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Joss Whedon, “Kill Yourself,” And Creative Responsibility

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EDIT: Joss Whedon has spoken out about why he left Twitter, and it isn’t because of death threats or “social justice warriors.” However, I stand by my assertion that no matter who you are or what your reason is, telling people to kill themselves isn’t acceptable for any reason.

If you’re a nerd (and you probably are, because you’re here), you already know two things:

  1. The Avengers: Age of Ultron sucked hard and insulted basically every marginalized group on the planet
  2. Joss Whedon, director of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, deleted his Twitter account following a barrage of negative tweets about the movie.

Valid criticisms of the film poured into Whedon’s Twitter mentions–many of them regarding the role of Scarlett Johansson’s character, Black Widow, as well as a rape joke that made the film’s final cut. But with that criticism came some abusive language, purportedly driven by feminists who threatened physical violence and encouraged Whedon to kill himself.

I am never reluctant to point out that Joss Whedon, fan-appointed feminist savior of nerd culture, writes, well, exactly how a white man who’s been raised to the pedestal of blameless authority on all social issues would write. There are so many problems in his work and his interactions with fans. Here are some of his greatest hits:

  • Killing off mostly LGBTQA+/PoC/women in his canon
  • Blatant colonialism
  • Rape jokes
  • The physically-strong-but-emotionally-broken female character trope
  • Persistent self-insert “Nice Guy” characters
  • Women who die to give male characters Man Pain
  • Transphobia
  • Strong disregard of the concerns expressed by fans regarding all of the above.

Surely there are some I’m glossing over here, but I think this gets the point across: Joss Whedon is a deeply problematic fixture of nerd culture. When before his thoughts on feminism and LGBTQA+ issues had real weight with his fans, now his audience has found the footing to speak for themselves–and to speak against him. And they’re right to. Whedon has been open to discourse with fans; to disengage from critical discussion on issues like feminism and gay rights while accepting praise for his allegedly progressive attitudes is hypocritical and condescending.

But this weekend, some weren’t looking for a discussion. They were looking to vent their anger in violent ways. Feminists have been blamed for these tweets. I don’t think that’s true. While it’s entirely possible to identify yourself as a feminist and still exhibit toxic behavior, too many of the insults and threats tweeted at Whedon were of the “up your ass” variety. In my experience on the internet, it’s generally young heterosexual men who resort to threats of anal penetration. I do not, in any way, believe that the bulk of these threats were sent by women. It’s also not unusual for the usual suspects (4Chan, Reddit, Gamer Gate) to adopt the language of activists in order to express extreme positions in an effort to discredit “social justice warriors.” They’re also fond of creating sock puppet accounts on social media. I suspect that was the case in eighty percent of these abusive tweets.

I did see plenty of critical engagement by fans, in the form of questions about the choices Whedon made (many are neatly outlined in this article by Kyle Wagner). I am in no way condemning these fans or accusing them of “bullying” Whedon off of Twitter. They were simply demanding accountability, and deserved answers. But after countless “remember when” and “friendly reminder” posts in which all of Whedon’s past offenses were tallied, the conversation seemed far less, “these are things Joss Whedon has done wrong,” and more, “this is why Joss Whedon deserved not just the criticism, but the abuse he received.”

I have a lot of radical views. The belief that privileged people deserve death threats as a response to their privilege is not one of them. Maybe this sounds like tone policing. It probably is tone policing. People in marginalized groups receive threats and suggestions of suicide every single day, simply for expressing their opinions. As someone who has received her fair share, I see the marked difference between hatred for the expression of personal truth and criticism for problematic media and the creators of it. Whedon was not receiving threats for simply existing, which is what social media activists face every day. But that doesn’t lessen the severity, in my mind.

As a person who has been suicidal before, and whose family was tragically impacted by suicide, I view “kill yourself” and expression of violent ableism when used as an insult. Suicide is not a deserved punishment for the creation of problematic media. It is a disease. To suggest otherwise is to cast aspersions at everyone who has ever struggled with suicidal thoughts, or who have succumbed to the disease. What horrible thing have we done, that we deserved those thoughts? That some of us deserved to die for? Why is suicide considered a fitting humiliation for someone who has done wrong? Especially considering the fact that Joss Whedon has, in the past, admitted to suffering from panic and anxiety attacks? In what social justice philosophy is sending these messages to a person already struggling with mental illness acceptable?

This is not to say that Whedon deserves a pass for the misogynist, transphobic, rape apologist comments and content he is responsible for. The social justice landscape Whedon stepped onto with his early work has evolved into a world where he no longer speaks the language, nor holds a place of importance, and he has resisted this reality time and again, instead of changing his behavior and creations. Rather than ignoring his critics, he would do well to listen to them, and to take responsibility for the harm his actions have caused to people who aren’t comfortably enjoying white heterosexual cisgender male privilege. But celebrating threats and intimidation as a victory or accepting it as a part of activism when directed at an individual isn’t my idea of social justice at all.

Think critically about who the driving force behind that abuse might be, and what they have to gain from your defense of them. Men’s Rights Activists are right now carefully collecting those receipts to use against activists later. Consider the ableism that you’re supporting when you brush off “kill yourself” as a fitting response to an argument, and how that hurts not just the target, but normalizes the perception of suicide as a shameful act, rather than a fatal illness. And leaving all that aside, continue to demand accountability from creators of problematic media.

Thank you.

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43 Comments

  1. Nosilenceinthehead
    Nosilenceinthehead

    I could not agree more. What I sadly have seen is that people tend to forget the very messages they tried to internalize earlier about ableism, lookism, homophobia, transphobia and so on when they call out people who are ignorant and harmful on purpose.
    When somebody fucks up a piece of media or representation, criticism of all kinds is important and well in the rights of the people affected and people that are not affected should be made aware of how the representation was bad or hurtful. But including ableism like the dismissive attitude towards suicidal thoughts into this criticism is just plain wrong. Same goes for calling people who are willfully harmful “stupid” or “dumb” or “children”. Same goes for the often used imagery of “fat gross acne-ridden neckbeard anti-feminists” that throws fat people, people with skin conditions and people who struggle with hygiene (often due to mental or physical health issues) under the bus. I’m actually really sick of these insults thrown carelessly around and hurting me and other people who are easily dismissed in the process.

    It doesn’t really matter that these insults are not targeted at me or fellow mentally ill people, I KNOW what they mean and what they are targeting and that hurts enough.

    May 5, 2015
    |Reply
  2. Liz
    Liz

    Making death threats is never okay. That being said, I was one of those people getting pissed on Twitter and Tumblr, and I didn’t see any of these threats. People were mad, but the vast majority just wanted an acknowledgement or an apology. I’m sure some threats were made. That happens all the time, and if Whedon needs to get off social media for mental health reasons, he should. At the same time, I feel like quitting Twitter without explanation make Whedon look like the victim and is being used by his fanboys as a reason why we shouldn’t criticize him at all. Whedon claims he’s a feminist, but the second actual women point out something problematic in his work, he bails. When Renner and Evans called Black Widow a slut and a whore during the press tour, they apologized. If Whedon had acknowledged his mistakes before quitting, I’d be a lot more sympathetic. So maybe he needs a break for health/safety reasons, but this ‘break’ also functions as a way to gain sympathy and dodge criticism.

    May 5, 2015
    |Reply
    • Ashley
      Ashley

      Well said and I agree with you. Just wanted to comment to let you know not to speak too soon on the Renner and Evans thing… Renner is running his mouth, yet again, about how Black Widow is totes a slut.

      May 5, 2015
      |Reply
      • Liz
        Liz

        Sigh. That’s annoying.

        May 5, 2015
        |Reply
        • Yep, Chris Evans had a very nice apology. Renner’s boiled down to “I’m sorry you were offended,” which isn’t the same thing at all.

          May 5, 2015
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    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      There was a guy cataloging all the threats because he felt they were linked somehow to 4Chan/reddit/Gamer Gate/MRAs, etc. And almost all the threats were either, “Kill yourself” or “something something up your ass!” so I feel the dude had a point, it was very much not feminists doing it.

      However, I don’t think the people doing it gave a shit about Joss Whedon or the movie or anything other than creating sock puppet accounts to discredit feminists.

      May 5, 2015
      |Reply
    • Well, one of them apologized and meant it. The other went on Conan O’Brien and proclaimed he wasn’t actually sorry at all, she’s a superslut and if anyone else had sex with the entire team he’d call them a slut too!

      … nevermind she hasn’t slept with any of them and it’s funny how Tony Stark never came up…

      May 18, 2015
      |Reply
  3. MT
    MT

    Frankly, I wouldn’t blame him for leaving over the criticism. I can see the holes in a lot of his stuff, but (maybe aside from early Xander scenes being *real* squirmy now) it hasn’t overshadowed most of it for me.

    But the thing about criticism is- at the end of the day- that’s your thing. It may not be for everyone, it may get decontextualized or misconstrued or maybe it is just really shitty, and people will get critical. Whether it’s valid criticsm or just feels, at some point you have to draw the line between making your thing and making the thing everyone is telling you how to make. There’s no rule forcing you to engage beyond that line.

    It’s different when we’re talking a major studio film-the responsiblity of way more people than just the director- but then again that really makes all the teeth baring and sharp words look like blunt anger without a clear target.

    May 5, 2015
    |Reply
    • ^This. Whatever else Whedon is or is not, his work is not someone else’s soapbox. Yes, a very long time ago in dog years, he made a quirky supernatural fun-filled adventure with a kick-ass girl lead, but in the decades since, more and better girls have kicked greater quantities of ass in more complex ways, and now his one-trick pony gig is wearing off. Plus, he may be suffering a little George Lucas syndrome where there are not enough “No’s” to perpetrate the gazillions of dollars insulating him.

      He (and Hollywood) may have a “responsibility” to represent, but we all know Hollywood ain’t exactly the hotbed of socially-conscious diversity leadership we want it to be. Especially in movies, which are often the last media to catch up with social change.

      Let’s be big-girl feminists and stop looking for a dude to speak for us. Whedon should never have been our Jesus (and for some of us, he never was), and we shouldn’t be surprised when he fails to walk on water.

      All that said, nobody deserves death threats over twitter, and I don’t blame the guy for leaving it. I can only stand twitter about 2 hours a week and I don’t even post much.

      May 13, 2015
      |Reply
  4. ali
    ali

    i was going to ask you about this on tumblr! you are, not surprisingly, way on top of your game. 🙂

    May 5, 2015
    |Reply
  5. I think it stands to be said that Whedon expressed before the movie came out that Black Widow’s character was going to have a large role in the moive, but *spoilers* her part of the story revolves mainly around being Bruce’s emotional support; she’s the lady that calms the beast, essentially, because magical women powers.

    While I still enjoyed watching the movie, it was Black Widow’s sections that made me give the movie the side-eye. Even if it’s not “awful”, it’s hardly anywhere near revolutionary.

    May 5, 2015
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    • I also forgot to mention that it also says something if the most PR-worthy topic to delve into about female fighter character is whether or not they’re a whore for associating with more than one guy.

      May 5, 2015
      |Reply
  6. RadioRadio
    RadioRadio

    I co-sign most of this, but I really hate when we do this:

    Feminists have been blamed for these tweets. I don’t think that’s true. While it’s entirely possible to identify yourself as a feminist and still exhibit toxic behavior, too many of the insults and threats tweeted at Whedon were of the “up your ass” variety. In my experience on the internet, it’s generally young heterosexual men who resort to threats of anal penetration. I do not, in any way, believe that the bulk of these threats were sent by women.

    As a woman who subscribes to feminist beliefs and frequents the “feminist internet” I see women (and not just rando commenters) use sexually violent language all of the time. “fuck yourself with sandpaper”, “I hope something crawls up your vag/ass and dies”, etc. I’ve seen all these things and they’re not that incredibly uncommon.

    I know all sorts of unsavory types pose as feminists to make us seem bad, but absent solid situational evidence that this is occurring, I have no reason to doubt that some people who say they are feminists are using sexually violent language towards someone they disagree with. And acting like they don’t does nothing for us.

    May 5, 2015
    |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      That’s why I said that women are capable of using abusive language, and that I thought “eighty percent” of the “up your ass” comments were from trolls. I’m sure some of them were genuine. There was a dude collecting the abusive tweets, and so many of them involved “I’m going to [do something] up your ass,” in such a repetitive way, that it just smacked of sock puppetry.

      May 6, 2015
      |Reply
  7. ” It’s also not unusual for the usual suspects (4Chan, Reddit, Gamer Gate) to adopt the language of activists in order to express extreme positions in an effort to discredit “social justice warriors.” They’re also fond of creating sock puppet accounts on social media. I suspect that was the case in eighty percent of these abusive tweets.”

    ^^^^^
    That above needs to be qualified with some serious proof. Because I saw none of that from Gamergate at all. In fact it was the direct opposite. I am really getting sick of tired of being maligned when in fact it was SJW and easily proven to be SJW that went off the rails to him.

    May 5, 2015
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    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      I guess if you don’t want to be “maligned” as a bunch of sock puppeting, internet trolling creeps, maybe you just don’t identify yourself with a movement of sock puppeting, internet trolling creeps.

      May 6, 2015
      |Reply
  8. MrsArkban
    MrsArkban

    Well, I was planning on dying my hair & having a nice relaxing shower. Then I made the mistake of reading this post & I had one of those “angry thinking” showers.

    I feel like JW went beyond the obvious “I can only be fulfilled as a woman if I have children” and added in “biological”. If Black Widow really wanted to have children/family, there are other options – adoption, IVF, surrogacy. Hell, she’s an Avenger – get SHIELD to make her a kid or clone her or something. I bet Reed Richards could whip up something nice. It’s insulting to all the people who have built their families using non biological means.

    “The physically-strong-but-emotionally-broken female character trope”
    Doesn’t this kind of apply to males too? Spike/Angel, Riley. Heroes have to be flawed somehow to be interesting and I guess I’d rather have a kick ass heroine than a weak one with “magical calming powers”

    Liz – Then Jeremy Renner went on Conan and reversed his apology – http://morningafter.gawker.com/after-apologizing-jeremy-renner-reiterates-that-black-1702251229
    I’m curious as to his slut cut off. Sleeping with 4 guys makes her a slut. So what’s the magic number of guys you can sleep with without being a slut (I’m guessing 1)?

    Jackie – if women had magical, beast calming powers, children would never have public tantrums, EVER. JW has kids, you’d think he’d know this.

    May 5, 2015
    |Reply
    • Alison
      Alison

      Re: “angry thinking showers” Yes! This is a thing that I do, too.

      May 5, 2015
      |Reply
    • Lucy
      Lucy

      I didn’t see the Black Widow storyline like that. They were talking about a future together. He can’t have kids, not just biological but any kind because he’s a danger. He clearly worries that he might take that opportunity to be a parent away from her. And she tells him not to worry because she can’t anyway. Her emotional reaction to forced sterilization didn’t seem over the top to me. She may have been able to have children but others decided she shouldn’t without her consent.Of course she could maybe adopt or something someday but I think she was just trying to show him that she couldn’t have them naturally so that wasn’t something they had to worry about. If they also had to throw in a whole conversation about how she could adopt or clone with another man it would take long and take away from the movie and isn’t relevant because she couldn’t with Bruce anyway.

      And I liked that she could calm him because to me it showed that there really was more than friendship between them and deeper feelings were involved. I never thought *she can because she’s a woman* because I didn’t think other women could do it.

      May 6, 2015
      |Reply
      • Raging Brainer
        Raging Brainer

        I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I can understand an emotional reaction to forced sterilization. I don’t want kids, never have, but when the ability to do so was stolen without my consent (it is a long story) I was really upset. I wanted to make that choice myself and when something someone else did took the choice away from me, it was a pretty awful feeling. I still feel pretty awful about it.

        May 11, 2015
        |Reply
        • I decided about 13 years ago I didn’t want nore more children. Three years ago I had an elective tubal. A few weeks after I cried for an entire day over it, even though I didn’t regret the decision and it was entirely my own. It’s an emotional thing no matter how it happens.

          May 11, 2015
          |Reply
  9. This55
    This55

    Thank you for saying it! I am side-eyeing hard the stuff about Twitter feminists apparently making rape and death threats. I mean, the people most likely to GET rape/death threats are Twitter feminists, so I doubt they’d turn around and do the same. We know there have been successful campaigns by reddits/4chan to pose at POC and women to do bad shit, so I’m just waiting for someone to get a screenshot of them planning that.

    May 5, 2015
    |Reply
  10. It’s gross how people throw that around.

    Right after Robin Williams died, I commented facetiously on a FB post of a turtle that had been run over (a vet had fixed its shell and it was going to be OK) and I suspect someone did it on purpose, “I hate people.” Some teenage punk came on and told me if I hate people I should kill myself. I was flabbergasted to get such a response to something so benign.

    May 5, 2015
    |Reply
  11. Petra Newman
    Petra Newman

    I totally agree with you via the source of the ‘up the ass’ variety of comments Whedon received. The other sad side effect of this has been the continued trolling by men of women with opinions on Whedon’s representation failures. Last night, for example, Roxane Gay’s Twitter timeline was her (very politely) rebuffing one guy after another as they came for her after she commented that Whedon had quit Twitter after experiencing the type of stuff women field on there every day. I saw this happen again no again with the added effect of drowning out a lot of valid criticisms of Ultron with comments starting from the “look what you feminists did now” and escalating from there.

    Re: Jeremy Renner. This guy really needs some quiet time now. As someone I saw posted, Black Widow maybe a fictional character but his comments where heard by millions of real life women who didn’t appreciate them at all. Between Whedon’s departure from Twitter, Renner and Evan’s slut comment, followed by Renner’s double down and Robert Downey Jnr’s response to Inarritu’s critique of superhero movies, the whole press tour has been a bit of a disaster from start to finish.

    May 5, 2015
    |Reply
  12. Lieke
    Lieke

    ‘Kill yourself’ is never an acceptable response. To anything. Ever.

    May 6, 2015
    |Reply
  13. Lucy
    Lucy

    I quite liked the movie. But then I mostly don’t take movies very seriously, they’re my entertainment. So if I don’t like it I shrug and don’t watch it again and I don’t really get the anger some people have about things. I will get annoyed if a movie makes light of serious subjects or is -ist or -phobic of any kind (or 50 shades :D). However, sometimes I think if you try hard enough you could make any character/action/movie seem bad and even I have moments where I think ‘give it a rest’ to people carrying torches and pitchforks.

    I missed the rape joke, but I’m with you that that was wrong.

    I didn’t really have a problem with how Black Widow was portrayed. I thought she was pretty strong. I could complain about the suit but that would make me a hypocrite because I won’t complain about half naked Thor or the male outfits :D.

    May 6, 2015
    |Reply
  14. Tessany
    Tessany

    Mark Ruffalo did an AMA on Reddit today and he was asked about the Black Widow/Joss Whedon controversy. I think what he had to say is pretty well right on the money.
    ————————————————————————————————————–
    I think it’s sad. Because I know how Joss feels about women, and I know that he’s made it a point to create strong female characters. I think part of the problem is that people are frustrated that they want to see more women, doing more things, in superhero movies, and because we don’t have as many women as we should yet, they’re very, very sensitive to every single storyline that comes up right now. But I think what’s beautiful about what Joss did with Black Widow – I don’t think he makes her any weaker, he just brings this idea of love to a superhero, and I think that’s beautiful.

    If anything, Black Widow is much stronger than Banner. She protects him. She does her job, and basically they begin to have a relationship as friends, and I think it’s a misplaced anger. I think that what people might really be upset about is the fact that we need more superhuman women. The guys can do anything, they can have love affairs, they can be weak or strong and nobody raises an eyebrow. But when we do that with a woman, because there are so few storylines for women, we become hyper-critical of every single move that we make because there’s not much else to compare it to.

    So I know Joss really well. I know what his values are. And I think it’s sad, because in a lot of ways, there haven’t been as many champions in this universe as Joss is and will continue to be. And I know it hurts him. I know it’s heavy on him. And the guy’s one of the sweetest, best guys, and I know him – as far as any man can be a champion for women, he is that.

    So it’s been a little disheartening.

    But I also see how much people love that aspect of it. There’s an equal amount of people who find the love interest between Banner and Black Widow to be a big standout. And it’s very satisfying to people. So it’s a movie. People are going to have their opinions. And that’s actually a great thing. The fact that this is a debate that’s coming out of this movie is probably a positive thing.

    I just don’t think that people should get personal with Joss, because he really is – of anyone – an advocate for women. He’s a deeply committed feminist.

    May 6, 2015
    |Reply
  15. Melissa F.
    Melissa F.

    I missed the rape joke. Can someone say what it what/at what part of the film? I have no intention of rewatching it but I’m curious as to what I missed.

    This was definitely not one of the stronger Marvel films imo. I was quite off-put by the ‘I can’t have kids; I’m a monster.’ conversation (which was quite a nail in my “I’m over Joss Whedon” coffin). Natasha is smart and although I know emotion can trump reason I would hope she would come to realize the people who forcibly sterilized her because they didn’t want her to have human emotions are the only monsters as far as that plotline goes. And guess what, it was all in vain because she clearly IS capable of love.

    I would love to see a woman depicted in ANY movie who is unapologetically childfree, or doesn’t feel broken because she is childless. I understand many women feel incomplete without children, but many women DON’T and it would be nice to have us represented once in a while in something other than my facebook wall.

    May 7, 2015
    |Reply
    • Marie
      Marie

      Re: the rape joke — when they were all at the party trying to pick up Mjolnir, Tony Stark asked if he lifted it did he get to rule Asgard. Thor said yes of course. Then Tony said something about re-instituting Prima Nocta. Prima Nocta being the old practice of the feudal lord/king getting to sleep with any bride under his rule on her wedding night. So. Pretty rapey and in poor taste, even for Tony Stark.

      May 7, 2015
      |Reply
      • Melissa F.
        Melissa F.

        Thanks for reminding me! I did remember that comment and thinking it was a fucked up thing for Tony to say – not just because it’s fucked up, but it seemed out of character too.

        The more I remember about this movie, the less I enjoy it. 🙁

        May 7, 2015
        |Reply
  16. Marley
    Marley

    What is wrong in our society where people feel it’s okay to wish someone death over a disagreement or as a form of “trolling?” What do these people get out of it? Threats of violence and name calling are never acceptable forms of expression.

    I was annoyed by Black Widow’s emotional moment over children at first , but then I really started thinking about it. Isn’t it possible she’s just reacting to the fact that her parenting choices or lack thereof were taken from her against her will? I see it less as her being broken by not being able to have children and more as “that choice was taken from me.” In that light, it’s a completely natural reaction for her to have at a moment in time when she’s considering a lasting relationship. That seems to me the perfect moment to be deciding whether parenting choices would be an obstacle in the relationship.

    It harkens back to what you’ve said about a woman being strong without having to be broken or sacrificing her femininity in order to have power and be a fighter. She can be an active, contributing member of the Avengers and still be upset that her parenting decisions were taken from her. If Hawkeye gets to be a doting husband and father, then why can’t Black Widow be concerned about similar issues?

    I know everyone gets sick of women always having to be portrayed as wanting children. Believe me, I am one of the first people to jump on that bandwagon, but in this instance, I find it a piece of organic character growth.

    Everyone is entitled to their own interpretations and reactions, though.

    May 7, 2015
    |Reply
    • While I interpreted it that way as well (for the most part), I think it would have been better executed if Bruce told her that she wasn’t a monster for being unable to have kids. That would have told the audience that even though Nat feels this way about herself (and I feel they should have been a touch more specific as for why. Is it the lack of choice? Did she want to have kids? Both? etc), her sterilization does not make her a monster.

      May 7, 2015
      |Reply
      • CandyVonBitter
        CandyVonBitter

        Funny thing… I don´t think it has nothing to do with have/can´t have kids at all. Black Widow was talking about how they made her a monster, a creature only to kill and destroy, full of hate and only violence in her head, trusting nobody, loving no one and being just the mascot for more horrible people, doing horrible things that she would never wanted to do in the first place. She went throw those thing for years and years. Even if I could have kids after that (and not that I want, because I don´t), I would still feel like a monster for the massive rape on my mind that they do to me all those years. I would not feel like a human at all.

        The fact that after all that she actually manage to trust someone else, Bruce, to the point that she can be emotionally vulnerable, to me, it saying a lot about her strong character and how much she grow.

        In that scene they were talking about what happened to them, about who they are no matter if they were responsible or not. Bruce was a angry monster and Black Widow was forced to be one too, so they can relate on that level.

        June 2, 2015
        |Reply
  17. Victoriana
    Victoriana

    Death/violence threats and egging of suicide are very much not ok in any context. Because mental health is invisible and many people choose not to disclose, you never know the situation of a person, that threats or abusive language might make their condition even more precarious. “Kill yourself” is NEVER an appropriate response ever to anything or to anyone and is definitely a form of violent ableism and needs to be strongly condemned.

    I don’t know the specifics of this situation, but in my experience, there exist women, even feminist-identified ones, who can be highly toxic. However you may be right in this case that the bulk of the threats may have come from MRAs, GGs, etc because of the tone of the tweets.

    May 7, 2015
    |Reply
  18. I wouldn’t call this post tone policing because you’re saying that we have a right to be angry, but don’t threaten others because you’re angry. It crosses that fine line of “venting frustration” and “harassment/abuse/threat of assault.” No matter how big of a chicken shit someone is, you’re a worse shit if all you tell someone to kill themselves to make yourself feel better.

    I did like the movie overall but a lot of the storylines were bungled pretty badly after brilliant set-ups. Black Widow should have been able to escape Ultron on her own (especially since in the first movie it was established that BW is quite good about getting out of sticky situations, even when tied to a chair) and she should have given Scarlett Witch that pep talk instead of Clint. Clint’s story came off as Trying Too Hard to get the audience to care about his character (you should care about him because FAMILY). I liked BW and Hulk’s romance, but they should have delved deeper beyond “Who’s the monster now?” Bruce should be all, “You’re not a monster because you can’t have kids.” And Nat would be like, “Same goes for you, but at least you have a choice in the matter” or “Thanks, but I still feel like one.” And do I even have to mention how shady it is to insert an “intellectual” rape joke?

    Even with all that and his irritating one step forward (admits that the tweets he got were nothing compared what Anita Sarkeesian gets on a daily basis) one step back (says that feminists should just band together and fight for the cause) statement for why he just up and left twitter without a word JUST as people were tweeting mass criticism of AOU, mostly about BW, he doesn’t deserve death and suicide threats. He also doesn’t deserve that stupid fucking twitter hashtag either.

    May 7, 2015
    |Reply
  19. Caz
    Caz

    First, I absolutely agree about the fact that telling anybody to ‘kill yourself’ is a terrible, unacceptable thing to do, which absolutely ignores the experience of those with mental health issues.

    Your post got me thinking though, where does this language come from? Does it have it’s roots not in suicide as the disease it is, but as the response to failure within certain warrior cultures? ‘You’ve failed, therefore you should fall on your sword’? Perhaps I’m crediting these abusive people too much, but it made me wonder.

    May 10, 2015
    |Reply
  20. This is such a fantastic article. Am I okay to reblog it?

    May 11, 2015
    |Reply
    • Urgh, forgot you weren’t on WordPress anymore. No matter, I’ll just share the shit out of it.

      May 11, 2015
      |Reply

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