I recently wrote a piece (“Whedon’s Binary”) critiquing the way gender expression is treated in the Joss Whedon Avengers universe for the Joss Whedon Roundtable over at Hooded Utilitarian. This entry will be a first for me – a response to my HU piece (yes, I’ve progressed to actually arguing with myself).
The HU piece was fun for me, but it was written entirely from the perspective of critical distance. I actually really enjoyed both Avengers films. So, as a lighthearted counterpoint to my original article (albeit from a slightly different angle than gender expression), I present to you:
Five Feminist Moments from the Joss Whedon Avengers Universe:
1) When Black Widow pretends to be a helpless victim before kicking ass in the opening scene to the 2012 Avengers. She doesn’t require the villain to conveniently “mess up”, freeing herself only once she has the information she needs, proving her command of the entire situation.
2) When Black Widow successfully tricks Loki into revealing his secret plan by pretending to be an emotional “silly girl”. Loki mocks her emotions and gives away his angle in the process.
3) When Thor and Tony Stark spend a few minutes in Avengers: Age of Ultron attempting to one-up the over whose girlfriend is better – based on her accomplishments in her field.
4) When Dr. Helen Cho says that she has no interest in attending a party – unless Thor is going. I know some people had a problem with this scene, decrying the portrayal of Dr. Cho as nothing other a fangirl, but it’s not everyday you get to see a woman expressing her sexual agency on screen.
5) When Scarlet Witch becomes an Avenger, bursting out out into the fray and using her unique powers to kick some serious robotic ass.
Of course, none of these moments involved one woman actually interacting with another woman. But I guess the Bechdel test is simply asking too much.