…while “the female gaze” is attracted by things like a naked, sweaty Chris Evans or Idris Elba, it’s also attracted by things like: men smiling in sweaters, men crying (DON’T LIE TUMBLR), barefoot fragile Sebastian Stan in the rain on Political Animals, men holding babies, men speaking foreign languages, Mark Ruffalo, and a whole bunch of weird stuff on Ao3 that I don’t even wanna get into. And that’s just “the female gaze as it pertains to men.”
One thing I’m suddenly thinking about is Black Widow’s reputation as a femme fatale and where it comes from. Because both in the MCU and in most of the comics I’ve read, there’s not a whole lot of her seducing men/using sex to get what she needs.
In comics, her very earliest appearance with Iron Man in Tales of Suspense #52 has her serve as a distraction in the form of a pretty face, but there’s scarcely anything there, and while there were some hints of it in Richard K. Morgan’s Black Widow run overall I find it’s much more typical that the men around Natasha assume she’s there to seduce them, when in fact she has other means of getting what she wants.
(Of course, the above panel is having it both ways. Natasha’s reason for not sleeping with her mark here is that she’s “involved” - and the suggestion of sex is there, along with a close up on Natasha’s thigh.)
Outside of Ultimates (and I don’t talk about Ultimates) sleeping with people - or even trading on her sexuality that much - just doesn’t seem to be a thing Natasha really does.
And then in the MCU - in The Avengers she trades much more on her perceived vulnerability and assumed weakness (as a woman) than any kind of sexual appeal (“just another pretty face” and the whole scene with Loki). In Cap 2 there’s even less - the closest thing I can come up with is the “hello, boys” in the scene on the Lemurian Star and that is immediately followed by a brutal fight rather than a seduction. Later on, with Sitwell, her interrogation style is to kick him off a building.
What I’m getting to, I guess, is that it seems to me one of those things that kind of comes out of nowhere. It’s an assumption - like the man in the panels above, that because Natasha is a woman and a spy and wears a tight black suit, that her modus operandi is sex. And if it’s an assumption made in universe (by Natasha’s interrogators and opponents) then it’s one that, despite its being proven wrong, is perpetuated out of universe in discussion. (Think of the reviews of both Winter Soldier and The Avengers that dismissed Natasha as sexy eye candy in fetish gear.)
It’s just - funny, for lack of a better word, that no matter what canon evidence there is, Natasha is still overwhelmingly perceived as a femme fatale figure trading on her sexual appeal, when it’s been demonstrated in both comics and the MCU that that’s not what she does. It’s like the trope of spy woman = sex object is so deeply embedded that even with two movies and several volumes of comics to the contrary, perception still sticks Black Widow in that box, again and again.
People think feminism means that there’s a group of women somewhere that want to take trousers with pockets away from men and give them to women, and give men trousers with fake pockets, while in reality feminism is the general idea that everyone should have trousers with pockets, because pockets are awesome.
^reblog for minionier’s tags
I have described myself as a skirts-with-pockets feminist before. I stand by it always. And I literally do not buy pants, skirts, or jackets without real pockets anymore.
wow I didn’t know fuckin chocolate eggs were gendered
OKAY LET ME TELL YOU A STORY ABOUT THE FUCKING PINK EGGS.
I work at a concession stand in an ice rink. We sell a bunch of chocolate bars and snacks and shit including Kinder Surprise eggs.
So one day this woman comes up to the counter with her two little kids, a girl who’s probably about 6 or 7 and a little boy, maybe 3 or 4. The mom asks what they want, the little girl points at the Kinder eggs and says “One of those!”. I asked if she wanted the white or the pink egg. She said pink. The little boy pointed to the Kinder eggs and says “One of those!”. I asked if he wanted the white or the pink egg. He said pink. HOLY SHIT IT WAS LIKE I OPENED THE GATES OF HELL. The mom absolutely FLIPPED and was like “YOU ARE NOT GETTING THE PINK EGG IT’S ONLY FOR GIRLS. YOU CAN GET THE WHITE ONE OR NOTHING AT ALL”. The little boy looked at his mom and said “But I want the same as ______ (whatever the sister’s name was)”. The mom completely ignored him and turned to me and gave me a death glare. “He can have the white egg.”
I had to give a little boy a white egg when he wanted the pink so that he could be the same as his big sister and he started crying. The mom just reiterated that the pink egg was for girls and told him that boys don’t cry.
And this is why we shouldn’t gender fucking chocolate eggs.
This three-legged decorated war hero had one leg lost to surgery after taking four rounds from an AK-47.
Bad. Mother. Fucker.
Those eyes say “Pretend to throw the tennis ball. I dare you to only pretend.”
I think those eyes say a lot more than that. He’s seen more than I ever will, done more than I’ll ever do, and his war will never be over.He’s got Ranger scrolls on his collar. That dog is a god damn hero.
I just noticed the Purple Heart and that Scroll.
Wow. Just wow.
The picture alone, in all it’s detail says a lot of things. god damn.
I can’t not reblog this dog… his you
Eyes say so much
I’ve never seen a dog with such a face like that. Like an old man who went to war and if you ask him about he just stiffens up and face turns to stone.
Layka is a lady dog. Let’s remember that.
Now, it’s an understandable problem - our socialization instantly encourages us to see this rugged, sleek, military animal as a male. Three-legged hero dog with military decorations and stern-appearing eyes? TOTALLY A DUDE DOG, JUST LOOK AT HIM. It’s a programmed response, and nothing to be ashamed of - let’s just be accurate and note that Layka’s a female.
I’ve highlighted all the reblogs above where Layka is described as a hero, an old man, with male pronouns - rather than the fierce, charming heroine she is. It’s kind of a teachable moment: how does an image of an animal, displaying absolutely no secondary sex characteristics, instantly give us these fictional headcanons about its gender and gender performance? It’s an impressive demonstration of our ability to translate body language.
The photographer who took this compelling shot noted that Layka’s playful, bouncy energy made it nearly impossible for him to get a shot with her mouth closed! He ended up having to stop using the tennis ball he was using to get her attention, because it made her too excited and smiley. Based on the photos below, I think she’d have quite a sense of humor about the “where’s the tennis ball?” game!
Of course, the photographer did end up connecting with a fundamental aspect of Layka’s nature in the cover photo; her serious, soldier side. But that’s not all the animal is. Does the dog in the unused shots still resemble an “old man?” Is the dog in the unused shots male or female? Is it still a hero with its tongue out? Is it still admirable without a “face like stone?”
This is what I mean when I say that we have to examine the lenses of culture and society that we are always, always looking through when we talk about science biology.
I will insist knights and castles and dinosaurs are gender neutral until the day I die.
also: robots and stars and outer space
Masculinity in the MCU is coded like, well, like Nick Fury. Being a masculine guy means that you have the power to stop the bad guys, whether with a gun like Coulson or with your smarts like Tony or by way of gamma radiation like Bruce Banner. It’s rare in most any media to have a male character like Fitz, who’s unapologetic about his love for Simmons, his apparent fear of guns, his lack of field knowledge. A character like Fitz would normally be the butt of a joke, not the acclaimed hero, and yet S.H.I.E.L.D. goes out of its way to prove that the Wards of the world don’t always have to be the ideal when it comes to masculinity. With Ward and Fitz, S.H.I.E.L.D. asks us to consider what a weak man truly acts like, and concludes that physical strength and mental stoicism are not always the mark of a strong man. Strength is compassion, and compassion is badass.
Sexualized Saturdays: Ward, Fitz, and S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Ideal of Masculinity (source)
Fitz isn’t the only subversive take on masculinity in the MCU, either. Think about it: almost all the male heroes have some sort of vulnerability, some moment of “weakness”, that goes against the stereotype of what it is to be a tough, strong man, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t heroes. Think about it:
- Tony Stark has a drinking problem and PTSD severe enough that it nearly wrecks his relationship with Pepper.
- Steve Rogers is chosen as Captain America for his compassion and intelligence.
- Phil Coulson is a dweeby little bureaucrat in a tailored gray suit.
- Thor loves his brother so dearly that he pleads with him to come home even after Loki invades Earth.
- Bruce Banner despises the violence in his heart that allows him to become the Hulk, and becomes a freelance healer to compensate.
- Sam Wilson is a mental health counselor whose military service was in the pararescue corps, motto: ”So others may live.”
- Nick Fury’s three chief lieutenants are two women (Natasha Romanoff, whom he treats almost as a daughter, and Maria Hill, whom he depends on to fake his death) and one man (Phil Coulson, whom he tasks with rebuilding SHIELD from the ground up).
Almost all of these characters are seen crying or close to tears (especially Cap, who is on the verge of tears during the final combat in CA:TWS), all fight in ways that don’t have buckets of blood thrown at the screen, and all value and respect the women they love and fight beside. The most notable exception is James Rhodes, an Air Force officer, but even he is shown taking care of Tony Stark, his best friend, more often than he’s shown firing a weapon.
I think this may be why the MCU is so popular among women: the men AREN’T the stereotypical strong, silent American hero. They bleed, they cry, they let their guards down, and they treat their friends, regardless of gender, color, race, or religion, as equals. This could not be more different from the blood-soaked ideals of masculinity that have dominated the screen over the last few decades (remember Rambo?), and it’s very, very good to see.
Basically, these characters behave like actual human men; maybe the best of men, but still much more like the regular decent guys you may know in real life than fictional “Alpha Males”.
Which is probably why a certain section of men prefers gritty, grimdark anti-heroes: if Fitz and that SHIELD guy who refuses to launch Project Insight can stand up and do the right thing even when they’re terrified to the point of shaking and crying, if Antoine Triplett (in many ways, Ward’s counterpart) can be both a more “traditional” aggressive operative and quietly geeky, if Nick Fury - the ultimate pragmatist - can draw a line he’s not willing to cross, these men have no excuses left for their behaviour.
Because if these flawed characters can be decent human beings and heroes, then all men have the potential for being decent human beings and heroes. Even if not all men choose to follow that example.
(Additionally: their masculinity doesn’t depend on their ability to get a date, and the relationships are depicted as… complex. It’s almost as if these heroes saw their potential romantic partners as actual human beings with lives of their own - shocking, I know.)
Also, just throwing it out there, Fury tasked Coulson with rebuilding SHIELD — but Melinda May was the one he asked to form the team (and) to watch Coulson.
The reason women are turning you down for casual sex seems to be that, for one thing, a lot of you are calling them sluts afterward. Also, a lot of you aren’t bothering to try to be good in bed.
“The fallacy in Hollywood is that if you’re making a ‘feminist’ story, the woman kicks ass and wins. That’s not feminist, that’s macho. A movie about a weak, vulnerable woman can be feminist if it shows a real person that we can empathize with.” -Natalie Portman (x)
cis ppl can have horns and swirls and spikes n shit surgically implanted under their skin any time they want if theyre rich enough but a trans woman wants boobs she has to wait at least 1-2 years for doctors to be convinced that she REALLY wants them
A cis woman who doesn’t have boobs or wants bigger ones can go and buy them any time if she has the money. A cis man with low testosterone can have T prescribed for him on the first doctor’s visit. Cis women take estrogen and progesterone routinely, for various reasons. A cis man with gynecomastia (breast growth) can have top surgery just because.
What I mean is it’s not just piercings and horns: Cis people can have actual gender-related medical interventions done any time, and they do have them, and it’s perfectly normal. But when trans people want the same interventions, often to literally save our lives, we have to wait years and jump through countless hoops to convince doctors that we really need it. The same things that cis people can have just like that.
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