It’s official faux-feminists. I’m-a callin’ you out. *straps on six-guns*

According to Webster.com the definition of feminism is the following:

: the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities

OR

: organized activity in support of women’s rights and interests

So, therefore, explain to me how the depiction of Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, in Age of Ultron is being seen as sexist? Because it’s been over a week, I just came back from my second viewing of the film, and I am just not seeing it.

What I’m seeing is something else entirely.

In case you’re stumbling across this blog post with no prior knowledge of who and what I am, I’m a girl. A Black girl. A Black Girl Nerd, in fact, and I have been since I was old enough to watch television and realize that Batman is someone I wanted to emulate at the earliest possible moment. I wouldn’t call myself a full-blown kick-down-your-door-and-scream-in-your-face feminist, but I am one. I want my ladies, both in real life and in fiction, to be represented in every possible way and to have every single right that they have earned through blood, sweat, and tears. I want writers to push past the easy stereotypes and write women of every kind as long as said writing is not only realistic and reflective of women as a whole, but also as diverse and layered as the kind used for writing men.

 

blackwidowcomicvine
Image from ComicVine

 

If you want to talk about Natasha Romanoff then I’m eager to begin, because this woman has been on quite a journey from her introduction in Iron Man 2. Natasha started out getting her feet wet by being gorgeous and tight-lipped for the most part, and I actually had zero opinion of her after I saw the film. I knew of her—that she was a former assassin turned good guy thanks to Nick Fury, Clint Barton, and SHIELD and that she had some friction with Tony Stark—but otherwise she wasn’t even a blip on my radar. After all, in Iron Man 2, she didn’t get to do quite a lot other than have some really overcomplicated takedowns that looked badass  and this didn’t give me much to go on other than she looks super cool beating down bad guys.

Then The Avengers came along. Holy shitsnacks. This is precisely what I had been missing from both ScarJo and Nat in general. We see beneath the hotness in a jumpsuit. We see that she has an excellent sense of humor and a wonderfully cool mask, but she also has a drive, a need, and a purpose not only with S.H.I.E.L.D., but also with the other Avengers. Furthermore, we see that Natasha is not only devoted, but cunning beyond measure. Everyone has a favorite moment from The Avengers—hell, the entire damn movie is just one continuous block of Crowning Moment of Awesome—but one of my all-time favorite scenes is still Natasha confronting Loki. It’s beautiful. How she starts off so calm and collected, and then Loki delves into her sordid, ugly past and digs up the reason why she is so determined to save her best friend, and then the entire experience is up-ended when it’s revealed that she was carefully playing on Loki’s ego and mad desire for revenge in order to find out his ultimate goal. Not one other member of that team could have done what Nat did. No one. That moment solidified the reason why Natasha is an Avenger. She may not have all the strength of Thor or Captain America, or the technological brilliance of Tony or Bruce, or the sharpshooting abilities of Hawkeye, but Nat is there for a reason. She adds something to that team, something that they most certainly needed, something that they could not have won the day without. Natasha is not a pretty accessory. Natasha has weight to her character, and that leads me into her next appearance.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the exact moment I fell in love with Natasha Romanoff. She became every single thing I’ve ever wanted in a female hero that I haven’t been able to get just yet (though I personally did really enjoy Anne Hathaway’s portrayal of Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises, and shut up, I don’t care if you don’t agree). The Avengers introduced us to Nat, but this is the film where the onion starts to peel and we see the layers beneath. I adore Nat and Steve together, as partners, as friends, and I admit I actually did see a little spark of attraction there as well, even if Nat’s intentions for Bruce come up in Age of Ultron. I love that she’s so laidback and teasing with him, but then at the same time there is real conflict beneath her seemingly easy company. The two of them have very different approaches to saving the day; Steve thinks everything is black and white while Nat sees only the grey. I especially loved the conversation they had in the truck on the way to New Jersey, where she asks what he wants from her, and he simply tells her the truth. Then there’s that incredible scene at Sam’s place where he says that he’d trust her with his life now that they’ve been through hell and back. I love that Steve could tell Nat was shaken by finding out that SHIELD was Hydra all along, and I think it adds something even deeper to what she goes through in Age of Ultron, which we’ll get to in a second. Nat’s “red in my ledger” comment is the baseline of her character development. She’s been trying so hard to wipe out that gushing red, and to discover that SHIELD, the organization that saved her life and put her on the right path, was still evil at its core, was the worst thing that could happen to her. But she puts her trust in Steve and Sam and the others and they get the work done destroying Hydra’s plan, and once again, she is shown to be beyond competent and essential to the mission, stopping Pierce and saving literally millions of lives.

Now it’s time to discuss Age of Ultron. By now, we have a glimpse of Nat’s past, what motivates her to still work for SHIELD, and that she’s perfectly comfortable with her teammates. First off, I do admit I’m not a big fan of the Nat/Bruce ship, but that’s not the fault of the writing for me. I just don’t see chemistry between ScarJo and Ruffalo, that’s all. I think she had way more heat and tension with Evans, but that might also be because the two have worked together before in the Nanny Diaries and in Winter Soldier, so keep that in mind. However, this is where my problem with the faux feminists starts.

 

blackwidowandbruce

 

First of all, how is it sexist that Nat has a romantic arc with Bruce when literally every single Avenger so far has a love interest BEFORE it got to her? Tony has Pepper, Steve had Peggy, Bruce had Betty, Thor had Jane, and Hawkeye had his wife. I’m not kidding. All of them have a romantic relationship BEFORE Nat does, and all of said romances were fully explored and have an impact on our heroes. So does Nat and Bruce’s relationship. I’m not understanding the claim of sexism here. Hell, let’s check Webster yet again for a definition:

Sexism (n):   prejudice or discrimination based on sex; especially :  discrimination against women

OR

 :  behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex

Nope. Still not seeing it. Where is the sexism in Nat developing an attraction to Bruce, who is quiet, brilliant, kind-hearted, brave, and has shown her nothing but respect since they met? Where is the unfair treatment of this character? She is getting the same amount of attention towards romance that the other heroes received. How does it diminish who she is to want to share her feelings, both physical and emotional, with someone she likes?

Moving on; apparently the other outcry of the faux feminists is that Nat’s reveal about being sterile is also somehow sexist. Again, I’m a girl. I’ve watched this movie two separate times a week apart, and I cannot see any sexism on the part of the writers/director. Are they trying to say that dealing with her sterility is sexist? How? Men and women ARE different. Women DO have issues that men will never have to deal with. Nat’s sterility is definitely something that would impact her negatively and make her feel utterly destroyed if thrown back into her face after what we assume is probably years of repression. She was a weapon, programmed and commanded to do things against her will, and that abuse shaped how she acted for years. Furthermore, how is it sexist to write that it made her turn that negativity onto herself when Bruce brought up not being able to have a family? If it’s the way she phrased being a monster, fine, that wasn’t phrased correctly, but I don’t see how that is reinforcing a stereotype or a negative generalization about women. Infertility is an issue that affects all women, whether they want to ever bear children or not. I personally don’t really want any kids at this point in my life; I might never get to that point, and I don’t even have a boyfriend. That is a relevant issue to women. Why is Nat getting hatred, and subsequently, why is Joss Whedon and his writers getting flak for discussing a modern, relevant issue that women deal with? Wouldn’t it be sexist to gloss over it? Wouldn’t it be sexist to ignore her background and not discuss what has made her want to bond with Bruce? To make her a one dimensional character who is just a pair of tits of a punchline?

This is why I finally decided to make a blog post discussing the issue. I think that feminism has been corrupted by one specific group of women who like to take this word and warp it into an excuse to complain. Do you want proof? Fine. I’ll give you some examples.

They complain about Nat, but they ignore the fact that Darcy, the brunette from Thor, quite literally did not do ONE plot relevant thing in the entire movie. She was just there to be pretty and crack jokes and so the twenty-something boys would have someone to ogle other than Natalie Portman.

They complain about Nat, but then they scream and rage about Jane falling in love with Thor even though Thor’s entire actions in the first movie were a direct result of things that Jane helped him do, and he would not have been able to regain Mjolnir or defeat Loki without Jane’s help. It makes perfect sense that Thor fell for her because of how smart and sweet and brave and willing to learn she was, and it made sense for Jane to fall for Thor because he was a gentleman and he sacrificed himself to save a town full of people as well as her from his brother’s wrath.

They complain about Nat, but they actively worship Loki: a selfish, spoiled, entitled prick who chose to ignore years of kinship with Thor and Odin because his ego and inferiority complex took over. They constantly make excuses for him, saying it’s all Odin’s fault or all Thor’s fault, that Loki went mad with the notion that he was to be king. They say that he was just “misunderstood” when he came to earth, gleefully killing innocent people, and intending to enslave mankind not for our own good, but because he wants to be king of the mountain. They blame Thor for being a bully, and ignore the fact that Thor gave Loki chance after chance after chance to reform and do the right thing, even at the risk of his own life, and that Thor still loved Loki even at the moment of his passing.

They complain about Nat, but they try to justify the actions of Grant Ward from Agents of SHIELD, who has a boo-hoo abusive backstory that in no way justifies his constant ass-hattery and decision to be an evil, remorseless arrogant son of a bitch time and time again. He has murdered, tortured, kidnapped, and blamed everyone but himself for his own actions, and he has made it clear that his wants and needs exceed everyone else’s.  He refuses to apologize to the people who he betrayed and tried to kill several times, and yet these same women create entire groups to “stand” with him and protest that he’s not a monster when we have physical evidence that he is.

So yes, I use the term “faux-feminist” with no reservations whatsoever when addressing the people who claim that Nat is a bad character written by a “sexist.” All she is as of right now is a lightning rod that they are using to do what their actual agenda is: to stomp their little feet and fight fire with fire. Feminism is NOT about bullying men, or bullying women who disagree with you. Feminism is NOT about throwing so much hatred at someone that they feel the need to remove themselves from a social media environment. Feminism is NOT about treating men like shit so that they “understand” what women go through. Feminism is about finding middle ground so that men understand that women are to be written competently and realistically instead of being objectified or ignored.

Natasha Romanoff was not being objectified or ignored. She had an actual character arc. She had a personality. She had a mission. She was relevant, three-dimensional, and realistic. Does she do things that some of us disagree with? Of course she does. But that is what makes her an actual character. Real characters make mistakes. They screw up. They have faults. That is what the end goal is for feminism. We want to see women who aren’t perfect goddesses or complete screw ups. We want to see women who are both, and every shade in between, and that is exactly what Natasha Romanoff has become from her first appearance to her current one. You don’t have to like her. But you have to appreciate her because she is a fully formed character with motivations, a fleshed out personality with layers, and a background that has been explored that affects her behavior.

You wanna complain about Age of Ultron? Be my guest. The movie is by no stretch perfect. It has flaws, and you are welcome to discuss them. But don’t you dare plant that fake-ass feminist flag and proclaim that it’s tearing down women when you have Natasha Romanoff out there kicking ass and being developed and proving that you don’t need a dick to be a fantastic hero. That ain’t feminism. That’s being a dick.

And I’m pretty sure that’s not what feminism is about.

Kyo out.

 

Kyoko M is an author, a fangirl, and an avid book reader. Her debut novel, The Black Parade, made it through the first round of Amazon’s 2013 Breakthrough Novel Contest. She participated and completed the 2011 National Novel Writing Month competition. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Lit degree from the University of Georgia, which gave her every valid excuse to devour book after book with a concentration in Greek mythology and Christian mythology. When not working feverishly on a manuscript (or two), she can be found buried under her Dashboard on Tumblr, or chatting with fellow nerds on Twitter, or curled up with a good Harry Dresden novel on a warm central Florida night. Like any author, she wants nothing more than to contribute something great to the best profession in the world, no matter how small.

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  • Sarah Says Read

    I agree that feminism is often corrupted that things that are not really feminist issues. I’ve seen that a lot. *coughCaitlinMorancough*

    With Black Widow – I totally love her. My only Nat-centric problems with Age of Ultron is that the romance between her and Bruce escalated a LOT faster than I would have liked, and the monster-sterility thing. The romance seemed very insta-love, but that’s just a personal complaint for me, not a feminist issue. I actually liked the concept of her and Bruce together.

    As for the monster-sterility thing, I think it was due to bad editing. I don’t think Whedon would ever intentionally imply that women who can’t have children are monsters. HOWEVER. The wording did bother me, because society does still tend to label women who can’t have children (or don’t WANT to have children) as unnatural freaks. I don’t think there was any intent behind the phrasing, but it did really piss me off when I saw it. And you’re right, women who can’t have kids might absolutely feel like they are a monster – so I feel like the entire question of her sterility and her feelings on it might have been better handled in her own movie, where it could be explored more properly. It didn’t lessen my love for Nat any, it just bugged me that they threw that in there.

    What actually pisses me off isn’t the content of the movie. It’s the handling of Black Widow as a character. I can’t believe Marvel still won’t give her her own movie. I am baffled that they actually replaced her in the toys put out to reflect her awesome motorcycle scene (they replaced her with both Captain America and Iron Man). She is consistently left off of Avengers t-shirts. My niece wanted Avengers toys for her birthday, BW is her favorite, and we couldn’t find ANY BW toy in the several stores we tried. Crap like that is more critical to me.

  • Classic

    Love it!

    And just want to add that you hit the nail on the head several times. I didn’t see a problem at all with the way that Nat has been portrayed across three movies. I am a bit tired of people yelping sexism all of the time without looking at what the movie is even saying or doing.

  • Jenna

    <3 Thank you.

    The day after I watched the movie was the day all this crap got its major start. & I wrote this & have been trying to find the best place to share it since…If it's okay I'd like to share it with you:

    I've seen a lot of critiques of Joss Whedon lately & most of them, well, to each their own. But there is one going around which I think
    is potentially dangerous so I just have to say something about it. It's the "What have you DONE to Black Widow?" critique, or
    at least the aspect of this critique which continues on to say that making Black Widow unable to have children somehow makes her less of a woman or a worse character.

    It's hard for me to even properly explain what is wrong with this. I don't believe that anyone who has ever read an Avengers comic book or watched an Avengers movie actually thought that Black Widow was going to get tired of saving the world & settle down with a nice man & make babies together. It can't, then, be simply that a fantasy of baby Widows running around has been lost–I don't think that ever was a fantasy.

    What it sounds like people are saying is that, as we used to say when I was a teenager, she came to kick ass & chew gum & she's all
    out of gum, but that doesn't matter because she can't have kids. She is an integral part of a team that has saved the world numerous
    times, but it means nothing without the pitter-patter of little feet.

    Maybe what it actually is, is a majority of people for whom the choice to have children is a choice can no longer see themselves as easily in Black Widow as they could before. Rather than being angry about this, is it not possible to see that there is a whole new group of women who can see themselves in a heroine? See a heroine in themselves?

    We have spent so much time in the field of reproductive rights worrying about the right to have the choice not to have children that we
    sometimes forget about the right to have the choice to have children. What I see in Black Widow's sterilization & in her discussion of
    it with Bruce is that she *is* sad–but not because she is less because she has no children. She is sad because that choice was
    taken away from her. It was made for her, and the choice made was no.

    Though we may try to ignore it, this happens often in our society: women who have chemotherapy and don't have the option to have their eggs frozen, women who have to have hysterectomies or ovectomies or both, women who have PCOD or PCOS, women with other hormonal imbalances that can only be treated by taking birth control, women who are infertile for various reasons, women who are born without reproductive organs, trans women who have bottom surgery, women who have issues with miscarriage, women for whom pregnancy would be too strong a health risk, and women who are forcibly or "accidentally" sterilized, or who are strongly encouraged to have their tubes tied even if they don't want it done, despite no medical need to have it done, all have their choice to have or not to have children taken away or at least severely lessened.

    This is the tragedy for Black Widow & it symbolizes a tragedy many other women go through as well. What is even more tragic is that we have an opportunity to use Black Widow as one voice that isn't condemning those who are unable to have kids. Instead, she is living a full life. Black Widow's life is pretty awesome without children & instead of projecting more societal guilt onto her, saying she is
    somehow less of a character now, we should be able to celebrate her accomplishments. She has saved the world more than once. It is
    awesome & doesn't need the possibility of babies to make it more awesome.

    Not having full reproductive rights is hard enough without the societal shame so often attached to it. In Black Widow we finally get to
    have a woman who doesn't sit back & bemoan her fate, as so many other fictional characters who cannot have children do. She lives
    her life without shame. So why are we forcing societal shame onto her? Why are we placing our baggage that says women who cannot have children are less than women who can onto her?

    Thanks for giving me a place to share,

    Love and light,

    Jenna

  • Lilian Grae

    I agree with this post except for the analysis of Age of Ultron. Besides the lack of merchandise, I liked Black Widow in the previous films. My issue with Age of Ultron was that her primary purpose/plot line in this film seemed almost exclusively related to the romance with Bruce. Take away the scenes and lines with Bruce and how many lines/scene would have Black Widow appeared in? I guess one could argue that this storyline helped to humanize her and move her character forward but … I was annoyed that the majority of lines and screen time were devoted to talking with or about her feelings with Bruce, calming down Hulk or being rescued by hime.

    • I would disagree with the idea that her purpose seemed “exclusive” to the romance plot. Her “motorcycle scene” had her saving almost the entire team at one point in the film, making a pivotal difference in whether or not the Avengers could “rescue” the cradle from Ultron. Not only that, but I found that the scenes she had with Banner didn’t necessarily make her the love interest – Hulk was the one in need of saving – she was trying to bring HIM back from the brink while they were at the safe house.

      She knew when to initiate a “code green” and how to slow him down. If someone wanted to take a completely cynical view of her actions, it *could* potentially be argued that she knew how to “use” Banner better than anyone on the team, and she wasn’t even remotely in love with him. I think she was put in scenes with the Hulk to make the Hulk more interesting (Hulk 2003 and The Incredible Hulk 2008 movie review scores make it pretty obvious the character is abysmal).

      • Tiria

        Her action sequences != character development. 90% of her character development was related to her relationship with Bruce. The other 10% was related to her being Aunty to Clint’s kids. We weren’t told anything about who SHE is outside of her relationships to other people.

        • That’s typical of any movie with an ensemble cast. This was not a movie for character development – dont just focus on Black Widow, think about it in terms of any of the OTHER characters. This was Hawkeye’s movie, if anyone’s. How much “character development” did we see in Banner? Stark? Nick Fury? Even Cap? This was a summer blockbuster action flick, not an introspective on the inner minds of superheroes. That’s not making an excuse, either- that is explaining the simple fact that *none* of the characters were deep in this particular film, not just Widow.

        • Spirit Equality

          Conversely, Clint’s entire character development was his time with his family, with the exception of a brief moment when he is saved by a character in a fashion that i will not describe further to avoid spoilers. But mainly, we aren’t told anything about who Clint is either, only about who he is in relation to his family (which is worse for him, because he has not really been seen onscreen since the last Avengers film, unlike Natasha, who had loads of screen time in Winter Soldier [and before that, some screen time in Iron Man 2])

  • Kristin

    Not mad that she has a romance. She deserves to love and be loved. Mad that almost her entire plot line in Age of Ultron was reduced to a romance. Especially one that was undeveloped. Came out of nowhere. And went nowhere. The entire plot would been EXACTLY THE SAME if they’d stayed good friends. Because I don’t understand how she goes from being completely TERRIFIED of him in the first Avengers, to suddenly in love with him in the second. It’s bad writing. Plus, that dynamic would work better with other characters (in the comics she was with Bucky/Winter Soldier, and that I would love to see, especially since there’s a throw away mention of them knowing each other in Russia during the Winter Soldier film).

    As for the monster-sterility thing – people are misinterpreting. She isn’t saying she’s a monster because she can’t have children. She’s saying she’s a monster because these people turned her into something that doesn’t feel, that has no attachments, that isn’t capable of caring about anything other than the mission. THAT is why she’s a monster.

    As for Jane Foster – I’m not mad she fell in love with Thor, I’m mad Thor fell in love with her 🙂 There’s NO reason for it. It’s badly written, and the two actors have zero chemistry. I just kind of ignore it.

    There is one “sexist” part of the movie you missed that people are complaining about. In the beginning of the film, when Maria asks where Pepper and Jane are. People are upset they were written out with some throwaway lines, but frankly, I found that part absolutely adorable. Tony and Thor gush about their girlfriends, how amazing they are, whose is better. And they tout these women’s accomplishments like badges of honor.
    There was also the whole “barefoot and pregnant” issue with Hawkeye’s wife but…. Man that was just weird and badly written. Actually a lot of that movie was badly written.

  • I just re-watched this movie with a different group of friends this weekend, after seeing it opening weekend. With this controversy I paid close attention to this movie. Key word: “monster.”

    Hulk refers to himself as a monster.
    Black Widow’s line as along the lines of “Still think you’re the only monster on the team?”
    Stark refers to himself & banner “people already think we’re monsters” in the discussion of creating 2nd Ultron from JARVIS.
    Captain America somewhere around the “walk it off” speech refers to the Avengers as monsters due to the collateral damage often caused by their battles.
    The word monster is uttered in a self-referential way by the HEROES of the film no less than 4 times in the movie from what I can recall (I wasn’t taking notes), and the word “monster” is said, I believe, 7 times throughout the movie.
    Thinking of one’s self as a monster and being proven wrong by another member of the team is a theme in this film. There’s a difference between someone calling Widow a monster, and her “feeling like” a monster, only to be proven wrong by someone like Banner. The “love-story” between the two feels like it came out of nowhere in this movie, but it is clearly implied that it has been going on for a while. Time passes between these movies and Black Widow and The Hulk are characters we have the least information on between films. But lines like “the lullaby worked better than ever, this time” near the beginning of the movie tells us they’ve been using this technique for a while, and have had time to start to fall for each other.

  • derpygurl

    Wow. A lot of this is news to me. I wasn’t a fan of “BruTasha” either, but because of the chemistry between them, NOT because of any anti-feminist undertones. I do agree that her calling her self a “monster” was a poor choice of words though. And I agree with a few others here, that I wish her character had more to do physically in the the film, but I wonder how much was re-written to “cover” Scarlett’s pregnancy. And WHO THE HELL is standing up for Grant Ward? (I can’t even with that one.) The only other thing I could comment on is the blatant lack of Natasha’s character in the mercy. But again, not Whedon’s fault, it’s DISNEYS.

  • Tiria

    I hate Grant Ward. I don’t really care about Loki. I DO think Darcy is the best woman character in the entire MCU so far because she isn’t used as eye candy nor is defined by the men she has relationships with, but by her friendship–and *working relationship*–with another woman.

    And I absolutely detest what AOU did with Natasha.

    I think you’re engaging in a bit of false equivalence, here. Romance subplots are different for male vs. female characters. Women often can’t exist without them; men often don’t get one that goes any deeper than getting a pretty girl as a prize for quest completion. Women can, do, and should exist outside of their relationships with men. That Whedon apparently doesn’t understand this is a problem.

    Moreover, I think you’re misunderstanding the problem with the sterilization dialogue.

    1. Women are not defined by their fertility.
    Not being able to bear a child doesn’t mean a woman is broken or destined to be emotionally dead, without ties to anyone.

    2. Fertility is not necessary to become a parent.
    Along with Whedon’s other adoption-fail line in the first film, it’s pretty clear he doesn’t understand that biology != family.

    Natasha was broken by the Black Widow program, and yes, them sterilizing her against her will (since her will had been trained out of her by that point) is part of why she’s broken. But it’s not the state of being infertile that makes her broken; it’s the means by which it happened. Whedon’s dialogue does NOT frame it that way. It frames it as the purpose of the sterilization was to make it impossible for her to care about people. That’s ridiculous.

    I am not broken because my eggs don’t work. My son is no less my son because we adopted him. A female character in a mass-distribution movie furthering the idea that infertility = brokenness (even by implication) makes my own family’s life harder. It’s sexist, absolutely, but the problem goes well beyond that.

    • Bobby J

      The amount of defensive you are pretty well shows that your eggs not working HAS affected your life and that you ARE defensive about it, meaning you and Natasha have something in common there.

      Considering we have shown, REPEATEDLY, that women are significantly more connected (in specific ways due to E4 estrogen that ONLY occurs during pregnancy) to a child that they have rather than one they adopt due to an incredible difference in brain chemistry brought on with pregnancy, and considering estrogen is made by the ovaries, having them damaged WOULD affect your ability to care about people.

      Your fertility absolutely affects your brain chemistry. Period. This isn’t opinion, this isn’t a question of if you love your child, this is science. As for “your son is your son?” Male offspring. Male descendant. Neither of those are your right to claim. Period. Biology. End of discussion. In the newer, “a boy or man in relation to either or both of his parents” meaning, sure. You love your child, you’re responsible for its well-being, and you will do your best to be the best parent you possibly can, and no one here’s arguing that.

      And talking about the female genitalia and their sexual reproductive function isn’t sexist (Sexism or gender discrimination is prejudice or discrimination based on a person’s sex or gender. Prejudice means preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. Meaning that fact-based discussion can NEVER be sexist. Ever. Period). It’s fact. Your sex bits have a function, just like everyone else’s. Natasha’s being damaged means that she’s legitimately carrying less of a hormone known to regulate moods and cause emotional fluctuation (and has been linked to empathy, though there’s not enough evidence either way, on that) (http://www.webmd.com/women/guide/estrogen-and-womens-emotions http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estrogen#Mental_health)

      Not being able to bear a child thereby SIGNIFICANTLY changes your emotional capability, it SIGNIFICANTLY affects your ability to love a child, and in certain cases can actually cause major emotional damage: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886913000469

      Darcy is a craptastic character. She is defined by a relationship. Meaning she’s a byproduct of a relationship. Meaning she’s an attribute to someone else. Not. Even. A. Character. She’s a purse. Also, what’s up with the misuse of “woman” in so many posts at this point? The concept that “female” degrades women is ridiculous. “Woman” is a noun. Not an adjective. Period.

      Your whole post is riddled with scientific inaccuracies and blatant disregard for reality.

      Good day.

  • Kenyoda-Kenyeda Adams

    This was a great post! I did not think about it that way either!

    • Jenna

      <3

  • Jamie Jeans

    I am no fan of Joss Whedon’s, he has his flaws and whatnot, but I think that Mark Ruffalo really put it well that part of the source of the criticisms with Black Widow in Age of Ultron is that she is the only female Avenger operative, which means that she is, by default, saddled with a lot of expectations.

    I also think that the sheer, frantic pace of the movie, and that it was more of one that was a connection between movies instead of something that could stand more on its own, like the first Avengers movie, worked against it.

    As such, it made the romance rushed, so maybe in the blu-ray release, we’ll get to see more on-screen development between her and Banner.

    Again, you’ve given me plenty to think about for when I do buy and watch this movie again, as the nearest theatre is a good two hours away. Great write up!

  • douglagoddess

    interesting. people also forget Captain America and Thor literally have an exchange about whose girl is/was more impressive based on tehir academic or military achievements

  • Spirit Equality

    Please cite to the feminists you are disagreeing with, so I can read their actual arguments and decide which of you is correct. As it stands, this feels like a straw(wo)man argument (since the people you disagree with are unnamed, uncited, and un-linked). I can’t even tell whether you’re paraphrasing their arguments correctly. The main feminist issue I recall certain people having with AoU was that Natasha described herself as a monster after explaining that she was surgically altered so she couldn’t have children. In no other film where her sordid past of killing various people has she ever referred to herself as a monster. It struck me as a bit odd as a viewer, personally. Plenty of women opt to have surgery to prevent future pregnancies. It makes some sense for a woman who has been trained her whole life to kill people to opt out of future procreation. Her coming down so hard on herself for that, as opposed to when Loki named all the people she killed in that famous scene in Avengers, seemed strange, to me. Also, there was zero setup pre-AoU to her linking up with Bruce and I agree that her dating Cap feels more right from a story and chemistry perspective (they have spent more onscreen time together than any other two Avengers, after all, pre-AoU).

  • Spirit Equality

    “The amount of defensive you are pretty well shows that your eggs not working…” Please proofread your comments before you post them.

    Also, subtracting your ad hominem attacks, your argument does not to undermine the point of the author to whom you are responding: “Fertility is not necessary to become a parent. ” And it isn’t.

    Nor do you address this point: “Women are not defined by their fertility. ”

    Try reading the comment to which you intend to write a response thoroughly, then read your own reply thoroughly, to assure you are actually addressing the points being raised.

    This science (for which you do not provide any citation) that you mention above has nothing to do with Tiria’s point that “Not being able to bear a child doesn’t mean a woman is broken or destined to be emotionally dead, without ties to anyone” because it doesn’t. Read thoroughly, then respond. Carefully.

    • Bobby J

      I provided links for every single point that I posted. Whether they were stripped or not. And… the grammar you’re calling out is exactly correct.