Joss Whedon has made a career out of strong female-based characters and his feminist themes run strong in shows such as Firefly and Buffy The Vampire Slayer. We even have Black Widow teaming up with Captain America in The Winter Soldier and holding her own as part of The Avengers Team. So, who better than Whedon – honored in 2006 by ‘Equality Now’ for being a staunch ally to woman – to talk about the widespread misogyny that is rife on the internet (recently we witnessed the Marvel hiccup with Milo Manara’s variant cover for Spider-woman #1, and now with #gamergate taking center stage as the current internet hot bed). The fact that this is still a very problematic issue – if not, worse – as it was back in the mid 2000s is a pretty jarring sentiment.
Recently Whedon made an appearance at an Equality Now event in Los Angeles, and what he had to say, offers a detailed insight into his origins as a feminist and his views on the recent state of affairs within the online community.
“I was raised by a very strong woman, I didn’t know feminism was actually a thing until I left home and found out the country didn’t run the way my mom’s house did,” Whedon told Vulture. “I have this goldfish, idiot, forgetful thing in that every time I’m confronted with true misogyny, I’m stunned. I’m like, Really? That’s like, I don’t believe in airplanes. It’s like, What century are you from? I don’t get it.”
It seems that due to Whedon’s upbringing he sees misogyny as an anachronism in today’s world. Whedon described his emotional response when coming across the recent surge in online attacks against woman as “shocked, then occasionally amused, then occasionally extremely not amused.” Elaborating on the debacle, the Avengers helmer and scriber related the latest issues to a misogyny that runs just as deep in western culture as it does in many other parts of the world, adding that it’s “not just where they perform genital mutilation and marry off 10-year-olds” but in our own culture.
“When I see this hate bubbling up towards any kind of progress, my reaction is twofold,” Whedon went on. “First, it’s horror, and then, it’s delight, because you don’t get this kind of anger unless real change is actually happening. It is a chaotic time. It’s an ugly time because change is happening. It would be lovely to be living after the change has happened.”
As mentioned, Marvel – who is trying to remedy some of the issues regarding sexism – recently made a bad judgment call when they decided to hire Milo Manara (who is widely know for his sexualisiation of woman in his artwork) to work on some limited edition cover variants for Spider-Woman #1. This sparked heavy debate on the internet which highlighted that misogyny and sexism was still very problematic just going by the reaction and comments on numerous messageboards.
Whedon made the rounds back in 2006 when he was asked by myriad reporters why he created all of his strong female characters and his answer was not only epic, but absolute genius, when he quipped: “I create them because you are still asking me that question.”
When reading about misogyny and sexism in other cultures, it is easy to forget that it is still an inherently deep problem in western culture – in our own culture. What has been displayed by Whedon’s attitude throughout his career is that it is best targeted at an early age. This is when the big boys such as Marvel and DC with their popularity and influence is stronger than ever towards the younger generation, should cease this opportunity to try and change certain perspectives that are culturally embedded within society.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Category: Nerd Culture