In recent news Joss announced he deleted his Twitter account due to harassment and death threats from “feminists” criticizing the new Avengers movie.
*Caution! This article contains SPOILERS regarding the new Avengers movie.*
If don’t think Joss Whedon’s a feminist you know nothing about feminism. Or Joss...(Hit Read More To Continue)
According to critics, the biggest issues lie in the now infamous “prima nocta” joke made by Tony Stark as well as Black Widow’s mandatory sterilization as part of her Russian spy training. Haters can be found hatin’ here: https://storify.com/Astojap/wehdon-twitter-hate
First. Prima Nocta. I’m sure most people now know prima nocta is an outdated practice of noblemen de-flowering brides on their wedding night. The Avengers are sitting around making small talk. They all decide to take turns picking up Thor’s hammer. Tony Stark, before his attempt, states he will reinstate prima nocta. Apparently, some people have taken this as a rape joke. It makes me wonder if those people have seen the first Avengers movie. Or any Iron Man movie. Or know anything regarding his character. Tony Stark has always walked a thin line between super hero and super douche. This is not the work of Mr. Whedon. That’s a Stan Lee original. Tony Stark is a SELF proclaimed “Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist”. Cocky much? Sound a little douchey to you? Good! Perfect! That is exactly his character. Would Tony Stark actually ever rape a woman? Of course not. He’s an Avenger for crying out loud. So, when Tony Stark interjects his inappropriate comment, why would Joss be at fault? Was it inappropriate? Yes. Was it supposed to be? Yes. It’s called character development.
Next we have the Natasha and her wonderful spy training academy. She’s haunted by what she was made to do. She grew up not playing hopscotch and having imaginary tea parties, but learning how to perfectly snap a person’s neck and use the least amount of bullets to kill someone. Pleasant, right? Of course Natasha excels and finally her glorious graduation day comes. Except we find out graduation means being sterilized. Not so much fun. It seems as though people have gripes when Black Widow admits this to Bruce Banner. Their budding love seems to be “halted” by her inability to have children. People seem to think she’s turned into June Cleaver. Not so much.
In the movie, Bruce and Tony attempt to make an AI (Ultron) that can essentially replace the Avengers. Nevertheless, even if the Avengers had a replacement, they could not live a normal life. Steve Rogers is haunted by an old flame. He’s also estranged from the rest of the group. He doesn’t belong in the modern world. Bruce is constantly on the move attempting to escape himself. Hawkeye drops his family in East-Jesus nowheresville in an effort to protect them in his attempts at a normal life. Natasha is no exception. She sees what Clint has and she wants it. And no, it’s not babies. It’s a life. Normalness. Talking about redecorating the patio. Arguing over what to eat for dinner. It’s what every Avenger wants.
When Natasha refers to herself as a “monster”, it has nothing to do with her inability to have children. She, like the other Avengers, feels like a monster because of what was done to her. She feels inhuman. She’s a killing machine and that’s all. A manufactured weapon created by bad people. Just like Captain America. And The Hulk. And Wolverine. And Spider Man. And The Fantastic Four. Clearly there are many superheroes who didn’t choose their fate. Black Widow is no different.
These characters were not from the mind of Joss Whedon. Let’s look at some of his original characters and see how “anti-feminist” he really is.
I guess the best place would be to start with the best show ever: Firefly. Needless to say, I’m definitely a fan. I mean, hello? The mechanic of the ship is female. Not only does she know more than anyone else on the ship about the engine, but she has no problems impressing anyone and everyone with how smart she is. If that’s not good enough for you, we can always examine the Zoe/Wash relationship. Here we have a strong “warrior woman” (her husband’s words). She’s strong, smart, and hell… she fought in the war! She doesn’t let anyone get her way. Not even the captain. He doesn’t like the pilot? Oh well, she’s going to marry him anyway. Ahhh…..the pilot. The funny, submissive, light-hearted character who didn’t need any type of macho testosterone to become one of the most beloved characters on the show.
Hm…who are those other main female characters in Firefly? Oh. Right. Inara the companion. You can call her a whore if you want, just be ready for the quick witted insult to slap you in the face. She’s smart. She’s fierce. She makes her own rules. SHE is in control. Sure, she wears the beautiful gowns and all the makeup. Then, she gives the captain a lesson in sword fighting and kicks ass in a dress. And who could ever forget River? She can kill you with her brain!
But you’re right, what does he know about feminism? He only made Buffy. A show entirely centered around a strong female character. And what does she do? Oh nothing. Just kills vampires and demons. She’s only ONE of the many women chosen by fate to battle these evil forces. I could go on and on listing all the awards the show has won. I could list all the spinoffs, comics, and fanfic associated with the show. But hey, let’s not give any more credit to such anti-feminist propaganda.
So, in my feminist opinion, there’s no argument that Joss Whedon could ever be considered misogynistic, anti-feminist, sexist, or whatever other woman-hating words you want to throw at him. Yes, he’s had to work with characters that have some of these qualities. However, in the words of the wise Ice-T “Don’t hate the player, hate the game”. Joss has done nothing but contribute a wide array of multi-dimensional characters. There are countless characters that are both young and female. Not every woman needs to reach Hillary Clinton’s age before they’re a success. You can be female and kick ass (Zoe). You may also admire a pink ruffled dress while fixing your spaceship (Kaylee). You also can be an imperfect hero that tries to be tough, but is a good friend (Mal). Not every man needs to shoot ‘em up macho attitude (Wash)..but if you do you can do that too (Jayne).
“Equality is not a concept. It's not something we should be striving for. It's a necessity. Equality is like gravity. We need it to stand on this earth as men and women, and the misogyny that is in every culture is not a true part of the human condition. It is life out of balance, and that imbalance is sucking something out of the soul of every man and woman who's confronted with it. We need equality. Kinda now.” – Joss Whedon