I thought the romance between BW and Banner/Hulk was portrayed very well, in that I imagine Natasha is just as scared of an actual relationship as she is of Hulk – and she’s approaching both carefully, step by step, and with no small amount of trepidation.
      But that’s what makes her such a great hero: She never let her fear of Hulk stop her from doing what needed to be done, or from working with him – and she doesn’t let her fear of love stop her from pursuing it.
      The fact that she cannot have children is canon, and I think it was handled very well – the male character lamented the fact that HE was unable to have children of his own, and Natasha related in a perfectly realistic fashion. Would she have chosen to bear children if she was able to? Not necessarily. But she wanted the CHOICE to be hers.
      I was actually quite shocked when I realized the movie had sparked a SJW shitstorm, as I imagined the biggest protests would come from a million fanfic writers who would grip their hair in anguish while screaming “We got Jossed!” – as the Clint Barton/Phil Coulson-pairing was shot down once and for all.
      Damnit.
      I like that one. 😉

      ionee24
      May 09, 2015
      I’ve got to agree with this. To me, the problem was on the stakes, while the connection felt genuine neither Banner nor Romanoff were at a position in which which leaving together – or one another – would mean a tragedy.
      Pepper & Tony worked so well in the First Avengers movie because he had just committed to be with her and she had just embraced the reality of being with Iron Man, so the Avenger were a full load they both had to deal with and a recognizable stake for the audience.
      Barton & Laura work because, by the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it made perfect sense that Clint would have a whole family only Nat was privy to. Thus it was an actual stake for any of them to lose one another.
      Even Wanda and Vision’s first encounter carried all the weight you would expect from future husband & wife, without hitting the audience over the head with it.
      Just like Vision & Wanda were nowehere near ready to start a relationship – or for it to be conflicting for Captain America – Banner & Romanoff weren’t at a state in which a separation or an elopment would be an actual stake for the audience.

      GreyMinerva
      May 09, 2015
      I’m not American, and I have only a superficial familiarity with the comics, so canon pairings aren’t really something I’m aware of.
      However, I thought it worked very well to make Bruce and Nat less established, more “we’re trying to figure this thing out”. Because it makes the movies feel more like a continuum, like the characters have lives outside the movies themselves, where time passes and friendships and relationships develop and grow the way they do: Step by step, not all at once.
      And so, having the two of them playing with the possibility of a relationship, without being so far along as to be ready for rings and vows, makes perfect sense.
      The fact that Nat is willing to give it a go at all is pretty monumental for the movie-verse character, at least, but – and I suppose you could call this “un-feminist” of Bruce – he doesn’t give her a choice, just up and leaves.
      Granted, after the day he’d had, I’d say he’s excused for making some rash or stupid decisions.

      Oenc
      May 12, 2015
      GreyMinerva, your assessment on this particular pairing is spot on. I too loved how understated it was. One cannot just jump into “epic” before a foundation is laid and questions are asked. They weren’t even in a relationship yet anyway. They were friends and are exploring the possibilities. I loved their dynamic and the outcome made sense.

      ionee24
      May 10, 2015
      For one, Natasha would’ve been doomed to an unrequited crush on Betty Ross’s lover – from the Hulk movies – should this have been canon based, so I reckon the Avengers franshise tried to build the connection from scratch since Romanoff recruited Banner.
      Albeit genuine, I feel their connection didn’t carry the same weight as Tony & Pepper’s on the first film, not because Bruce & Nat were less established asa couple, but because the decision to go steady wasn’t a crossroad or a gamble for the characters involved.
      Where Vision was gambling his very existance with the last minute rescue of his once and future bride, and Wanda was at a crossroad herself the day she met him, neither Banner nor Romanoff felt like they had something to lose by the time the movie demanded it the most.
      If anything, the point was made Natasha would go on whether or not she was rejected, and Bruce would leave the team whether or not Natasha lived.

      ionee24
      May 10, 2015
      @GreyMinerva: it wasn’t epic love but a dramatic choice what was demanded from the characters, a life altering choice not unlike Thor’s when he brought Vision to life, or Maria Hill’s when she chose S.H.I.E.L.D. over Stark enterprises and tells Fury where Tony is hiding.
      Even if Romanoff & Banner would’ve been platonic friends, the plot required a gamble it was already established this was not going to be for them. Hence why the connection, albeit genuine, didn’t carry as much weight.

      GreyMinerva
      May 10, 2015
      Once again: From a real-world-perspective, this makes perfect sense.
      Cause I gotta tell you – I met Mr. Right, and eight years, a wedding and a kid later I got divorced, and although the Marvel-verse is filled with Epic Love and dying for your love and epic revenge sprees because someone or other got fridged – in real life, you meet someone, you think you may be falling in love, but it doesn’t mean you DIE without them, or that NOW is the time to elope from everything forever.
      So Bruce needed to lose himself for a while after the epic Hulk-shaped disaster, and he wasn’t ready to try the whole “love”-thing while he was busy with the giant guilt-fest – I’m ok with that. It makes sense.
      He has a history of not wanting his ladylove to suffer alongside him, and both of his love interests have fairly important jobs on their own.
      Anyway: I’m OK with a lovestory that is low-key and maybe not so EPIC – because you know what? That’s life. &3 🙂

      Like

      1. ORIGINAL POST COMMENTS PART 3

        Aesandil
        May 08, 2015
        Great article. And to answer the titular question: no, I don’t think it does, either (but they don’t give out feminist card clubs to guys as readily, so I might not fully know).
        You bring up some important points. Certain feminists can be surprisingly oversensitive and take their views to the extreme, such as considering a woman who isn’t literally kicking ass to be a lesser being when compared to male counterparts. But to an extent I also understand where it comes from, as housewifing wasn’t exactly a conscious choice for many women as much as it was an expected path or activity over generations past.
        Marvel is definitely silly and behind the times with its lack of merchandise for women and a dire lack of female centered movies. But the fact that many of the better known comic characters are males also has it roots in the past. Just at the undeniable fact that most of Marvel’s leadership consists of guys from older generations, at least some of whom seem to be firmly stuck in sensibilities and ideas of their upbringing.
        There is something about the audience being conditioned to see romance everywhere. When you mentioned the kiss between Black Widow and Captain America, I had to stop and think for a while: ugh, what kiss? Then I remembered it. I guess I just dismissed that the moment it took place: not so much as baiting on the part of the filmmakers, but because it was a part of the ongoing situation and clearly not a result of any lingering feelings.
        My main problem for having this Hulk/Black Widow pairing happen in the movie was that it sort of felt as tacked on, just because they could. That Joss Whedon picked the most unexpected target for the sake of it. If it had developed organically, if there was some mutual attraction already taking place in the first Avengers or elsewhere… then it would be much easier to roll with this development.
        I would have to disagree about Pepper Potts. The rest of them, perhaps. But she was much more than just a love interest that could be swapped out for any other female character. She held her own, she always had a sensible approach towards Tony, she guided him and certainly didn’t need his approval or love to get by. Not a perfect portrayal, but more than enough for her to win some respect in my mind and not be considered just a bland love interest to dismiss.
        I think that Black Widow (and Scarlett Johansson’s portrayal of her) worked more often than not in these movies. I certainly appreciated the character for much more than just being a badass heroine, especially after the Winter Soldier allowed to show her a greater range.
        Yup, more Agent Carter is certainly what we need. And luckily, it seems also what we will be getting.

        Oenc
        May 12, 2015
        I would love a Black Widow story but it would have to be darker than how they are painting the verse right now. I am talking Netflix DareDevil level dark and that might not fit into the marvel cineverse. But definitely and interesting character to explore her past and her redemption story.

        Toni_watches May 09, 2015
        Dudes are VERY welcome in Feminist-United! Here’s your card, flag, and high five.
        You may be right about Pepper. Perhaps I was too hasty in my assessment there. She does run a company, I
        suppose.

        Aesandil
        May 10, 2015
        Hey, thanks! I shall aim to make proper use of these. *high fives, stashes the card, and goes off waving the flag*

        GreyMinerva
        May 10, 2015
        Also, as far as I can remember, Pepper was the one who actually killed Obidiah Stane.
        I admire any woman who can – to a certain degree – ride herd on Tony Stark. Managing to put up with him for over a decade without going bonkers has got to be a superpower of its own. 🙂

        Jojask
        May 08, 2015
        “Strong women can also be vulnerable. In fact, there’s a strength in vulnerability. We need to allow our kick-ass heroines to also be human, otherwise they’re not relatable.”
        So much that. I remember seeing the movie Salt with Angelina Jolie and thinking how it simply doesn’t work for exactly that reason. Jolie was Captain Awesome from the first minute to the last. And I think it is no wonder it bombed because, really, who cares?

        PutU2REM
        May 08, 2015
        “… the lack of female representation in Marvel toys and products is appalling, and we absolutely DO need more female-led superhero movies, STAT …”
        I don’t disagree. Superhero media/merchandise is predominantly male-oriented for the same reason primary protagonists in YA fiction are overwhelmingly female: the target audience is highly gender-biased, if not in numbers then in dollars spent.
        Perhaps my Y chromosome has blinded me to the true nature of the complaint or the existence of some vast, untapped market of female action figure collectors, but it just seems silly and a bit hypocritical to complain about the quantitative gender-bias in media. After all, no one’s complaining about the dearth of Fifty Shades of Grey knockoffs with male narrators, right?
        Even on the qualitative end of things, feminists have quite a bit of glass in their allegedly not-glass house. Yeah, it’s appalling that the Bechdel Test is even a thing, but female-oriented media (eg, romances in all their sundry forms) are plenty offensive towards men. A male character’s worth is judged by the corrugation of his abs, the size of his bank account, and the ooziness of his charm; he can only be happy while worshipping at the feet of a goddess of mediocrity (ie, the female protagonist); and is only worthy of said worship after sacrificing several major organs on the altar of luuuuv.
        But that’s fantasy fulfillment for you, regardless of gender: appealing on the outside, shameful on the inside.

        Alastor7800
        May 14, 2015
        I disagree with the “males suffer from it too” narrative in this message mostly because i believe the clichés about men you mention are present in most medias (commercials with half naked handsome men who are selling you shaving product is a good exemple, it tells you what medias want us to look like) but are part of the same sexist attitude that reinforce traditional masculinity and feminity which is what feminism is arguing against. When I watch a rom-com that is bad with a quirky girl fantasizing on the hot guy in the office I don’t think “oh this is offensive towards men” I just think it’s offensive towards everyone because sexism of any sort reinforce gender stereotypes and even as a man I don’t want to be stereotype and defined by my gender because it’s regressive and shallow. The important thing is to realize that female-oriented media are not an alternative to patriarchal sexist male-oriented medias, they are simply part of the same way of thinking and they don’t question gender roles in any ways. They are not an alternative.
        As for toy marketing, studies have shown for a long time now that kids don’t use sexual identification in the type of toys they play with, parents do that for them. A kid would play with a doll as much as he would play with a batman toy if no adult is here to prevent him to do so. In that respect the only thing that prevent stores and toys companies to target girls with their toys is their own prejudices against men and women. If they start showing girls playing with super hero toys in their commercials and if their parents don’t tell them it’s for boys, you can be sure little girls will play with those toys as well and so in this respect the fact that girls are misrepresented in marvel / d.c toys is indeed part of the problem.
        The analogy with 50 shades is also quite irrelevant here because, like I said, kids don’t need to see their gender identity reinforced by medias whereas a book/movie like 50shades, because of its erotic contents and because it is specificaly about female fantasies. It is something gender oriented which justifies a marketing that would only target that audience. I assume Anastasia uses her vagina to be sexualy satisfied in 50 shades and so “toys” and products revolving around the book would logicaly be about using your vagina whereas a penis or a vagina is not required to save the world from giant aliens, robots and other threats in a super-hero story (unless it’s a very weird one) and so there is nothing justifying the fact that super-hero stories would only be targeting men except prejudices.
        PS: they are actually plenty erotic novels targeting men.
        Finally the Beschdel test is far from being a test feminists regard with high-esteem. It’s not a very significant test but it does tell you that in mainstream cinema positive interactions between girl characters that are relevant to the plot and not to their sentimental and/or sex life is surprisingly rare. The beschdel test might be appaling, but I find that fact much, much (much) more appaling.

        PutU2REM
        May 15, 2015
        I think you misunderstood what I was trying to say. First, I was not doing the “poor, white male” thing. I was attempting to put the issue in a different perspective by comparing sexism in “male” media with that in “female” media.
        Second, my complaint about the Bechdel Test was an attempt to say pretty much the same thing you did: the problem isn’t with the test itself, but that enough media fail it that it actually has a reason to exist.
        However, I also think you’re wrong to a large degree about the gender divide being the product of sociology. Biology governs psychology far more than people realize, and it’s ignorant, at best, to think that something must be wrong if behaviors/desires/pursuits are predominantly the domain of one gender or another.
        (And as for gender differences being lesser in children, that’s as one would expect whether their origins were biological and sociological, and irrelevant, regardless, because prepubescent children aren’t Marvel’s and DC’s primary money-making demographic.)
        Now, are all women one way, and all men another? Of course not, and we should strive to treat everyone well and fairly, whether they behave typically for their gender or not, but sometimes sheer numbers make “equal” treatment unreasonable, maybe even unfair. Niche audiences always have fewer products marketed to them, whether that niche is defined by gender or not. It’s just not the same thing as paying women less for the same work, or saying they shouldn’t be president because PMS would compromise their judgment. That’s unfair.
        Besides, what’s the point of getting more girls to play with action figures and love superheroes? IMO, that’s patriarchal, implying that equality can only be attained when women behave like men.

        Alastor7800
        May 15, 2015
        Hello again, apologies for misinterpreting some of your ideas. I’ll skip the parts we agree on then and adress the rest.
        “However, I also think you’re wrong to a large degree about the gender divide being the product of sociology. Biology governs psychology far more than people realize, and it’s ignorant, at best, to think that something must be wrong if behaviors/desires/pursuits are predominantly the domain of one gender or another.”
        Saying that biology wildly governs psychology is not that acurate. It’s just a new phrasing for saying that nature predominate nurture in human development which is not something all branches of psychology agree with. Your argument seems to only take into account neuropsychology, or biological psychology (or psycho-analysis to a lesser degree) but many other school of thoughts (behaviorism, cognitive psychology, social psychology, etc.) underlines the weight of the living environment in psychological development. However I’m not refering specifically to gender division as a consequence of sociology, my point is not to wonder wether gender is a social construct or not but to say that it is equally “ignorant, at best” to think that the social environment does not affect at all our perception of gender and so what we take for biological imperative may in fact be a product of an environment. I think it’s relevant to super heros in the medias because what we imply when we say girls don’t like super hero is that girls are not attracted toward physical violence (same narrative we hear in the movie industry about action movies). It’s a well known opinion that is a key point of the post-feminist conception of gender that we see in our society (boys are naturaly more physicaly violent, girls are naturaly more oriented to psychological forms of violences). However recent studies, that I look at for my personal researches , tend to show that it is inacurate and that girls don’t display physical violence because society is more restrictive toward female violence than it is toward male violence. Based on those studies I’ve been reading about female violence and based on studies on kids behavior related to toys, it seems that environment does play a significant part here as well. As for the demo, super hero toys target kids around age 5- 10. Seems pretty pre-pubescent to me.
        Finally concluding that equality can only be obtained when women behave like men is not what patriarchy is about. Patriarchy is a system in which males hold the power. In this system males have privileges women do not have. In this respect, a system in which kids can use toys of their choices with no regards to their genders does not support the idea of male (or female) privileges.
        I do however believe that it would be pointless to promote super heros for girls if nothing were to be done about the type of narratives they are involved in because those narratives often defend values attached to patriarchality (which I believe may be what you implied here.)

        GreyMinerva
        May 10, 2015
        A lot of these male comic fans have and will have daughters – what are they going to get their little princess for her birthdays..?
        That is in addition to all the female fans who might spend more money on merchandise if there was more female-oriented stuff to buy.
        I’m not really all that keen on having busty women in fishnet stockings on display on my bookshelf, you know?
        And as for 50 shades of grey with a male narrator – isn’t that just porn? (Just like 50 SoG?)

        PutU2REM
        May 11, 2015
        The plain fact that is that the few female-oriented superhero comics made thus far have failed to produce the sales numbers of their male counterparts, suggesting that the daughters of men who love comics don’t share their fathers’ love for the medium. Even Wonder Woman has struggled, in spite of the vocal support of critics and social commentators (ie, lots of free marketing).
        Now, one could argue that this is due to creative and/or managerial failures and not a lack of audience, but franchise-creation is capital intensive and risky enough without trying to reach a new, very different demographic.
        And as for Shades of Grey, I have no first-hand knowledge of the franchise, and was under the impression that it was closer to badly written popcorn fiction than porn. Apparently, I was suffering a rare fit of optimism. 😛

        Oenc
        May 12, 2015
        I would think that the female demographic is growing. But back in the day there were very few female comic character movies I actually liked. I found wonder woman extremely dull personally. Super girl was hit and miss, characterless and the female side kicks in the following movies left much to be desired in character too. But I am very hopeful that this is improving because the women we see today are amazingly developed with much more potential and I give that credit to Joss Whedon. The next guy is going to be able to treat the female leads as highly as the male leads. I never once thought any of the female leads in a Whedon film or tv show was ever treated differently to their male counter parts. Wish more writers and directors can treat a charcter as gender neutral such as Ripley’s character from Aliens was written gender neutral.

        GreyMinerva M
        ay 11, 2015
        As I haven’t read it myself, I can’t be entirely sure either – but I know it’s a BDSM AU fanfic based on Twilight, so yeah – it’s porn. :p

        ginneth82
        May 09, 2015
        My 7 year old daughter and her friends would disagree with you, they love superheroes and for Children´s Day (Mexican holiday) there were as many super heroines as princessess at school. This is in Mexico, a country with a highly patriarchial and mysigonist culture. So, yeah, representation is needed and soon they will demand it.

        PutU2REM
        May 11, 2015
        What matters is not the size of the audience but the amount that they spend. Sure, many little girls like superheroes, but how many play with Black Widow action figures, have Lady Sif lunchboxes, or pester their parents to take them to the comic book store every time a new issue of Wonder Woman is released?
        Quite simply, if there was a vast audience of superhero-loving females out there, they would concentrate onto those few female-friendly superheroes that do exist and make them stupidly profitable. That isn’t happening.

        WildPict
        May 28, 2015
        Growing up in the late 60’s through the 70’s, I would’ve bought any female superhero dolls that would’ve been available had any actually been available. And I wasn’t the only girl who wanted to find dolls like that. It’s impossible to buy something that is not available, so I just put a cape around the shoulders of the Barbie and other dolls I did have, and pretended that they could fly.

        I also watched every Wonder Woman episode that was shown. The network still canceled it.

        ginneth82
        May 11, 2015
        But it is happenning because what you have described is my daughter. After watching avengers she asked for a black widow doll and a movie of just her. That is the point, it is happening and before we know it it will be a money grab as well. DC has figured it out, its time Marvel did too.

        Oenc
        May 12, 2015
        I agree and its not just now, it was then too. Marvel has some weird idea of who to make as a toy and who not too, perhaps their female characters were not that interesting enough back then? I remember having a bunch of female and male characters from the He-man and She-Ra cartoons. Children do and will want their favourite characters. Its just that in the past comics were written by boys for boys and they missed a beat with the girls. Psychologically parents might dismiss it as a boy things and get the pink fluffly toy for their daughters. Parents are waking up now especially with older female geeks being more visible now too saying its ok to like comics and heros.

        PutU2REM
        May 12, 2015
        My point is that the sales numbers suggest that your daughter is unusual and that from an economic standpoint, there just aren’t enough girls like her right now to make her demographic worth targeting.
        However, I suspect that won’t be true for much longer. New distribution and manufacturing techniques are making niche audiences more profitable all the time, and while I have no statistics to back me, my perception is that gender-bias in media consumption is declining pretty much across the board.

        titan4lizife
        May 08, 2015
        Wish granted. ABC renewed Agent Carter for season two.

        nickmoose
        May 08, 2015
        Yes, in the name of feminism, the unrealistic, overtly sexual portrayal of women in comic book culture has got to be stopped! But for the sake of fairness, we should also stop the unrealistic portrayal of MEN in comic book movies and culture. So no more skin-tight spandex, no more attractive billionaire geniuses and certainly, no more Thor! Wait a minute, that sounds like it would be pretty boring wouldn’t it? I would probably stop reading comic books and like, go outside or something. SCREW THAT!!
        It’s called fantasy for a reason people. I’m actually starting to miss the days when the vast majority of girls (at least the ones I knew) didn’t give a shit about the way women were portrayed in comics, because they were too busy refusing to date, look at, or even think about any guys who cared about comics! ( a time period I like to call, “the 1930’s-whatever year this whole comic book movie thing got popular”) Personally, I’m not looking for messages in my comic book based entertainment, I’m looking for fun!! And Avengers 2 was pure fun! Plus if feminists are looking for someone to pillory, Whedon is the LAST person who they should be after! He’s did more in the way of advancing the whole feminist doctrine with Buffy alone, than any other individual in the business.

        GreyMinerva
        May 10, 2015
        But in this case, they’re not really mad because of sexualisation or objectification – but because Black Widow is falling in love, because she regrets losing the choice of whether or not to have children – and because Hawkeye’s wife is (or at least appears to be) a stay-at-home mother.
        Which is what makes this so wrong to me – feminism means fighting for CHOICE and EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES, not belittling the ones who make an informed, conscious choice that differs from yours.

        nickmoose
        May 11, 2015
        I have always thought there is nothing wrong with being a “stay-at-home- mother” or, for that matter, being a “stay-at-home-father”. I have a friend who is a stay at home dad, and hell, I’d LOVE to do that! I could work on my cartooning, writing and what-not, take care of the kids if we had some- and my wife could bring home the bacon! I’ve never had a problem with that concept!
        And I don’t see anything wrong with Widow regretting the fact that she was forced to not be able to have kids, and finding Banner, who is someone in a similar boat as her. Much like Widow, Banner can’t have kids for reasons beyond his control. Neither of them were given a choice.
        I do think it’s lame that they have bounced her from guy to guy, but that’s not because I think it makes her slutty, it’s more of a story telling issue. I would have preferred they picked either a consistent love interest for her, as a thread through the movies, or given her none at all. (or maybe, not given her one until Banner) But the only way I think it would make her slutty is if she slept with all three of them.

        WildPict
        May 28, 2015
        I never saw Black Widow as being bounced from guy to guy in the Marvel movies. I saw her interactions with Tony and Cap as “work relationships”; Tony was a guy who was the boss of her boss, and Cap is a colleague. The one time she kissed Steve was to keep them from being identified by Hydra. And Tony Stark was a notorious womanizer at the time, who she rebuffed very effectively.
        I’m with you on the rest of your comment.

        nickmoose
        May 30, 2015
        Yeah, you know, I never saw there being a thing between her and Tony at all. Shield knew Tony was a womanzier, so, the most effective way to penetrate Stark industries and get close to him, was with a beautiful woman. It was her job. And Tony-I think- was completely into Pepper at that point and he already knew it.
        He more or less hired her to annoy Pepper.

        GreyMinerva
        May 11, 2015
        Oh, I agree with you – but as I said; these are the things that have the SJW up in arms.
        And I don’t see Widow as being the love interest of more than one guy either:
        She was never a love interest of Tony Stark, because he only wanted her for her body, and she was only doing her job.
        She was never a love interest of Hawkeye’s IN MY EYES – I don’t know, I just never read them as a romantic couple, only as platonic BFFs (and I LOVE that this is now movie canon); there was never any flirting, just care and asskicking and a bit of snark.
        She was never a love interest of Cap’s, because while they kissed on the job, they were never more than friends-who-banter, and they were both clearly aware of that. He’s too black-and-white and wholesome for her, she’s too jaded and cynical and greyhat for him.
        But she DOES work with Banner, who has a similar backstory covered in blood and broken bodies, who struggles with instincts that he’s either trained into or out of himself, and they’re both VERY aware that the world is not black-and-white – they live in the shades of grey.

        nickmoose
        May 11, 2015
        Amen. I agree! Love these two together, and when I was watching the movie, in the moment, I was just happy
        about it. Then, I come home, and see all this rage on the net about it, for political reasons, or something, and
        I’m thinking, “What? I just thought their relationship was kinda cool!”

        berthachamber
        May 08, 2015
        Great article. I haven’t actually had the chance to see the film yet, but this article breaks down the topic much better than any of the others I’ve read so far.
        I think the biggest problem over the last few days has been that too many people tend to put Joss in the “perfect” feminist camp because he has fought for woman’s rights for so long and he has created strong female characters in his projects.
        The problem with that line of thinking is that there is no perfect feminist. Everyone makes mistakes. Given that he is a man and not a woman, there will always be instances in which the representation of women that he promotes at any given time, no matter the type of woman, her background or the story, will rub someone the wrong way. Some people will criticize him merely, as he pointed this week, because he is a straight, white male. Others will claim that he can’t fully see the entirety of the female “experience” from a male’s perspective.
        Here’s my take:
        A lot of people hold up Buffy from BtVS as the greatest example of his ability to create a strong female character. Yet, those who have re-watched the series as I have at different points in their lives as they’ve aged may have noticed (as I did recently) that there are a lot of flaws in the characterization that make Buffy appear less of a good role model for young women.
        Now, I’m not talking about the mistakes she makes as she grows up, the lessons she learned or the flaws in her personality. All of those elements do make the show and the character a positive influence.
        Instead, there are choices that Whedon and the other writers made in regards to the decisions she made at certain points during the series that simply don’t match the characterization, or even a strong female role model, on the second, third, etc viewing even though on the surface during the first viewing those decisions seemed like good representation of part of the trials and successes women face. The best example of the above was her decision to give all of the potential slayers power, which many critics have hailed as a great example of a strong female role model finally taking control of her destiny and empowering girls and women. Yet, her decision really boils down to her being only slightly better than the shamans long ago who forced the power on the First Slayer… Unlike them, she didn’t chain all the girls and create a rape scenario. But, in the end, she did exactly the same thing: She forced a different destiny, the Slayer destiny and all of the violence, pain, suffering and heartache that comes with it, on girls and women all over the world “without” their permission. So, in a way, she still allowed a type of rape to take place.
        Now, some might say she was portrayed as merely making a choice in the moment that she thought was best because all other options were gone, BUT… ultimately, from a writer’s perspective, Whedon and Co. put her into the same position as those shamans when they had her make a similar choice.
        So… going back to why I think Joss is being berated now…
        Many of his fans have put him up on a pedestal and some, wrongly, expect him to create women who don’t fit the traditional stereotypes in ANY way or who act like the men because they believe that he realizes their fear that any stereotyped representation will lead to sexist commentary and more struggle for recognition as equal to men. As a result, when a strong woman’s actions mimic any of those traditional stereotypes — no matter how much the stereotype might be true for some women, such as female heroes (or professionals) wanting babies or choosing to stay at home moms — they lost their trust in him.
        And, it’s important to note: Not every woman on the planet experiences their biological clock ticking away pushing them to procreate. There are a lot of professional women who don’t want babies and never think about wanting babies. As a result, women who fit into that category have the right to be upset when strong women continuously get portrayed with those stereotypes. Some critics over the last few days who are those type of women may have been focusing on the fact that Joss could have just as easily allowed Natasha to be like them.
        So, the issue is also about viewers relating to the female characters and how some women who don’t want children feel like they are not seeing themselves in any of the lead female role models on the screen in recent Marvel superhero films.
        In light of the recent slightly negative Marvel-Sony email discussion about the possible future of films that are solely about female superheroes (i.e. that Marvel and Sony are probably never going to create and promote as many female superhero -centric films as they have and will for male superheroes), I believe that a lot of women have the right to be upset that women who are portrayed with those stereotyped aspects are getting a lot of screen time; whereas, women who do not not have those traits are not being acknowledged as much.

        berthachamber
        May 08, 2015
        I meant “lose their trust in him” above. This site really needs an Edit button. LOL

        bluemorphotat
        May 07, 2015
        i enjoyed the movie but did not like it as much as CA: TWS or even the 1st Avengers basically because I thought the fights were a tad long (amazing stunts though, not complaining about that, and they looked super cool) and I found the plot slightly weak.. or simplistic or maybe predictable is a better word? Probably because it is the starting point for other movies?
        I remember being delighted to find Linda Cardellini (always loved her since Freaks & Geeks!) in the movie and I remember thinking: wow that is a nice depiction of a supposedly traditional housewife:
        She seems to have a great communication with her partner: decisions are taken together.
        She looks 100% self-confident and strong.
        She seems to be completely sure of her life choices.
        And for all we know, maybe she’s an artisan… was something mentioned about a workshop, studio? (I can’t tell for sure without re-watching: I had a kid texting and giggling sitting next to me plus the best I could do was get a subtitled version of the movie: I do not reside in the US, but subtitles are very distracting because I keep checking the translation… and getting horrified 😛 )
        Regarding Black Widow & The Hulk, I thought that was a great decision:
        Banner is the sweetest guy ever and is amazingly well portrayed by Ruffalo.
        Johansson & Ruffalo have great chemistry together.
        I thought it was rather romantic.
        I thought the traditional roles were a bit reversed in the sense that in the end Johansson choses duty and Banner seems to take the easy way out (in my opinion he prefers to flee than to keep trying, much easier.)
        AND it was typical Whedon: love from afar, lots of longing, and thank the gods they were not killed but they don’t get to be together either, LOL!
        I also felt Renner was finally given some background (BW too of course, and VERY interesting AND powerful!) and to me he felt like a real hero! He does not have super powers like the others, he’s the regular guy who feels he has a job to do and he does it well, no matter what.
        Last but not least, may I say thank you @Toni_watches for a heart-felt, articulate and well written article? 😀

        Toni_watches May 07, 2015
        Well said! Great points about Laura Barton. Her character was awesome. And who doesn’t love Linda
        Cardellini?? (RIP Freaks and Geeks)
        In the end, Black Widow chose to fight instead of enjoy her ‘happily ever after’. If that’s not a strong woman, then just slap my toes and call me Randy!

        Malcador
        May 07, 2015
        Maybe Joss Whedon was a little pissed about Johansson’s pregnancy during the Avengers filming. I think I remember on Angel several years back when the actress who played Cordelia got pregnant Whedon was a little mad because he had to integrate her pregnancy into the story and change it. So maybe he was like “not this again” and it was his passive agressive “revenge” to write her like he did. This is all just a theory of course.

        Malcador
        May 07, 2015
        Ok, passive aggressive “revenge” is a litte harsh, maybe it was just his way of dealing with the situation of her pregnancy.

        Asagrim
        May 07, 2015
        I make it a habit not to read any movie reviews lest I read some BS that suddenly can’t escape my mind, and all I see from that point on is that particular aspect, no matter how far fetched it is. Luckily what I’ve read here is a disproval, that I wholeheartedly agree of.
        Feminism and AoU are not things I’d have ever considered as two relatable subjects. Maybe it’s because I have testicles.
        If I had to answer the question who’s been more emotional in the movie, the Hulk or Black Widow, I’d say Hulk. Yes, the green guy, not Bruce Banner, and I don’t mean rage.

        staff
        thekaitling
        May 07, 2015
        Very happy to read this! I would have loved to have written something myself, but just don’t have the time anymore. So thank you for being awesome and saying all the things I wanted to. A+
        (Also, I still can’t believe there are people who think Joss Whedon is a misogynist. I mean… REALLY?)

        AnnieC12
        May 06, 2015
        Thank you for this article! I don’t understand how feminism got jacked from us and turned into such an extremist thing. It’s like the women saying they’re not feminists because they like men. Huh? How did we go from wanting equality to wanting all men to suffer and all women to be in leather jackets, carrying guns, and punching people in the face just cuz?

        AnnieC12
        Aug 20, 2015
        I know this is much later, but I must add that this is Joss Whedon we’re talking about. The man who created Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The show about a girl who is clever, brave and strong and saves the world and whose best friend (no offense Xander) is crazy smart and a total badass witch. Neither of whom are tied down by one particular characteristic/stereotype. Buffy liking fashion and high heels and cute boys didn’t make her any less of a heroine or strong or brave, it was just one side to her. Not to mention all of the brave, intelligent, clever, and empowering women in that show, from Faith to Buffy’s mom to Cordelia. Joss Whedon has created some of the most badass, empowering women in cinema history, in my opinion. Why would he backtrack now?
        Black Widow may or may not have wanted kids, but having that choice taken away in order to be less feeling can make anyone question their humanity. I liked what Joss Whedon did. I liked that Scarlet Witch had a great deal of empathy and struggled with black and white versus shades of grey and even though it overwhelmed her for a moment, she stayed strong and was a crucial part in saving the world. I liked that Maria Hill is “one of the guys” and that she can dish it out just as well as any of them. I liked that Dr. Cho, despite having no weapon, no superpower, nothing to protect her against a giant robot with seemingly endless capabilities and strength, stood up to Ultron and delayed his plans long enough for the Avengers to get there. If you look at it, without Maria Hill, Dr. Cho, Scarlet Witch, and Black Widow the Avengers never would’ve won against Ultron. Without Dr. Cho fighting back and stopping Ultron from completing his “dream”, without Scarlet Witch catching on to Ultron’s plan and fighting him, without Maria Hill being behind the scenes, and without Black Widow having a connection with Bruce Banner/Hulk or kicking ass, the Avengers would’ve lost and the world would’ve been destroyed. What’s anti-feminist about that?

        bluemorphotat
        May 07, 2015
        “the women saying they’re not feminists because they like men”
        Gosh I heard something similar the other day and I said WHAT? I thought: something’s wrong there… my mum would have a fit LOL!

        Like

        1. ORIGINAL POST COMMENTS PART 4

          KimberleyBosm
          May 06, 2015
          Hunger Games… Divergent… more are definitely coming. Men and women have different roles in life, therefore superheroes male and female will also act different from each other. Letting female superheroes just do the same things as male ones do is silly and will never be as good as. Instead of trying that way, why not let them emphasize those qualities that make that female superhero unique. Look at Katniss (ofcourse she’s more in the self made superhero corner, but she still comes close to one) she has hunting skills, logical deducting skills, but she also makes the mistake to dive in too deep of a bad situation because shes willing to sacrifice herself for the ones she loves.
          This male/female thing has been going on forever, but we are definitely seeing a shift which is tipping into a balanced position. I agree with you that Black Widow is one of the female superheroes that is tipping this scale. Some feminists get really aggressive way too soon and fail to see that these things take time ^.^

          ionee24
          May 06, 2015
          It’s one of the things I like the most about The Walking Dead. Granted, the characters are not superheroes, but the show has been carefully drawing Carol and Rick as the female and male approach to a post apocalyptic scenario; characters that survive or struggle at the challenge in a particularly femenine and masculine way, characteristic of their own respective gender.

          sabrips
          May 06, 2015
          I hate this new wave that people like Yamato and Stewart dare to call “feminism”. To these people feminism means women stepping on men, show physical strength and say “hell no” to being a stay home mom or a mother at all.
          The feminism I care about is about women having the same right as men, whether they want to be moms who take care of their children at home, superheroes, entrepreneurs, astronauts, chefs or freaking circus clowns.
          But no, into the eyes of these people women who like and dedicate themselves to “softer” activities are seen as gender retrogrades, old fashion and weak. These people even want to take away our enjoyment of watching a fun action silly movie, analyzing every single line of it so they can make absurd accusations. I think they went to watch the movie with the sole purpose of judgment and in a way, slut shame it.
          These type of thinking is what’s stoping true feminism to move forward. These people are only grasping for attention, but don’t really realize they’re doing more damage than good.

          ZamielCrow
          May 10, 2015
          I detailed it earlier, but Christina Hoff Sommers explains it this way: There are two camps of feminism. Real feminism is best recognized by Sommers’ term “Equality Feminism”, while the faux feminism made up of SJWs with huge chips on their shoulders, anger issues, and a heaping helping of hate for men is known as “victim feminism”, “gender feminism”, or “third wave feminism”.
          Clearly, you’re part of the Equality Feminism camp, while Ms. Yamato and Ms. Stewart are victim feminists. They seek not to elevate women and strive for equality for all people, but to devalue men and gain revenge for real and imagined offenses committed by men of ages past.

          Arska
          May 08, 2015
          “The feminism I care about is about women having the same right as men, whether they want to be moms who take care of their children at home, superheroes, entrepreneurs, astronauts, chefs or freaking circus clowns.”
          THIS! I have no idea why but I could swear that the new wave of feminism is extremely oppressive. “Women should be allowed to do what they want! EXCEPT be a stay-at-home-mom because that’s reinforcing gender roles and is therefore sexist!” Excuse me but… What?

          bluemorphotat
          May 07, 2015
          You know, that is happening in other areas:
          1) “You are not gay enough!” Whaaaaat?
          2) “I’m blacker than you!” WTF????
          It’s shocking that instead of having more choices and people being more tolerant we are labeling everything and we want others to behave in only that way! 😦 Basically creating more stereotypes and not letting people being themselves.

          bluemorphotat
          May 07, 2015
          How annoying is it that we cannot correct a posting.. I meant “not letting people BE themselves” (and/or whatever they want to be!).

          ArkhamNative
          May 06, 2015
          I can’t really answer the question. My only experience with the films is with things like the original’s description that completely excludes Black Widow, and a trailer for Age of Ultron that has Black Widow delivering a cringe-inducing line, “I’m always picking up after you boys.”
          Perhaps there are two minds at work here, a PR group that leans towards the patriarchal, and a writer group that is more equal-handed? Trailers are often like that, with scenes selected from the film to appeal to certain audiences.
          Whereas @donatos below faults the “-isms”, I would say it’s more about the people supporting. People tend to build up momentum with their outrages. It’s kind of like the “if all you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.” If they only see the descriptions and trailers, they might set a target on The Avengers and never let it go.

          No1Slayerette
          May 06, 2015
          Great piece Toni! It’s really easy to get lost in saying what works and what doesn’t work with such a big film like Age of Ultron that sometimes we forget that we should be also looking into what the film in showing us, and what it’s trying to say. Hundreds of thousands of people will be going to see this, so it is important what messages it’s conveying to those audiences, particularly the young and impressionable!
          Do I think the film is sexist? No. I don’t think Joss Whedon would create something that is, at least not intentionally.
          I can see where the arguments are coming from though, having had several discussions with people who have seen the film. In regards to Black Widow’s role, her romance with Bruce was my favourite part! Mainly because it was something different from all the in-fighting and explosions that are so common in The Avengers/ Marvel films. I also liked it because it was unexpected, and I guess this is where the idea that she’s a ‘slut’ comes from – that she’s supposedly being paired with every Avenger before ending up with Bruce. I think you summed it up pretty nicely though – Iron Man is a womaniser, people assumed her and Hawkeye were more than friends (even though if she were a man their platonic relationship wouldn’t be questioned), and she kissed Steve Rogers in an attempt to hide them both from Hydra.
          That last point is probably why people (and maybe women, in particular) are having a hard time excepting Natasha as a strong female character – she uses her sexuality as a weapon. This would be a problem if all she was good at was manipulation via her sexuality – but the movies have proven time and time again that she can manipulate people without the implication of sex, and that she also has many other skills that make her a great Avenger.
          I honestly think Black Widow was the best part of Age of Ultron. Captain America is my favourite Avenger, but him, along with the others, felt like everything they went through emotionally was something we’d seen before, rehashed. We finally got a decent look into Natasha’s backstory, which helped give her character depth, and like I already mentioned, her romance with Bruce was spectacular. I think it’s also important to note that the pair of them were talking about running away together before they’d even kissed! That would be a first in any television series or film I’ve seen, that two people have connected enough on an emotional level to discuss such a thing before ever being intimate – yeah, Black Widow is so promiscuous.

          WildPict
          May 28, 2015
          “That last point is probably why people (and maybe women, in particular) are having a hard time excepting Natasha as a strong female character – she uses her sexuality as a weapon.”
          Nope, I have no problem with that what-so-ever. In fact, more power to her. I wish I was half as strong and skilled as Natasha is portrayed as being.

          donatos
          May 06, 2015
          Hey there Toni. Long time, no see. You’re sorely missed around these parts.
          As for the matter at hand, I have to say I hate “isms”. In saying this I mean that I fundamentally disagree to facing any kind of circumstances (be it an instance in real life or a work of fiction) through a predetermined set of rules or biases.
          Life is fluid and weird (not always in a good way) and isms try to define it and confine it. So articles about how AAoU is sexist may sell (because who doesn’t like to know what Joss did wrong or what our new collective cause celebre should be) but in the end they are myopic and do more harm than good.
          I already have my inherent biases and hung-ups (I really do), I shouldn’t be looking to take up more.
          By the way, Joss a sexist? hahahaha…. Good one!

          No1Slayerette
          May 06, 2015
          I wish I could like this comment x100. You’re right – we’re all biased, it’s just a part of being human. The fact that you acknowledge that you have biases, though, and attempt to try and avoid definitions because they confine (to try to define something by what it is not) is really inspiring. Not too sure if there are too many people out there that think like that, or even have the ability to – I just thought you should know that your comment made me really happy that you do, at least.

          donatos
          May 06, 2015
          Gosh… now I’m red in the face… Thank you for your warm comment. I only hope I can always live up to my own words. Biases are hard to overcome. Damn, I sound like some sort of life guru or something… I’m truly glad my words made you happy. There is no higher form of flattery. I shut up now.

          donatos
          May 06, 2015
          By the way, I hadn’t heard of the Bechdel test. Interesting, but I think I’ll stick to my own “test of consistency”: is something consistent within its own frame of reference? If yes, I’m ok with that. I’ll accept “damsels in distress” in a sword & sorcery movie, but not space flight if you get what I mean.

          Savvytvfan91
          May 06, 2015
          Thank you!!!! Thank you!!!! This is perfect!!! I have heard so much stuff about the movie regarding anti-feminism and I was like what?! I would dribble on about all the stuff that I loved about Age of Ultron but you said it all perfectly. Thank you @Toni_watches for being a voice of reason.

          Pleaseusegoogle
          May 06, 2015
          The Bechdel test is inherently flawed, in my opinion. Simply because a movie like the “Bikini Carwash Company” can pass it and still be a piece of filth, and 10 pixar movies fail it, a few Harry Potter movies fail, The Avengers fails, and even Saving Mr. Banks (A movie celebrating a renowned female author) fails. If the Bechdel Test inherently judges stories without many female characters in a harsh way. This means that great movies like All’s Quiet on the Western Front, or many other war movies or stories without many female characters will automatically fail. We could have a talk about equal representation and that would be much more productive, since women are not represented well in many movies.
          If the Bechdel Test had a gradient I would take it would be far more useful.
          As to the criticism of Age of Ultron for being anti-feminist. If you watch anything by Joss Whedon and think it’s anti-woman you must be on drugs, particularly good drugs at that. There has never been a more ardent and vocal supporter of women’s rights and equality sitting in a major hollywood directors chair. People love to get offended, especially about extremely popular things in pop culture. It gives them a platform to tell others how to think and feel about issues today. Gavia Baker-Whitelaw wrote an article proclaiming Guardians of the Galaxy to be the worst Marvel film for women yet.
          Someone will always complain that: women aren’t being fairly represented, other minorities are not fairly represented, the story is merely liberal or conservative propaganda, a movie is biased against the LGBT community, or this movie makes light of some historical issue. We need to be aware that not all of these complaints are equal. If you must use tortured logic to prove Black Widow is passed around the avengers as a sex object I will not give your complaint much thought. However, do there need to be more women super heroes? Yes.

          ArkhamNative
          May 06, 2015
          The Bechdel test isn’t flawed because it’s not a test of feminism. Its purpose is to point out how male-focused many, many films are. It’s really that simple. It was also created in a lesbian comic strip, so there’s a degree of humor in its origins, and also (IMO) a viewpoint that interactions between women about something other than men, are interesting and relevant to women.

          ionee24
          May 06, 2015
          I think the focus is on the wrong men. Granted, for Banner-Hulk Natasha is nothing but a love interest, but Burton still sees her as his right hand and the only one he trusts his secrets with. His daughter looks up to her, colleagues and friends rely on her, his wife has to point out that Clint hasn’t noticed Nat has a crush.
          Pietro’s sister isnt a plot device to service his story – in fact, it’s the opposite around – neither Ultron nor Vision see Maria Hill as a love interest. Don’t get me wrong, there are not nearly as many strong female characters as there are strong male characters, and I’m sure none of the female Avengers gets the same salary as their male counterparts for the same heroics, but their love lives – or reproductive status – is not the root of the problem.

          mad-pac
          May 05, 2015
          I’m not a Marvel fan, so my knowledge of Marvel heroes is limited, but I like the movies. Basically, I’m only familiar with the oldest and more traditional heroes. The problem women will have with a movie based on a comic book is that, in their origin, superhero comics were entertainment almost completely for boys who knew nothing about girls. This is why the oldest and, often, the coolest heroes are men. What can anybody do anyway? And it took a long time for some female characters to have a significant projection.
          Form the little I know of Marvel, I go to a movie like AoU, as far as heroes are concerned, to watch Ironman, The Hulk, Captain America and Thor. As for actors, I think Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johanson call my attention more. I’d watch anything with them. Chris Evans and the guy who plays Thor are irreplaceable in the Marvel universe as well, but i don’t think I’d be very interested in watching them doing other roles.
          I think there are more appropriate vehicles for relevant female characters.

          Toni_watches
          May 05, 2015
          Thank you for commenting, and I do see your point. While I don’t think you are being malicious in any way, I
          would feel remiss if I didn’t counter it.
          This attitude, in which you are not alone, my friend, is basically summed up into “ah well, it’s been like this for so long, why try to change it?” Which, as you can probably see, is problematic. Not to be dramatic, but if the suffragettes had thought like that, women wouldn’t have the vote. There would be other, more “appropriate” vehicles for women.
          You are absolutely correct in that these superheroes were written at a time when a positive representation of women wasn’t a priority. The thing is, we are living in a time NOW when it is. Positive representation isn’t just a priority, it’s a responsibility. (I would like to point out once again that I believe Age of Ultron achieved that, and Joss Whedon is a God among men).
          There are plenty of characters to draw from in the Marvel (and DC) universe to create some kick-ass movies. If the character is written in a lame way in the past, perhaps it’s time for an ambitious writer to give her a kick-ass makeover.
          I understand what you’re trying to say about finding a vehicle for women to shine in pop culture that isn’t already dominated by men. I’m just not sure that vehicle exists.
          Women love action movies too. Women love superheroes. Why not give young girls (and adults, for that matter) a kick-ass woman to look up to? Why not draw from a vast universe of comics and create strong women for the ladies to dress up as at movie premiers? Why not show young girls that they’re powerful too? That they can make a positive difference in the world?
          Change happens when people look at what’s normal and say, “wait, that’s not right.”, and then they DO SOMETHING about it. Joss Whedon is known for being that guy. He’s doing something about it. I just hope the rest of the Marvel and DC execs, directors, writers, etc will follow in his footsteps.
          Yiiiiiiikes, that was a tangent! Mad-Pac, I hope you don’t think I am picking on you. You are entitled to your point of view. I just wanted to point out that that attitude is not what women need right now.

          mad-pac
          May 06, 2015
          No, don’t worry, I don’t think you’re picking on me, nor I am on you. I totally agree with you that women deserve
          better representation, but I just think that traditional heroes sell better, and those happen to be men. Those are
          the most valuable assets a Comic book company has. Take DC for instance. At least for now, the company’s
          flagship characters are and will be for a while, Batman, Superman, The Flash, among other “oldies” like them,
          with Wonder Woman being the exception. There will be one day when that won’t matter, of course.
          I think we’re talking about slightly different things. You’re talking about women’s rights, and I’m focusing more on the characters the public respond to, no matter the gender. OK, back to marvel, take Captain America, for instance. He’s the (male white blond…) embodiment of America’s ideals. Until writers come up with a female character that represents that as well, it would be improbably to compete with him in terms of popularity. Ironman “owns” the concept of a human being in super powerful armor, and other characters that attempted to do the same (including those from DC) have always been compared to him.
          Thor is a god. The Hulk represents the dark side we all have (though to me he’s a knock off of My Hyde). Who else can you think lurking in the shadows and fighting injustice in the streets? Batman. And Superman is the embodiment of what all heroes are. How can any other character compete with that? It’ll be extremely hard to replace those characters in pop culture all over the world with other characters, male or female.
          So, as a result, female characters in the superhero world, even though numerous, are secondary. I totally believe that women should find the product that expresses their views, wishes and aspirations, but this will only happen if the companies find that option attractive business-wise.
          This certainly has been an interesting discussion.

          Toni_watches
          May 06, 2015
          Indeed! Thanks for clarifying.
          You’re right. The challenges facing positive female representation in action movies are many. But, as they say…

          mad-pac
          May 06, 2015
          I’m totally on board with that! And Lynda Carter is the definitive Wonder Woman! Other than that, sorry if I
          digressed too much. My thoughts on the matter are a work in progress.

          Arska
          May 05, 2015
          Your article was excellent and I agree 100% and you are not a bad feminist. The truly bad feminists are these so called feminists… Radical Feminists. I watched a video from Christina Hoff Summers where she said that a few decades ago when she asked a class (she’s a professor) who of them is a feminist, everyone raised their hands. Even the men. Nowadays, when she asks the same question, not even all of the women raise their hands. She has to phrase the question into the form of “Who here supports equal rights for men and women?” to get the same result that “Who here is a feminist?” got a few decades ago. The term and ideology that a lot of great women (and I think some men) dedicated their whole lives in the last centure is being tarnished and distorted by these kinds of “radical feminists” that aren’t really trying to solve probems as much as they are trying to find things to whine about.

          This… Feminist analysis of pop culture media has gone completely off the rails. There are some problematic material out there. I won’t deny it. But this is just absurdly obnoxious. For me, this started more than a year or so ago when video games were in the middle of this whole debacle (the whole fiasco was called GamerGate). And believe me when I say this, the stuff related to GamerGate were some of the vilest, most depressing, sad, idiotic, and stupid things I’ve ever read in my life. Both sides were flinging shit at each other thinking they were better than the other. Both sides had people harassing people from the other side. However, only one side’s victims of harassment got invited to news shows and other stuff. Guess which side. I’ll give you a hint. It’s the side the mass media does not paint as homicidal maniacs after ever school shooting.
          The whole GamerGate was a tragicomical example of how “civil arguments” on the Internet basically just turn into these weird clusterfucks of human indecency.
          I feel like this new trend of extremely aggressive critcism does more bad than it does good.
          If you get lynched for writing a female character that does not reach the absurdly high expectations this group has, why would you even want to try? And it’s more evident here than ever. They went after Joss Whedon. Every female character from him that I’ve seen have been fantastic and he makes terrific TV and movies. These people have absurd standards and if the worst comes to pass, Whedon’s already great writing could be distorted as he tries to please the people that are basically perpetually offended. I doubt that Whedon is going to cave in. He did delete his Twitter so he doesn’t have to see it constantly. But still. A scary possibility.

          ZamielCrow
          May 11, 2015
          Being online has contributed greatly to the most easily-offended, puritan, emotional-baggage-handling, First-World-Problems types of people having much louder voices than they used to.
          Patton Oswalt put it best: They’re the liberal version of the TEA Party.

          ZamielCrow
          May 11, 2015
          Note: I am a liberal and an Equality Feminist.
          Sometimes, a subgroup within your group will undermine your group’s goals. That’s what’s happening now.

          84ale84
          May 05, 2015
          great article, i’m a woman,and a feminist, and i saw this movie and love it, i agree with you all the way.

          mdoz34
          May 05, 2015
          Great article. I am male so I do not know if I have a good point or not but you mentioned it in this article. I never understood why feminists, of some types, I know it does not apply to everyone, always got upset with women who wanted to raise children or were against abortion. I always thought the point was to allow women the option to do whatever they want, not just what a group wants. I am a big fan of Black Widow and would love to see her get her own movie. I am tired of cliches, both of women always being in distress, as well as men on tv comedies often being shown as stupid (some types of roles for both sexes are really to often portrayed wrongly). My mother and grandmother were both strong willed women who taught me to respect women, and do things on my own. they both raised kids and worked, as well as loved their husbands. They thought for themselves and never let anyone decide things for them. To me, that is as it should be. Personally I never liked the women in distress usage in tv or movies, not how I was raised. And while I am sure there are a few things to complain about in them, The Tomb raider, Underworld, as well as the Resident Evil movies all feature strong, kick ass female leads. I would love to see more of those types of movies.

          At the end of the day, regardless of some things, there will always be people looking to criticize something, sometimes to the point of making things seem different than they actually are.

          zoeileana
          May 05, 2015
          Thank you for writing this argument! You have given really great points. It does irritate me when women who call themselves feminists think that being a housewife is a demeaning role. I think being a wife and mother is one of the toughest roles to take on because you are responsible for tiny humans who depend on you to provide structure, safety and love and, especially for those whose husbands work in dangerous jobs, to be the support and strength for the whole family. This on TV and in real life. I’ve always been a Joss Whedon fan and he’s always gone out of his way to make strong, kickass female characters of all kinds.

          Mate
          May 05, 2015
          I agree with all of the points that you made.

          Black Widow does deserve her own movie. By and far she does. I am not sure how they would go about it without succumbing to being silly. I would imagine any film that they would put her in would be either an origin story or her looking for Banner. Both don’t appeal to me nor do I think would it appeal to a widespread audience.

          However, if Whedon is looking to get out of Marvel. I would want his last movie to be a female centered hero. Mostly because he has done it before with Buffy and he can do it again. Whether that hero is Black Widow or someone else I am not sure. But I would want him to do it.

          Plus I do want more Agent Carter.

          Sam20
          May 05, 2015
          I’m curious, have you actually seen the movie yet?

          Mate
          May 05, 2015
          I have actually seen it twice. I saw it when it was released on the 23rd by myself and then went again this past weekend with a group of some of my grad students.

          I liked it overall.

          Sam20
          May 05, 2015
          It was fun, but I feel these movies don’t hold up too well on repeat viewings. I can catch Joss Whedon dialogue from a mile away, and sometimes his style can result in his movies being tonally all over the place. At the same time though, I can’t complain too much about that, because it does manage to get me crack several smiles and even laugh.
          I do think the whole “Black Widow outrage” with this movie is totally being blown of proportion. It wasn’t bad enough to warrant the hate that Joss is getting right now. Joss Whedon is one of the last writers/directors in the industry that I would call sexist. Sorry but a lot of these feminists just come off as bullies. How long before they bitch about Harley Quinn not wearing pants in the Suicide Squad movie or Psylocke wearing a skimpy leotard in the new X-Men movie.

          Mate
          May 06, 2015
          I could talk and then read at a really young age. And the report wasn’t even for school. That report was for my grandfather to critique. It wasn’t so much of a report as it was commenting on the underlying themes of the books to make sure that I understood what I read. My grandfather was a history professor. On top of my schooling I also had a set of books that he assigned me that were mostly non fiction that I hd to read, evaluate and report on to him. Generally in whichever language I was learning at the time. I always enjoyed reading, still do and though I often loathed what I had to do I still can critique the hell out of a book. It is probably, now that i consider it why I sought this website out to get all of my critiques on the shows i watch out of my head.
          Hulk at that point was already played out the Ang Lee movie was horrible. To the point where I am surprised someone looked at it and said yea, release it. I liked the first Thor movie, though I am not really sure you could call it a Thor movie, only because it was more of an introduction to SHIELD than Thor actually being Thor. The second one I think would have been better if it was just him and the Warriors actually doing battle around the realm. I like Natalie Portman, but damn her character in both films was unbelievably bland. And I will not watch another Iron Man movie unless Favreau does it, if even that because of number 2. But that I can lay at the feet of Mickey Rourke probably being the worst actor in the history of acting. And Paltrow. I don’t even want to get started on 3. ugh.
          But yea, Guardians, for me, was simply phenomenal. It was just fun. It told a great story and it did it well. It didn’t have to go Dark and it didn’t have to appear overly grandiose, it was just a good movie. And for me that is what I tend to look for.
          Avenger 3 and Cap 3 are going to be fat with characters and I hope that they can pull it off.

          Sam20
          May 06, 2015
          @Mate
          You read all the Tolkien books before you were 7!? Shit I didn’t read a full book until I was in my mid to late teens. For book reports I would just report on the summary, even though I would never read the whole book I was reporting (I was the opposite of you, lazy. I still kind of am). You weren’t supposed to write reports like that but the teachers kind of gave up because nobody did it the right way. Hated having to report on books because I felt they kind of took the fun out of reading.
          For the Marvel movies, shit we have the same ranking 1 – 5. For me, those are the only ones that really matter, because I personally wouldn’t bother watching 6 – 11 again. I liked Agent Carter in Cap 1, but other than that the movie bored me. I agree about the Iron Man sequels, and Thor never worked well as solo movies, and neither did Hulk for that matter.
          I’m glad you liked Guardians, because I thought you wouldn’t have liked that. That’s ok, because I didn’t think I’d like it either, so it ended up being one of the biggest surprises. Just imagine though, they next Avengers movie will likely have them not only juggling all the Avengers new and old, but likely the Guardians as well. I hear it’s going to take them 9 months to shoot the next one. Curious to see how they are going to handle all this.

          Mate
          May 06, 2015
          @Sam20
          I wouldn’t bother with Hobit 3. I almost walked out of the theatre and I genuinely liked the LOTR movies. It did have a bit to do with the appendices, but liberties were taken because of the nature of the appendices. I have read all of them probably before I was 7. My grandfather and father was a huge Tolkien fan. I had to read it and then give a report on it. Fun.
          I actually liked the first Captain. I can understand the criticisms of Cap 1, out of all of them it was the least action packed and given how powerful an enemy the Red Skull is supposed to be it was kind of a let down. But Cap 2 is my favorite.
          So.
          1. Cap 2
          2. Guardians of the Galaxy
          3. Iron Man
          4. Avengers
          5. Avengers 2
          6. Cap 1
          7. Thor
          8. Thor 2, just for Loki
          9. Hulk
          10. Iron Man 3
          11. Iron Man 2
          I hated the 2nd and third Iron Man. Mostly because of the horrible choice for villains and the storylines.

          1
          FLAG

          Sam20
          May 06, 2015
          @Mate
          Once again, you put it into words better than I could, especially about the feminism part.
          On a side note, I still haven’t seen the 3rd Hobbit. That was the only Tolkien movie I didn’t see in theaters. They totally overdid it with those Hobbit movies. With the LOTR trilogy, Jackson too each lengthy book and made it into their respective movie, which were usually about 3 hours. With the Hobbit, Jackson took a book that was a lot less than in any LOTR book and expanded it to three 3 hour long movies. I’ve heard the 3rd movie dealt with the Appendices, which I’m not familiar with nor do I really care, but still, it was fucking absurd to expand and drag out like this. Of course, I’m sure you already knew this, and I bet you read the books. But it’s Hollywood I guess. And you’re right, the third Avengers could do just that.
          By the way, what is your favorite movie from this Marvel universe? Mine would be Winter Soldier, and this is coming from someone who kind of hated the first Captain America movie. My ranking would be:
          1. Captain America 2
          2. Guardians of the Galaxy
          3. Iron Man
          4. Avengers
          5. Avengers 2
          6. Iron Man 3
          7. Iron Man 2
          8. Thor 2
          9. Thor
          10. Captain America
          11. Hulk

          Mate
          May 05, 2015
          I liked it both times. I do feel like they really need to watch adding so many characters because the movie overall felt busy. That is all right at times because it doesn’t drag, however, they introduced two main characters and their motivations seemed specious. But I chalked it up to one’s lack of an internet connection and the others recent birth.
          But his dialogue is great. He really is one of the better ones at it. And that makes me want to rewatch Buffy.
          I am concerned that they are going to suffer the same fate as the Hobbit series and Peter Jackson. Which by the end of The Battle of Five Armies was pretty much nothing but drawn out fight scenes. There was a lot of fight scenes in this movie and though I enjoyed them for the most part. It tends to outweigh some of the better dialogue and the underlying tones of the movie itself. But that I suppose is the difference between fandom and casual fans. Blockbuster movies seek out the casual fan simply because there is more of them and more of them equates to more money in the box office. Same could be said for certain TV shows that are increasingly making questionable decisions.
          I too don’t think this movie warranted the issues with Black Widow. If you look at her movies in context it makes perfect sense. She even said it during Cap 2. The truth isn’t all things to all people and she is who she has to be at times. Most people are. I liked her role this movie because she flat out said the reasoning behind the attraction. She is around people that want to fight all the time. She is attracted to the one that doesn’t want to fight because he knows he is going to win. I thought that was a great insight into the character and great reasoning on her part. The whole mother thing was a toss up for me. Mostly because it makes sense from a logistical standpoint for the KGB. In order to get high end female agents, it is prudent to preemptively stop what would come between their female agents and the organization.
          I agree with your issues about feminists. But I wouldn’t really regard that to feminists completely because of the variety that there is. Many feminists will look at the character and admire her. I think your issue might be with Feminists that happen to be Social Justice “Warriors”. They are predominately hashtag activists that have the commitment and attention span of a gnat. Those people annoy the hell out of me as well. Because of the nature of their various isms, in general it is so utterly shallow that it is laughable. Because they simply, often, have no clue of what they are speaking of. Take this case in point. They likely don’t have the knowledge of the Blackwidow in general or even her appearances in the various marvel movies to be able to weigh in on the overall meaning, motivations and influence of the character. But you are right, those are the type of people that are going to have issue with Harley Quinn not wearing pants, or more to the point her obsession with the Joker. Completely disregarding their own proclivities to idolize certain people even men in the span their adolescence that they as well were probably unhealthily obsessed with. The only reason they have any weight is because of the social media outlets that they utilize.

          totomomo182
          May 05, 2015
          I loved Black widow in the first Avengers movie
          (What I never forget is when she tricked Loki)
          and in the Captain America movies (which I think is better suited to her than the Hulk)
          She deserve her own movie period,She is a great hero and she can carry her own movie

          darshaagan
          May 05, 2015
          A guy here, several thumbs up to this article. And I totally agree about the need for more female heroin movies. Not sure if Captain Marvel coming 2018 will be the Carol Danvers version, but I do hope so. And as you mentioned Spider-Woman and Black Widow (have read to little about Wasp to know how much of her story is mixed in with Hank Pyms) but I have 2 more that are less known that I would love to see a movie about, Sage and Jessica Jones. Female mutants, not already mentioned, that they could make great movies about are to many to mention but hopefully there will come some, cough Psylocke.

          ZamielCrow
          May 11, 2015
          A female heroin movie would be a great deal different than a female heroine movie.

          darshaagan
          May 14, 2015
          Right you are 🙂 think I was a little tired when I wrote that.

          supergirl116
          May 05, 2015
          Thank you! The fact that we have butt-kicking women heroes, smart scientists, agents, and girlfriends and wives of heroes in super-hero movies is great! It shows a true to world idea where women’s roles are varied, capable and important. When the feminist card is just thrown around for no reason like the people who wrote the articles you talked about, it just undermines it – instead of helps us.

          Grumpyclown
          May 05, 2015
          I agree with most of the points you made – I don’t understand the vitriol directed against AoU and Whedon with regard to sexism AND racism.
          They finally gave Black Widow a back story – which details horrible things that happened to her – to mold her into the assassin we never got to meet, but whose terrible actions have been hinted at previously (especially at the end of Winter Soldier).
          Personally I think the outrage should be directed at Marvel for not giving her a solo film after showing her backstory – because its a perfect set up for it.
          My problem with her thinking of running away with Banner for a normal life was from a narrative perspective, because it seemed like all they had done so far was flirt – they didn’t kiss until very late in the film after Banner frees her.
          There wasn’t enough of a build up to their relationship.
          As for complaining about Linda Cardellini – it seemed they were more pissed that she was playing a pregnant housewife.
          That the role was somehow beneath her – which is a pretty shitty attitude towards mothers and wives everywhere.
          The irony of these SJW’s (Social Justice Warriors) railing against Whedon from a bully pulpit would be funny, if it wasn’t so sad.
          Whedon has been a proponent for gender equality, racial equality and social equality – but all that is forgotten because two of the fictional characters in his film were going to run away together….but didn’t.
          Black Widow did not come across as weak or in someway less – they just added a couple of facets to her character.
          A back story and a desire to share her life with someone.
          Neither of which are bad things, and both make her more relateable.
          On a side note, Joss Whedon has just quit twitter – he hasn’t given an explanation yet.

          Grumpyclown
          May 05, 2015
          But i guess because I have a penis my argument is invalid 😉

          WildPict
          May 28, 2015
          Nope, your argument is totally valid; that’s the point.

          Grumpyclown
          May 28, 2015
          I, and my penis thank you

          sylaine
          May 07, 2015
          No it’s not. That’s the point of feminism (actual feminism, not this “radical feminism” bullshit).
          Also Marvel should have absolutely given her a solo movie – this really was a pretty good set up for a solo
          outing.

          I think I’m one of the few people that don’t think the Nat/Bruce came out of nowhere – they made a connection in the first Avengers movie, and Scarlett Johansson and Mark Ruffalo have actual chemistry onscreen, so they sold it to me that this has been going on for a while. Not the romance, but the development of their connection and the flirtation that eventually led to it. Also, they’re both people who have to seize the moment if they want to have anything at all, because the life they lead is extremely dangerous and their past could catch up with them at any moment. It’s not completely unreasonable to think that once Bruce realized that Natasha was actually serious things could progress very quickly. I find it insulting that people are complaining that this somehow made Black Widow less. If anything, Black Widow is a more fully realized character than Bruce in the Avengers, so you could actually argue that it was him who was reduced to the love interest. But that would be unfair to how it was actually portrayed – a relationship of equals, who both have their doubts and fears and emotions. And they’re allowed to.

          I also don’t get the criticism of Linda Cardellini’s role – she was a fantastic, positive example of a mother and housewife. What’s wrong with that? I don’t get it. Being a mother of two (soon three) basically on her own can’t be easy, not to mention the constant danger she and her children are in just by being Hawkeye’s wife and kids (btw that was not meant as a critisicm of Hawkeye, but his job’s really dangerous and he’s away a lot, saving the world – not fun and not easy when having a family). Just by that you can just see that she has to be one hell of a strong woman.
          Going after Whedon is just plain stupid. If anything, we need more like him.
          I mean – look at the new Avengers line up at the end of the movie – Cap, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, War Machine, Falcon, The Vision – that makes Cap the only white male on that team. (I don’t know if we’re ever going to see that line up in action, but still).

          Grumpyclown
          May 07, 2015
          I just finished posting my reply below, when Marvel posted cast and plot details for Civil War:

          Set for release in the United States on May 6, 2016, “Captain America: Civil War” is directed by Anthony and Joe Russo (Marvel’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Community”) from a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely (“Captain America: The Winter Solider,” Marvel’s “Captain America: The First Avenger”). The film returns Chris Evans (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” Marvel’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron”) as the iconic Super Hero character Steve Rogers/Captain America along with Robert Downey Jr. (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Marvel’s “Iron Man 3”) as Tony Stark/Iron Man, Scarlett Johansson (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”) as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Sebastian Stan (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Captain America: The First Avenger”) as Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier, Anthony Mackie (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”) as Sam Wilson/Falcon, Paul Bettany (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Iron Man 3”) as The Vision, Jeremy Renner (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Marvel’s “The Avengers”) as Clint Barton/Hawkeye, Don Cheadle (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Iron Man 3”) as Jim Rhodes/War Machine and Elizabeth Olsen (“Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Godzilla”) as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch.
          After his debut in Marvel’s “Ant-Man” on July 17, 2015, Paul Rudd (“Ant-Man,” ”Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues”) will make his first appearance alongside the Avengers as Scott Lang/Ant-Man in “Captain America: Civil War.”
          The film also includes outstanding additional cast, including Chadwick Boseman (“42,” “Get on Up”) as T’Challa/Black Panther, Emily VanCamp (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Revenge”) as Sharon Carter/Agent 13, Daniel Brühl (“Inglourious Basterds,” “Bourne Ultimatum”), Frank Grillo (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Warrior”) as Brock Rumlow/Crossbones, William Hurt (“A History of Violence,” Marvel’s “The Incredible Hulk”) as General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross and Martin Freeman (“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”).
          “Captain America: Civil War” picks up where “Avengers: Age of Ultron” left off, as Steve Rogers leads the new team of Avengers in their continued efforts to safeguard humanity. After another international incident involving the Avengers results in collateral damage, political pressure mounts to install a system of accountability and a governing body to determine when to enlist the services of the team. The new status quo fractures the Avengers while they try to protect the world from a new and nefarious villain.

          bluemorphotat
          May 08, 2015
          Geez that is going to be crowded!!! Hope it is at least as good as CA: TWS.

          sylaine
          May 07, 2015
          OHHHH. So we basically get another Avengers movie, just under the Captain America Banner – Cool.

          Grumpyclown
          May 07, 2015
          I get what you mean about the connection and chemistry – I just felt they could have spent more time building
          the relationship.
          IMO Marvel should have made 2 or 3 One-Shots in the build up to AoU.
          One showing some discussion about the Ultron program – because they just seemed to insert it into the film with no build up.
          One cementing the connection between Natasha and Banner.
          And possibly one with Maria Hill, Dr. Cho and Jarvis – all 3 work at Avengers tower, so why not get them a bit of a push. Hills role could have been defined, Cho’s character could have been introduced and Jarvis could get some screen time before he gets changed into Vision.
          Also, I actually think that there maybe more to Linda Cardellini’s character.
          The fact that she wasn’t intimidated by the avengers crashing at her house, her familiarity with Natasha and the confidence she displayed throughout makes me think she may have been an agent.
          I don’t know much about her background, so I could be totally wrong.
          The new avengers line up will feature in civil war, according to imdb

          sylaine
          May 07, 2015
          I’d really love to see the 3+ hours version of this movie. As much as I dislike it when a movie gets completely
          overblown – in this case it might have been better for it. There might have been more buildup/character
          establishing moments there.
          I think Laura Barton is just that awesome. I don’t know anything about her either, but that was actually kind of my point: she doesn’t have to be a former agent. She can be just as much of a badass female character without whupping HYDRA ass – just by being a great mom and wife that’s gotten used to all the crazy her husband’s job brings with it and deals with it like a boss.

          Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s