Oh for crying out lo…*HEADDESK!*

Ouch…that one hurt.  What brings me to slam my head to the table in annoyance and displeasure?  Hang on a while and let me explain.  On tor there is the following article, which I shall cut and paste in it’s flaming entirety, and intersperse with mine own occasionally irritated replies interspersed. in italics.   The title of the article is called Guardians of the Galaxy, we need to talk.  Perpend…

Let me make a few things clear before we get into the grumpy bits. I enjoyed the hell out of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Not only I was part of that 44% female audience for opening weekend, but I also plan to see it again. It was the first MCU movie I’ve seen opening day or weekend, and only the second one I’ve seen in a theater (the first was Captain America: The Winter Soldier). The soundtrack has been on repeat on my iPod for nearly two weeks, and half my Tumblr is dedicated to Rocket and Groot being adorbs and Sister Assassins being awesome. I’d pay cold, hard cash for a dancing baby Groot toy, and Groot fanart is my desktop wallpaper. I would give just about anything to have a TV prequel of teenage Gamora and Nebula kicking ass. I will even cover the “Rocket Raccoon,” “Legendary Star-Lord,” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” comics in an upcoming Pull List. TL;DR: I love the Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Well, I love about 85% of it, and have serious reservations about a few key issues.

Okay let me make a few things clear.   I enjoyed the ever loving hell out of the movie myself.  I was part of the huge  100%  human audience that went to the theatres on opening weekend hoping to be entertained as all hell.  Which I was.   For a movie I’ve been looking forward to for a weeks or months I’ll invariably go on opening weekend and join the galloping hordes. I’ll cheerfully go see Guardians again.  I don’t have any of the toys, any of the comics or any of the other merchandise involved.   Although if  it plays one of the songs from the movie I might be interested in a baby groot.  Wow you bought the sound track?  Seriously where have you been? You could have had the music you’re enjoying now, ages ago. Like about the time I was BORN, or within a decade there after. Since that’s when those tunes are from.   I love the entire movie and had no issues with it. I only hope we get to see Thanos get kicked in the balls at some point in a future marvel movie. Always assuming that as a slightly hominid alien he actually HAS balls.  I’ll leave that argument to the peanut gallery though.

Spoilers abound…

“You said it, bitch.”
Can we please stop calling people bitches? More specifically, stop having male characters call other male characters bitches, as if it were the worst thing one man could call one another. Having a man take a term that represents a certain kind of person – in this case, a headstrong, independent woman who doesn’t take shit from anyone – and turn it into an invective meant to hurt another man as a slight against their masculinity is unnecessary and misogynistic.Such a comment is right up there with calling something “gay.” Surely we’ve moved beyond this as a culture.

Uhmmm..nahhh. Look up Bitch in the dictionary. It means female dog, hence why it’s always been a derogatory term. Seriously?  Why are you in anyway thinking about this crap while in a movie?  Invectives serve a purpose. They aren’t just to wound, though they are used that way.    Someone calls me a “bitch” I laugh in their face.  For men they act as a….how do I put this?  Invectives and insults  for men[and females too]  act as a push on our fellow males[females] to get us to do something. Either something that needs doing or something stupid.  The use to which it’s being put depends entirely on the context of the situation.  Think DRILL Sgt..  Oh and since when is males being…insultingly male to each other,  misogynistic?  Don’t think that qualifies as misogyny.  Occasionally irritating, bordering on majorly  assholish….but misogyny?  Nah.

Gamora’s costume
Listen up, superhero creators. There are 3 big no’s in creating costumes for female characters: no boob plates, no high heels, and no boob or belly windows. There’s no reason for Gamora or Nebula to wear something as impractical as 3 inch wedge heels. And no, Drax and Star-Lord being shirtless doesn’t count as a male objectification. They’re propped up as an admirable, desireable male physique, whereas Nebula and Gamora’s skin-tight, revealing outfits sexualize them. If Star-Lord doesn’t need heels or a costume that defies gravity, then neither do Gamora or Nebula. At least we can thank Hera they didn’t use Gamora’s costume from the comics.

“Listen up” yeah yeah I’m sure they are waiting in  breathless anticipation to listen to your wisdom.  Of course, I could be wrong on that score.  Boob Plates, high heels and no boob or belly windows?  Well shit you really want to take a lot of the visual stimulation out of it for us fellas don’t ya?    Lets see, I didn’t notice any boob plates on Gamora, can’t remember right now if there were any on her “sister”,  there’s no reason NOT to wear the wedge heeled boots either.  As for the rest of the last of the 3 no’s, hell the entirety of this gripe.  No boob holes etc? How is a female assassin going to get close to a male target to take him out up close?  Or off the street in a hotel room or home somewhere?  She’s going to use the assets god, exercise,  or a plastic surgeon, or genetic tinkering..gave her. Thereby enabling her to slip a knife between some poor bastards ribs before he realizes is. quite dead. Or poison him, or pull a hideout gun to splatter his brains all over the wall. Etc etc, ad nauseum.
Oh and by the way, the rest of your argument is spurious and hypocritical. Why? because in point of fact dear lady,  if YOU can get offended and upset over the “sexualization” of female characters then you SHOULD be upset by the sexualization of male characters. Since you won’t admit that yes in fact if you want to look at females being sexualized the way you do, and not look at the same thing done to men[being topless, in a very small bottom and nothing else etc] then you madame are a hypocrite.

Howard the Duck
No, Marvel, you don’t get to reboot a freaking talking duck movie before you give a movie to someone who isn’t a straight white man. You had the perfect opportunity to tease a Captain Marvel or Black Widow movie and you wasted it. Hell, you could’ve used the tag on what happened to Nebula after she jumped out of the spaceship. Presumably she’s still alive, and it would be so cool to see her piecing herself together out of the wreckage. But instead we end up with Howard the Duck? *groan*

Uhmmm okay. I can’t necessarily disagree with this one. As I do get sick of “reboots” when there is soooo much original material out there, in the comic and book world that you could choke Galactus  with it.   Frankly I’m rather fond of the 1986 movie, was a favorite of my childhood years.

Lack of diversity
It’s been argued that Gamora is the real star of the movie, and I’m inclined to agree. But, of course, it can’t really be Gamora’s movie because that would mean having a woman protagonist instead of a handsome white dudebro. That same line of reasoning is what makes Glenn Close’s Nova Prime so disappointing. You’d think the leader of an entire planet would have more to do than to look fretful and/or stern while taking orders from a lusty space pirate. Marvel should be ashamed for wasting the phenomenal Glenn Close on such an ineffectual role.

Furthermore, in a galaxy with a sentient tree, a talking raccoon, a space dog, and Howard the freaking Duck, you mean to tell me that there’s only one person of color worth hearing speak? And no, it doesn’t count as diversity if all but one person of color is relegated to background scenery. Andrew Wheeler at Comics Alliance pointed out that “if Marvel makes Thor 3 before it makes Black Panther, it will have made ten movies headlined by blond white men named Chris before it makes one movie headlined by someone who isn’t even white [or female, or LGBTQIA].” That is utterly unacceptable in a company that prides itself on its diversity.

Jesus H Christ lady!  Diversity? Diversity? 
1. Zoe Saldana- Dominican father, Puerto Rican mother with Hatian and Lebanese heritage, playing an admittedly smoking hot, GREEN ALIEN HUMANOID!.
2. Vin Diesel- With a mother that is of European descent who self identifies as a “person of color”  Playing a semi intelligent mobile TREE.
3. Dave Bautista,  A man with a greek mother and filipino father. Playing a VERY angry, blue humanoid.
4. Glenn Close, a woman, playing the most powerful personage on the fucking PLANET. 
5. Karen Gillian.  A very lovely red head that’s full scots and playing a blue, very homicidal, blue, alien humanoid.

Oh did it ever occur to you and your perenially offended friends that the reason for so many “white” super heroes is that from memory of a time when I bothered with comics as a kid…many of the heroes were white males?  So were many of the writers and artists. Geez.

I could keep going but it wouldn’t matter one damn to you lady.   Diversity does not mean, “oh we have to have a person of color for this role, or a transgendered person of anonymous heritage playing that role”.  Nope, here’s a  novel concept lady…how about the people who fit the PARTS, or play them well irregardless of skin color,  actually PLAY the characters.     Tell you what? Why don’t you go hang out with ol J.C. ?  I was throwing dice with him last night, he said something about using an inverted cross to pogo stick his way across the Alps.  Actually I wouldn’t be surprised if he visits the trappists in the Scourmont Abbey in Belgium for some Chimay ale. If he does hopefully he’ll bring some with him for our next night of gambling.

That “whore” joke
There were two, really. The first was Rocket telling Gamora to use her sexuality to seduce the quarnex battery from the watchtower guards, which still doesn’t make any sense to me. How in the world is that plan even remotely a good idea? They just established that everyone in the prison is either terrified of her or wants to kill her. While she flirts with Peter in the beginning to steal the Infinity Stone from him, the difference is that in the prison it’s treated as a punchline meant to degrade Gamora rather than a desperate plan she forms herself. In the beginning, she makes her own choice; in the prison, the male characters decide what to do with her body. In the former, she has all the agency; in the latter she’s a sexual object.

I’ll simply refer you to my earlier statement about female assassins and the best tools for the job at hand.  Enough said. No wait. let me add this. It’s is provable, and they actually did a study about this, that men’s critical thinking skills drop drastically around a beautiful woman.  Thereby making a female assassin’s job EASIER if as I stated earlier, she uses the gifts that god, exercise, a plastic surgeon or genetic tinkering, gave her.

But the more offensive joke was when Drax the Destroyer calls Gamora a whore. Gamora, warrior, assassin, and all-around BAMF, is apparently nothing more than “this green whore.” Drax can only speak literally. So where does this accusation of whorish behavior come from? It is neither implicitly nor explicitly noted anywhere that she has previously prostituted herself. If we’re going around accusing people of slutty behavior, that joke would’ve been more appropriate directed at Star-Lord. He’s notorious for sleeping around, so much so that Gamora – who never met him before this movie – rejects his infamous “pelvic sorcery.” He has so much sex with so many random women that he forgets he has one of them in his ship when he steals the Infinity Stone. (Bereet should be a clever Easter egg tie-in to the Avengers, but here she’s hardly more than a briefly seen sexual conquest.) Peter Quill may have started out as an homage to Han Solo, but in the Guardians movie he’s closer to the rebooted, over-sexed Captain Kirk.

Sigh…context and character background,  Context and character background. Gamora is as you say, sort of a BAMF, a screaming hot, female alien one.  Why is it none of you folks who go around getting offended by things..hell going around LOOKING for things to be offended by, can ever take context into consideration? She’s sold her self and her soul to Thanos’ service. For revenge. Plus she’s a woman. Therefore..while not nice..whore fits.  I’d have said vengeful mercenary bitch, but that’s just me. *shrug* So I’m human…deal with it.

The males around Gamora have simply decided that she’s a slut, without any evidence supporting it. (Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with prostitution or being a slut in the first place, but the movie clearly uses the term in a derogatory sense.) Slutty Peter gets Drax’s gratitude while not-slutty Gamora is called a whore. And to do so as a punchline is even more inexcusable. At best, it’s an unfunny joke that has no place in a light-hearted PG-13 movie. At worst, it reinforces rape culture by attempting to make it funny that women should be thought of only in terms of a straight male’s sexual appetite. I mean, come on. It’s infuriating.

Uhh…no. Actually they don’t LIKE her, in point of fact hate and distrust her, because of the truly heinous things she’s done in Thanos’ service. Which is why they keep referring to her that way. In the case of Drax it’s as much hate poisoning the well , over the death of his family by Thanos, as much as anything.   Yes in point of fact prostitution is by most people, a bad thing. I personally don’t feel that way. Legalize it, tax it, and leave people the hell alone about it. outside of that? *shrug*  Shocking attitude, I know.

It’s hard to be a comics fan if you’re not a straight white man, given that most of the representative iterations of diversity end up as one dimensional tokens, expendable sidekicks, or fridge-able sex objects. DC’s done a pretty terrible job in their comics and movies at creating female, PoC, and/or LGBTQIA characters that aren’t cardboard plot devices used to inspire the male protagonist into heroic action. To be fair, DC gets good marks on television with Arrow (and presumably The Flash), but since the shows won’t crossover into the movies, it’s more or less cancelled out in the grand scheme of things.

I differ on that score. I think if D.C. really WANTED to they could but, question is, do they want to and how serious are they? *shrug* By want to I mean crossover with movies and tv.

 

Not that Marvel is much better. Comics-wise, Marvel is slowly but surely getting more diverse, but the MCU is a more depressing story. While the MCU has been good at not actively excluding us non straight/white/male fans, they haven’t been very good at including us in the content we’re fanning over. Black Widow, Pepper Potts, Agent Hill, Peggy and Sharon Carter, Rhodey, and Falcon are awesome, but they don’t really get to do anything outside of the white male superhero protagonists. We saw Steve Rogers hang out at a coffee shop while off the clock, but what does Natasha do when she’s not SHIELD-ing? Why only three straight black dudes in the movies (with no romantic interests so as to keep them “non-threatening”)? Why not an Asian, Native American, Middle Eastern, or Hispanic character with a major role? Or a trans person? I like John C. Reilly and Peter Serafinowicz a ton, but why not hire people of color for those roles instead? Why couldn’t Corpsman Dey go home to his husband instead of his wife? Where in the MCU are the rest of us?

Ohhh why could Dey have not been female and gone home to a husband!  Or a wife. yada yada yada

Here’s the thing. You can’t give me Gamora then spend the whole movie slut-shaming her and locking her into an unnecessary romance, then expect me to grateful a woman was even allowed a prominent role. You can’t merchandise the hell out of your male (and animal, and plant) characters and skip the female ones altogether. You can’t claim Guardians is the first Marvel movie written by a woman when it was so substantially re-written by a man that everything from the character personalities to the main story arc is entirely different. Marvel as a corporation may be winning the race against DC to be the most socially progressive of the Big Two, but that victory is due less to the increasing insistence on diversity and more to DC eagerly hobbling itself.

I’m not calling for a boycott of Guardians of the Galaxy, or even suggesting it’s a bad movie. As I said earlier, I really enjoyed the overall film experience. But that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to have grave concerns about it, call it on its BS, and demand improvement. I’ll read the comics and buy the DVD, but I’ll be angry about that “whore” joke until the end of time.

As far as the crack about groot and not speaking? Piffle. I have known people that were impaired in one facet or another be it speech or otherwise, who can get emotion and nuance across…rather eloquently and beautifully. So take that particular gripe and stuff it.  As to the rest?

If  you are going to go around looking for things to be offended about, in books, movies, tv shows etc etc ad nauseum;  you are going to find them.  You are also never going to be happy. Lighten up. It’s a movie/book/entertainment. It’s not real life.    If you want a movie/comic etc  that’s as diverse as you can make it? Write the  script, sell to one of the studios, direct it and put it out there. If it’s popular and nets you and the studio that put up the money a profit so they want to make another? Awesome. More power to you, you’ve found a market that hasn’t been tapped yet.   If it’s not, maybe it’s because people don’t want to go to a movie and be prosletyzed at. about diversity, or green living or whatever the cause and cry de jour is this week. They are going to be entertained.  Think about that for ohhh, at least a minute would you?

Oh, almost forgot. here’s the link
http://www.tor.com/blogs/2014/08/guardians-of-the-galaxy-we-need-to-talk

 

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