After looking at the news this evening I’m inclined to put pen to paper, well finger to keyboard. Joss Whedon has left twitter amid a tirade of unpleasant tweets that contain abuse, up to and including death threats. Granted Joss isn’t the first celebrity to be treated in this manner and unfortunately he won’t be the last butt he reasons are frankly moronic. Apparently Joss Whedon, the writer responsible for some of the strongest female characters is pop culture is now branded anti-feminist.
The two major points that seem to have sparked this are from the new Avengers film and are as follows:
- The character Tony Stark makes a joke saying that as ruler of Asgard, he intends to re-institute Prima Nocta.
- The character Black Widow explains to the Hulk (a monster) that she what sterilised as a part of her training and as such considers herself to be a monster.
Notice that both of those sentences start with the words “The character” These aren’t Whedon’s personal opinions. Let’s look at each in turn. Is the Prima Nocta joke sexist? Probably. Was it made by a sexist character? Definitely. Tony Stark is already established as a heavy drinking sexist millionaire playboy. To read or watch a work of fiction and expect sexist characters to not behave in a sexist way is naive to say the least.
Now to look at the monster comment. Let’s examine the undertones of the dialogue that Joss Whedon wrote. Firstly, both men and women can be sterile, it is not a solely female issue. Secondly Black Widow is a former assassin, it would be unrealistic for her to not have issues. As a character she considers herself to be a monster, she has a degree of self-loathing for want of a better phrase. Is Joss suggesting that sterile people should conside
r themselves monsters? No is he suggesting that a reformed assassin may have issues beyond that fact that she used to kill people for money. Probably. The characters thoughts are not even a commentary on how she sees sterile people in general but an internalised feeling of inadequacy. For her, other people don’t factor into it.
Writers write, to expect all of their charters’ ideas and ideas to reflect that of the writer is ludicrous. If this were actually the case it would lead to some very dull stories. If as a viewer or reader you take such offence at a line of dialogue that you feel the need to send personal abuse to someone on twitter. I not only suggest that you stay off twitter, I also suggest that you stay inside under a duvet because fiction, let alone the real world is too much for your feeble mind to handle.
I’d love to hear any communication via twitter. Comments here tend to get lost in my inbox.