In thinking about what to write about today, a wave of exhaustion fell over me. Here I was thinking I’d be talking about May the 4th Be With You and the incredible “Star Wars” memories I heard all day. How it united us as a culture and how, after exactly one year of running a website that celebrates women in geekdom, I still marvel at the awesomeness of the impact those stories have on us.
Yeah, except that when I woke up this morning, I read about Joss Whedon being driven off of Twitter by death threats and harassment because of a scene in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” where Black Widow discusses wanting to have a baby and feeling like a monster because she can’t.
If you guys read my writing, you know that I’m pretty sensitive to these things. Personally, I forgot that scene was even in the film. Oh, I have some serious issues with the lack of women in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I have issues with the fact that Black Widow toys are virtually absent from the market. I definitely have issues with certain leaked emails that indicate that certain studio people don’t think women belong in superhero films, and the few bad — okay, really bad films prove the point. (Guys, bad movies don’t mean half the population can’t be superheroes. They mean the people who wrote those stories kind of suck at writing.) I groaned audibly when the “prima nocta” joke was made. Bit of a punch down, no? Certainly not funny, and definitely offensive.
All of that said, the babygate scene didn’t register. I kind of thought she was talking about the whole assassin thing making her a monster. I absolutely get the annoying need to take the few female characters we have and either hook them up or give them babies. It speaks to a larger issue in the movie world. That said, some people like to be in love and have babies. Either way, I think the issue is with the whole, largely lady-less picture and gender tone deafness. Still, I totally get issues with the scene, even if I don’t personally have them.
The thing that upsets me here is, once again, the online bullying. I’m so sick of this trend, and I don’t see it ending. Having been the victim of it, repeatedly, I can tell you exactly what it does to you. It makes you jumpy. It makes you consider security cameras in your home. It makes you wonder why you do what you do for a living. That is, until someone tells you a wonderful “Star Wars” story and reminds you that fighting the good fight matters.
Whether you argue that Joss Whedon has been a great ally for women, or have issues with his choices, it’s certainly open for discussion. Discussion, not threats. I don’t have a solution for online bullying. I’m saying all of this because sometimes reading one thing can really affect you. Please just remember that there are actual people on the other side of your tweets. Just knock it off already.