In Which Berryman Defends Joss Whedon (Updated)


NatashaWhat follows is not a review of the new Avengers movie, which I flat-out loved. It does, however, contain some spoilers for Avengers: Age of Ultron, and it’s not Spidey related. But it does need to be said. It is an editorial, and it’s strictly my own view.

Back in April, Avengers director Joss Whedon attacked the trailer for Jurassic World, implying it was sexist. Whedon took to Twitter (which he has since deactivated) and said: “… I’m too busy wishing this clip wasn’t 70’s era sexist. She’s a stiff, he’s a life-force – really? Still?”

Later, he admitted that this attack was “bad form.” Not for its content but in its visibility.

Flash forward a few weeks. Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theater screens and suddenly the very people Whedon supports and defends are attacking him for his “sexist” portrayal of the Black Widow. The mounting attacks aimed at Whedon by the angry feminists he always champions may have now chased the director off Twitter.

Live by the sword, die by the sword. And having said that, I will now defend Joss Whedon from his detractors.

Avengers: Age of Ultron is not sexist. Not in the slightest. Hell, it introduces the Scarlet Witch – one of the more powerful Marvel heroes – and she damn near gets the Avengers to fall like a house of cards. The furor has been manufactured by people who not only want to see sexism but who desperately need to see sexism in anything and everything to justify their own vitriol (and who, in some cases, make money off of the debate). They are angry that Natasha “needs” a man to “rescue” her. They are angry that she’s playing bartender at a party. They are angry that she reveals her origins as a spy left her sterile and incapable of having children. They are angry, angry, angry!

Let me break it down for the feminists that cannot (or who choose not to) understand what’s going on with Natasha in the Avengers sequel.

At one point in the film’s third act, Black Widow finds herself locked (literally) in a prison cell by the film’s villain, Ultron. This follows disturbing recollections of her early life brought on by the Scarlet Witch’s mental attacks. Natasha remembers, vividly, her training in Russia’s notorious Red Room (something Marvel’s Agent Carter also explored recently). She recalls how she was trained to kill as a young girl, and how it was once her only reason for being. Astute fans will remember Natasha admitting to having “red in her ledger” in the first Avengers movie. This sequence of events in the new film continues that story. Here, Natasha is now surrounded by friends who are quickly becoming family – a situation she’s not used to being in. She is slowly shedding one reality and realizing she wants more from life. Eventually, she begins to have feelings for Bruce Banner.

There are reasons why it makes sense in these films for it to be Banner who becomes her focus. In the first film, she was clearly terrified of Banner’s ability to “go green,” as they now say in the movies. To be clear, Natasha has “seen some shit” in her life; there are not many things that spook her. Early on in the first film when she draws her gun on Banner and is clearly nervous that he will “go green” and pound her flat. Later, aboard the SHIELD Hellicarrier, Natasha is the first one who has to deal with Banner when he rages, and Black Widow finds herself coming up against the Hulk. She gains a healthy measure of fear of what Banner is and what he can do, and that later turns into respect.

In the second Captain America film, Natasha is clearly becoming more comfortable with having friends other than Nick Fury or Hawkeye. She and Captain America are quite chummy, and she even tries to get Steve going out with girls again. Why is that important? In Marvel’s #ItsAllConnected universe, it shows that Widow is still romantically-minded. That’s not sexist. Women wanting to be with a man (or yes, with another woman) is not sexist. It’s a basic human desire to seek romantic companionship. It is in our genes. It is part of our nature. The universe hurls us at one another in an attempt to get us to find someone to be with and to connect to. This doesn’t mean Natasha is seeking a man to “define” her or anything like that. It means she’s freaking human.

There are two metaphors at play here. One is fear. Natasha still lives in fear of her past, and of the things she used to do. The first film establishes that, on a basic level, she’s fearful of Banner. But she also knows that Banner is not defined by being a green brute. He’s a human; a man haunted by his own past, much like she is haunted by hers. He is someone who regrets the things he has done, and things he could still do. Natasha is very much the same. Having the two of them start to come together because of that understanding makes a good deal of sense for the story.

Eventually it is Banner who frees Natasha from the cage Ultron has placed her in. The prison cell is our second metaphor here. It is the prison that holds her back from moving forward with her life, and it is one that she puts herself in from the guilt brought on by the red in her ledger. This isn’t sexist. This isn’t a man “saving” her. It’s a friend showing her they can both accept who they are and that it’s okay for them to both move forward. It’s a lesson Banner can help teach but ultimately one he himself cannot live by, as the Hulk departs his new “family” at the end – and leaves Black Widow with a slightly broken heart.

Others have griped about the “damsel in distress” element of the story. Natasha is many things; “damsel in distress” will never be one of them. She’s captured, sure. But through her training and skillset she’s also the one who makes it possible for the Avengers to locate Ultron’s base of operations.

Another thing feminists have been hammering Whedon over is Natasha’s sterility. Again, given the character’s background – a Russian assassin and spy who is trained in seduction – this is something that makes sense. Russian intelligence spent a great deal of time and money on training and developing their murderous assassins in “the Red Room.” Knowing that they also removed their ability to have children and that they did not want their chess pieces to get pregnant while seducing their targets is not out of bounds. Again, this is not some misogynistic attack on the female gender; it’s in tune with her background as a spy who was considered an “asset” before switching teams.

Another criticism I read online involved Natasha playing bartender, i.e. “serving those evil males.” After taking down HYDRA’s new base and leader, and reclaiming stolen Chitauri tech from the first film, the Avengers decide to celebrate Tony Stark style. They all unwind and kick back with party guests up in Avengers Tower. At one point, Natasha pours Banner a drink from behind the bar and flirts with him. In the scene, she’s making a drink for herself first and then for Banner when he comes up to talk to her. Oh my God, the horror! Can you even imagine?! Yes – there are people out there actually mad about this.

When all hell breaks loose at the party, Banner and Natasha dive over the bar together to escape the line of fire. He winds up on top of her, his face staring down into her chest. You can look at that as sexist; or you can think of it as Banner being forced to admit he’s as interested in Natasha as she is in him. It’s entirely up to you. Either way, Black Widow springs back and up quickly starts to kick all kinds of ass. Because that’s what that terrible, no-good chauvinist Joss Whedon has her do most – kick all kinds of ass. How dare he! What a sexist jerk!

Aside from their manufactured wrath over Black Widow, there was one other moment I thought feminists would certainly freak out about, and it comes in the third act. As Ultron’s plan fails, a city is literally falling to the ground out of the sky. The Vision flies in and manages to catch a falling Wanda and “save” her. When I saw that, the fanboy in me that loves Vision and Wanda (especially Vision & Wanda together) squealed in delight – and yet I knew there would probably be a shrill minority out there bitching about it. Many critics and feminists who might freak out over it may not realize why it is important for these two characters and why it was a good thing to seed into the Avengers movies. But then again they probably wouldn’t care, either.

This is a glorious time right now for Marvel fans. We are finally getting to see things on the big screen we’ve waited on for decades. Revel in this magical time. Embrace it. Love it and thank Kevin Feige for it. And yes, especially thank filmmakers like Favreau, Gunn, the Russos – and for damn sure Joss Whedon. Resist any and all attempts by those who try to destroy this time for you on manufactured “social justice” gripes. I honestly feel bad for Whedon right now. He’s being attacked by the very people he’s championed before. I hope he learns something from that. I don’t agree with a lot of his thinking (that’s putting it mildly) but I implicitly trust his instincts as a filmmaker, as a writer and as a creative force of nature. And I will continue to enjoy his work.

EDIT 1: Seeing that some militants online are angry about Tony Stark’s ‘prima nocta’ joke from the film. I suppose they take that as Whedon (again, a longtime champion of feminism) somehow voicing approval of “rape culture” or what-the-hell-ever. In the film, Stark is joking about it by commenting on something that would definitely not make him worthy to wield Thor’s hammer while he’s trying to actually lift that hammer. At no point is Tony Stark (or by extension Joss Whedon) actually promoting ‘prima nocta.’ Good grief!

EDIT 2: Since posting this, I’ve since come across a collage of Twitter messages that Whedon received over his Avengers 2 “sexism.” It is posted below, if you can stomach it.

To call this “crazy” is an understatement.

–George Berryman!

WhedonResponses 

(29) Comments

  1. cronotose

    @19 "You have stated things about Anita Sarkeesian that is often said by vile lunatics that threaten her with rape." Yes, but he is not a vile lunatic that threatened her with rape, and just because its a claim made by terrible people doesn't make it wrong. That's called Ad Hominem. Its a classical fallacy. "This fantastic article from Kotaku does a great job highlighting the perfectly legitimate criticism people have over this issue." I left stopped reading Kotaku a couple years ago precisely because they are hilariously, over-the-top, absurdly culturally and politically biased. You can't reference them on such an issue without inviting the assumption that the article takes an inaccurate and unjust perspective. Its like citing the Daily Show as a great source of news. They don't even pretend to hide the fact they're pushing an agenda.

  2. asdf

    Should be stated that Whedon's come out as saying that feminists have nothing to do with leaving twitter. IT's just he wants to be freed from the distraction to work on writing: http://www.buzzfeed.com/adambvary/joss-whedon-on-leaving-twitter

  3. Jack

    The only (currently-semi)sexist character in the movie itself is Stark, and it's his fault the whole thing happens to begin with.

  4. QuilSniv

    I'm with @22. I have nothing against Black Widow being paired in, like, a fanon with Hulk. Here, in canon, it just seems creepy and out of character. But I still love this movie more than the first one, even with all the insane things I found wrong with it (I'll be doing a vlog with my friend when we go see it together). I don't think the movie was sexist for having Black Widow flirt with Banner, I just felt it was OOC. And threatening a man with death because they didn't like his movie is plain insulting. Sometimes this makes me question my faith in humanity. At least I still have you, Crawlspace.

  5. JRT!

    James Gunn posted a lenghty post on fb,it was actually pretty good,I like the guy. lol. Also agree with him. J-R!

  6. PeterParkerfan

    The whole thing was overexaggerated by some fans. Sure, Black Widow flirting around with Banner was OOC.... but how is it sexiest? https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CEMbl-pWIAAy2f7.png:large No wonder Whedon abadoned his tweeter account.

  7. Raul

    I wasn't a fan of the whole Black Widow and Hulk romance and when Widow was starting to put the moves on Banner at the bar, I felt she was out of character. But I never thought this movie was "sexist". I also believe there is a way to have criticism over someone's film, but to curse and wish death at a man is just.... ridculous and horrible.

  8. George Berryman - Post author

    @19 - <i>"This is exactly what I am talking about George, you have painted her as an extremist, or worst a fake extremist for profit without giving any thought to her opinion just being different to yours. And if you think she is making much money off her opinion, I think you are very wrong. And even if any of that was true, she does not deserve the abuse that includes death and rape threats. Which is FAR worse than any of the comments against Joss in your image."</i> No one deserves death threats. Neither Sarkeesian nor the people she routinely villifies for self-promotion who also get death threats (and I paint her with the proper brush). The Outhousers site has a collection of the tweets directed towards Whedon, including one death threat. Some of these social justice warrior types even call Whedon a "racist." It's <that</i> insane. http://www.theouthousers.com/index.php/news/131553-breaking-patton-oswalt-says-joss-whedon-was-driven-off-twitter-by-a-progressive-tea-party.html <i>"To be clear, I was not suggesting you were guilty of this. Unfortunately you appear to now be dismissing all criticism because you are convinced anyone making it is simply because they are desperate to do so, rather than may actually have a point. You are also painting the entire debate by those few idiots in the extreme. And in the process undermining all reasonable criticism."</i> To me, there is no reasonable criticism to be made of the film, or the director, in regard to the charge of sexism. I reject the premise outright; arguments to the contrary don't interest me in the slightest. <i>"You clearly do have interest in the debate because your post was directly addressing it and therefore entering the debate. But you do a disservice to yourself and the discussion by suggesting that “much of what is out there” fits your interpretation that paints it all as the same as the idiots at the extreme."</i> My post was a defense of Joss Whedon from asinine accusations of sexism made my asinine people. It was quite specific in its purpose. <i>"If you want to turn the issue into shaming the extreme idiots alone then sure. But then it becomes a witch hunt against those people instead! But there are plenty of people having intelligent discussions about this, and doing so by respecting peoples opinions when they are different and not immediately lumping a different opinion with the worst people. Like we are now!"</i> For me this is a non-issue. There is no sexism in the film, nor is their sexism on the part of its director. Debating that would mean accepting a false premise. <i>"I don’t think the MCU is sexist. And in fact offers some amazingly positive female characters (mainly in the TV shows). Hell Agent Carter and Agents of SHIELD are becomes of feminism on TV!"</i> Exactly. Because the MCU is not one bit sexist. And neither is the new Avengers film, and neither is its director. <i>"But I think they is plenty of legitimate discussion to be had about gender bias in the MCU. And most people that are discussing it are not people desperate to find sexism everywhere, or making a profit from it!"</i> What Sarkeesian has said to her followers in Whedon's defense? Oh wait - she hasn't commented on it. It's almost like she knows where her bread is buttered... or that she doesn't want to risk a Thermidorian Reaction. <i>"Having a discussion about gender bias is not the same as screaming “SEXIST!” at something. Which is what you seem to be suggesting everyone (or most) that brings up these issues is doing. They are not. Some are for sure. Mainly idiots with a 140 character limit on Twitter. You know why? Because a LOT of people are idiots that overreact or express opinions in lazy extremes. Those people are acting like children and should be treated as such. Anyone calling Joss Whedon a sexist is clearly a moron that knows nothing of his work. Ignore those idiots, but do not taint everyone that addresses gender bias (like Joss Whedon!) by their idiocy!"</i> In my original post I do tell people to resit anyone and everyone who is trying to manufacture this as a "social justice" battle. All of this garbage has smeared and besmirched a good man. <i>"Just like I am discussing this with you with respect. But I respect you and your opinion, even when I disagree. You have stated things about Anita Sarkeesian that is often said by vile lunatics that threaten her with rape. But I would NEVER in a milling years associate you or your position with those buffoons!"</i> I appreciate that; I appreciate you, too. I would never wish rape or death on anyone. But I also view Sarkessian as a divisive, opportunistic voice (again, she's very much like Al Sharpton) and I give zero merit to what she says. But when the extremists in her camp go after a great director over a manufactured issue <i>who is on their freaking side</i> then yeah I take notice. My opinion of her will not change. <i>"This fantastic article from Kotaku does a great job highlighting the perfectly legitimate criticism people have over this issue. You don;t have to agree with it all (I don’t) to respect it and see legitimate issues"</i> Sorry, but I will never consider Kotaku to be a legitimate news source. Especially not on this. We'll have to agree to disagree! :)

  9. Parabolee

    Sorry for the double (now triple) post. Accidentally caught submit or F5 and did not realize it posted my unfinished post.

  10. Parabolee

    @George Berryman I thought your article was very reasonable, and as I said I agreed with almost all of it. However in your responses to my comment I agree with little you said. "There are people in our society who profit by driving culture further apart. She is one of them. She’s the Al Sharpton of feminism." This is exactly what I am talking about George, you have painted her as an extremist, or worst a fake extremist for profit without giving any thought to her opinion just being different to yours. And if you think she is making much money off her opinion, I think you are very wrong. And even if any of that was true, she does not deserve the abuse that includes death and rape threats. Which is FAR worse than any of the comments against Joss in your image. "I am not saying it doesn’t exist. But I am saying that a lot of the time these people look for it so hard, because they need to find it, and when they don’t – they manufacture it. The insane backlash against Whedon backs me up on that." To be clear, I was not suggesting you were guilty of this. Unfortunately you appear to now be dismissing all criticism because you are convinced anyone making it is simply because they are desperate to do so, rather than may actually have a point. You are also painting the entire debate by those few idiots in the extreme. And in the process undermining all reasonable criticism. "I have no interest in the debate. Mostly because I loathe the arcane pseudo-language that permeates it. I have absolutely no desire to enter discussion with any feminist who approaches it from the misandrist angle, and much of what is out there now is precisely that." You clearly do have interest in the debate because your post was directly addressing it and therefore entering the debate. But you do a disservice to yourself and the discussion by suggesting that "much of what is out there" fits your interpretation that paints it all as the same as the idiots at the extreme. "The Whedon backlash didn’t give us a real issue to talk about so much as a goddamn witch hunt." If you want to turn the issue into shaming the extreme idiots alone then sure. But then it becomes a witch hunt against those people instead! But there are plenty of people having intelligent discussions about this, and doing so by respecting peoples opinions when they are different and not immediately lumping a different opinion with the worst people. Like we are now! I don't think the MCU is sexist. And in fact offers some amazingly positive female characters (mainly in the TV shows). Hell Agent Carter and Agents of SHIELD are becomes of feminism on TV! But I think they is plenty of legitimate discussion to be had about gender bias in the MCU. And most people that are discussing it are not people desperate to find sexism everywhere, or making a profit from it! Having a discussion about gender bias is not the same as screaming "SEXIST!" at something. Which is what you seem to be suggesting everyone (or most) that brings up these issues is doing. They are not. Some are for sure. Mainly idiots with a 140 character limit on Twitter. You know why? Because a LOT of people are idiots that overreact or express opinions in lazy extremes. Those people are acting like children and should be treated as such. Anyone calling Joss Whedon a sexist is clearly a moron that knows nothing of his work. Ignore those idiots, but do not taint everyone that addresses gender bias (like Joss Whedon!) by their idiocy! Just like I am discussing this with you with respect. But I respect you and your opinion, even when I disagree. You have stated things about Anita Sarkeesian that is often said by vile lunatics that threaten her with rape. But I would NEVER in a milling years associate you or your position with those buffoons! This fantastic article from Kotaku does a great job highlighting the perfectly legitimate criticism people have over this issue. You don;t have to agree with it all (I don't) to respect it and see legitimate issues - http://io9.com/black-widow-this-is-why-we-can-t-have-nice-things-1702333037/+tinaamini

  11. Parabolee

    @George Berryman I thought your article was very reasonable. But your responses to my comment are much less so... "There are people in our society who profit by driving culture further apart. She is one of them. She’s the Al Sharpton of feminism." This is exactly what I am talking about George, you have painted her as an extremist, or worst a fake extremist for profit without giving any thought to her opinion just being different to yours. And if you think she is making much money off her opinion, I think you are very wrong. And even if any of that was true, she does not deserve the abuse that includes death and rape threats. Which is FAR worse than any of the comments against Joss in your image. "I am not saying it doesn’t exist. But I am saying that a lot of the time these people look for it so hard, because they need to find it, and when they don’t – they manufacture it. The insane backlash against Whedon backs me up on that." To be clear, I was not suggesting you were guilty of this. Unfortunately despite me not suggesting you were also doing this, in this comment you are. What you are doing is painting the entire debate by those few idiots in the extreme. And in the process seeking to undermine all reasonable criticism "I have no interest in the debate. Mostly because I loathe the arcane pseudo-language that permeates it. I have absolutely no desire to enter discussion with any feminist who approaches it from the misandrist angle, and much of what is out there now is precisely that." You clearly do because your post was directly addressing it and therefore entering the debate. But you do a disservice to yourself and the discussion by suggesting that "much of what is out there" fits your interpretation that paints it all as the same as the idiots at the extreme. "The Whedon backlash didn’t give us a real issue to talk about so much as a goddamn witch hunt." If you want to turn the issue into shaming the idiots alone then sure. But there are plenty of people having intelligent discussions about this, and doing so by respecting peoples opinions when they are different and not immediately lumping a different opinion with the worst people. I think we can and should have a grown up discussion about gender bias without throwing around reductionist attacks on people as sexists or exterem-feminists.

  12. Nick MB

    @16 But the fact something makes sense in the story doesn't mean it can't also convey other things. I'm pretty sure the makers of the Amazing Spider-Man films didn't sit down intending to make a film that many people would find a bit boring, but they managed it. By the same token, I've seen people posting that they liked the ASM films and they weren't boring, and neither of those sides are wrong. The feeling people get from a film is valid to them and part of what the filmmaker is meant to be creating, and if some viewers came away thinking "I'm uncomfortable with that film's attitude towards women", that's a valid reaction and whether the story connects up is a whole other point.

  13. George Berryman - Post author

    @15 - <i>"And artistic criticism is subjective – “the Avengers sequel is not sexist” isn’t something you can say for anyone but yourself."</i> Going by the story, knowing why things happen the way they do in it... yeah I can safely say it isn't sexism. Unless someone <i>needs</i> it to be to justify their world view. <i>"If people found it sexist, that’s their prerogative, and the constant implication that they only do it “for attention” or “to drive society apart” is only going to drive more wedges down by insulting anyone who holds these opinions sincerely."</i> I wasn't saying that the people attacking Whedon over it were doing it for attention or that they're driving society apart. What I did say was that there were people who foment the divisions because they profit from it. It's their over-zealous followers who were attacking Whedon.

  14. Nick MB

    You often find people get angrier when they're disappointed in someone they expected better from than if someone they hate continues to be hateful. Whedon did get a lot of love from feminist quarters for Buffy. So if they do feel Age of Ultron ended up containing sexist undertones, perhaps it's inevitable they'd be all the more upset. And artistic criticism is subjective - "the Avengers sequel is not sexist" isn't something you can say for anyone but yourself. If people found it sexist, that's their prerogative, and the constant implication that they only do it "for attention" or "to drive society apart" is only going to drive more wedges down by insulting anyone who holds these opinions sincerely.

  15. cronotose

    I really like the tweet "Is a strong female character not in your vocabulary?" This is being said to Joss Freaking Whedon. A man who's most powerful character in every work is nearly always a woman. In fact, he goes so far out of his way to have women be superior to men in his works that if anything you could argue he's sexist against men. The man wrote Buffy. The man wrote River. The man wrote Ellen freaking Ripley as a human/alien hybrid with super basketball powers.

  16. George Berryman - Post author

    @10 - <i>"Every grouping has its extreme shouty people, from feminism to religion to Spider-Fandom, but I don’t think you can necessarily disregard the whole opinion system just because a few people get loud and ranty about it."</i> That wasn't the point I was making here. The point I made was that the Avengers sequel is not sexist and that the reaction from some feminists have been way, way over the top and insane. I'm certain there are some feminists who would agree with me on that. @11 - <i>"Anita Sarkeesian is one of those people (and so is Joss Wheadon), she is someone just looking to have a discussion about gender bias. She can have an opinion that is subjectively wrong without being a bad person."</i> There are people in our society who profit by driving culture further apart. She is one of them. She's the Al Sharpton of feminism. <i>"But what gets on my nerves most with the anti-feminist opinions, is that they act like there is no legitimate critique of gender bias in our society. Where as any sane person can see that is far from true"</i> I am not saying it doesn't exist. But I am saying that a lot of the time these people look for it so hard, because they <i>need</i> to find it, and when they don't - they manufacture it. The insane backlash against Whedon backs me up on that. <i>"In fact I would go as far as to say that even responding to those least rational among us (like this article does) does a disservice to the debate."</i> I have no interest in the debate. Mostly because I loathe the arcane pseudo-language that permeates it. I have absolutely no desire to enter discussion with any feminist who approaches it from the misandrist angle, and much of what is out there now is precisely that. <i>"But we shouldn’t be afraid to have Marvel movies give us real issues to talk about, it’s one of the things that makes Marvel so great."</i> The Whedon backlash didn't give us a real issue to talk about so much as a goddamn witch hunt. :cool:

  17. parabolee

    Some typos in that that mess up my meaning. In paragraph 3 it should say "you can paint it as." Not "can't". In paragraph 4 it should say "doesn't automatically". Not "does automatically" In paragraph 5 it should "But what gets on my nerves most with some of the anti-feminist opinions,". I made a real mess of that post, lol.

  18. parabolee

    I 100% agree the movie is not in any way sexist. It is freaking awesome. And Black Widow is a strong feminist character. The lack of Black Widow toys is saddening though. At least she came with Disney Infinity 2.0! Have to say, I have heard far more venom from the anti-feminists about this than people seriously claiming the movie is sexist. A fair critique of the MCU though is its lack of female leads. And I think it should also be pointed out to those with a proclivity to knee jerk over reaction to a critique, that critique itself should not always be interpreted as the most extreme opinion you can't paint it as. That is to say anyone raising discussion points about the possibility of gender bias in something does automatically make them a radical-feminist. And since you mention her George; Anita Sarkeesian is one of those people (and so is Joss Wheadon), she is someone just looking to have a discussion about gender bias. She can have an opinion that is subjectively wrong without being a bad person. It is her detractors that are far more venomous and polluting to civil discussion. Saying "Hey I think this is kinda sexist" is far less radical than, "Well I don't so you should go die you horrible [expletive deleted] I hope you get [expletive deleted] you [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted]". Seriously spend 5 minutes reading the comments of one of her videos, those posts against Joss are incredibly tame in comparison! Not to defend them, they are all idiots too. But what gets on my nerves most with the anti-feminist opinions, is that they act like there is no legitimate critique of gender bias in our society. Where as any sane person can see that is far from true, ToYour post here is just as reasonable an opinion as what Anita posts about anything. They are different opinions sure, and I 100% agree with yours here and often don't agree with her. But she often makes good thought provoking points and does not deserve to attacked or belittled for making them. It is the human garbage that disagree with reasonable opinions that should be ignored. In fact I would go as far as to say that even responding to those least rational among us (like this article does) does a disservice to the debate. Instead of having a civil, sane and rational discussion about gender bias, we are instead pointing at the opinions of idiots and allowing that to frame the debate. Eradicating any of the rational nuance in the centre of the debate and instead reducing it to two extremes. One that sees gender bias in everything and one that is outraged at anyone pointing out gender bias. Also the "Prima Nocta" joke is BECAUSE Tony is a bit of a sexist! Human beings are flawed people, especially Marvel characters. It is why they are so much better. It's not support for sexism, just like the movie is not support for smashing buildings. But we shouldn't be afraid to have Marvel movies give us real issues to talk about, it's one of the things that makes Marvel so great. So ignore the extreme idiots on either side and do not frame your own position based on the idiots at the extreme opposite end of your position! Also the SNL skit was brilliant.

  19. Nick MB

    Every grouping has its extreme shouty people, from feminism to religion to Spider-Fandom, but I don't think you can necessarily disregard the whole opinion system just because a few people get loud and ranty about it. Feminists/whoever, as fans/viewers, are as entitled to have a passionate opinion of a film as any other ticket-buyer. Once a work is out in a public space, people are free to interpret it how they like. I can see the argument that giving your only A-list female character a subplot revolving around babies was a bit predictable, and may be disappointing coming from a writer/director who made his name subverting obvious female roles. Obviously sending death threats or intense personal abuse to someone because you didn't like their movie is crappy behaviour, but that doesn't invalidate every opinion held by every feminist. If that was true, then people really would be free to disregard every Crawlspace poster because of the few who have sent abuse to Dan Slott in the past.

  20. JRT!

    Well on the site I posted it's slightly different. I hear what you're saying,and agree with it,but when fans are outraged like they are on that site,they just loose credibility. But that's just me,just my opinion,of course.

  21. George Berryman - Post author

    I don't get that any of this is coming from fanboys. It's all driven by feminists. The Anita Sarkeesian followers. Every fanboy I know is too busy enjoying the movie.

  22. JRT!

    I wrote this in the comment section on another site,and I stand by it,lol. Bloody fanboys are at it again! Get a life! lol. SOOOO happy I'm just a casual fan and enjoy stuff for what it is. It's not frickin' life or death! Nor is it rocket science. Geez! And I don't agree with Gunn's 95% quote,more like 35%,the rest are fanatical crazy people. lol. Funny how it's always the fanboys that ruin it for themselves and everyone else who even tries to be a fan of something. J-R!

  23. dornwolf

    I didn't find anything in the movie "sexist" I just didn't buy the lovey dovey Black Widow/Hulk. As close friends, definitely, that came across clearly very well in Avengers. As lovers? Nope. Also if they found Tonys joke sexist, they must've been furious when Loki called her a cunt in the first one.

  24. ryan3178

    I completely agree on all points. I am so sick of the feminism approach has to be: "Don't show anything that would show a woman like object." Whedon has done incredible things with strong women characters for almost twenty years. Even made fun of situations that do lessen women and had them come back going: "This isn't me." I mean its like a woman who decides for their family to throw in a quick load of laundry. One argues: "So a woman has to always do the laundry?" No, they had the time and figured, why not. I get tired of these arguments and how they just appear out of nowhere thinking they are insulting women when that is nowhere near the case. I mean look at the entire interview taken out of with Chris Evans and Jermey Reneor over the comments they made about the Black Widow. They were joking but oh no, it was insulting and wrong. Yet people got up and applauded Robert Downey for leaving an interview when the guy tried to turn it into the Barbara Walters Special. People are just so quick to judge because you know, never mind a guy might be attracted to a woman.

  25. Diannah

    Whedon has done more for women in film and tv than most writer/directors. "Buffy" comes to mind immediately. As for Black Widow, the only thing Whedon did "wrong" with her character was to show her as a human with feelings. Oh the horror! The humanity! If feminism's goal is to de-humanize women, I'll pass on it, thank you...

  26. Hobo-Goblin

    Looking at it from a writing and directing standpoint, I'd like to add on to your (totally right) points... #1. Ruffalo and ScarJo clearly had some chemistry in the first movie, so obviously Whedon thought it'd be fun to explore that. Now personally, I'm not sure how well it played out on-screen or as part of the larger movie...but the idea was sound. Where else could Widow go as a character at this point? What else could have been explored in a team setting that would have been true to her character? Was she forever doomed to be isolated? As you said, Berryman, she's a HUMAN BEING, and she's certainly not some kind of sexless monk. #2. Scarlett Johansson was pregnant while filming this movie. I think Whedon wrote that scene for her with Banner in the bedroom because her character being sterile and unable to have a family would be something that would emotionally resonate with an actor in that position. I'm not even sure this is totally a "feminist" thing. I feel like it is a more a self-entitled, unable-to-be-pleased, nasty fan thing. In my theater, a good portion of the crowd actually applauded when Vision saved Wanda at the end. I'm not sure if it was because a lot of the crowd were comic fans and knew of their connection, if they were happy Wanda wasn't going down with the ship, or if they just thought Vision was the absolute s**t at that point (and deservedly so), but I was really happy with the energy in the audience.

  27. Big John

    I'm getting a legitimate bro-crush on you, Berryman. I whole-heartedly agree. I thought that, despite her sterilization, Black Widow lamenting that she couldn't have kids made her less of an assasin-robot and more of a woman/human being. I had absolutely no problem with her portrayal or romance in this film.

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