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The Empowerment of Carol Danvers and How the Dudebros Completely Missed the Point

March 11, 2019 - Posted in Cinema , Comics Posted by:

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Hey!

I know, I know, long time, no see. I missed you loads, too. But such is life, in this day and age. You get sidetracked, get depressed, get better, remember you had things to say and go back to saying them, eventually.

Right. That out of the way, I want to talk about the new badassitude incarnate gracing our theatres this week, courtesy of Marvel, Brie Larson and Kelly Sue DeConnick. Namely, our new and precious superheroine with not many fucks left to give, Captain Marvel.

Brie Larson in Captain Marvel (2019)

This is Captain Marvel. Also known as Carol Danvers or as I like to call her, embodiment of badassitude.

Those who heard about her likely had some exposure to dudebros hating on everything that is Captain Marvel or Brie Larson for the last few months. It was, obviously, expected because any kind of positive representation or any hint of a venture outside of the “male gaze” or “appeasement token” territory is repulsive raging radical misandry, according to the internet. However, there was something more sinister about the way people attempted to shape public opinion regarding this obviously somewhat flawed but very much on the right track awesomeness fest.

The broflakes of the internet have been up in arms about the way she looks, the message she delivers and the character she plays. Yes, believe it or not, the whole thing started with them focussing on the massively talented actor who plays the character.

I mean, from the way they criticised her for “not smiling enough” to “not having a huge backside” it was clear that the dudebros were on a crusade to bring her and her message down since the first skirmishes started around when we had nothing about the film but a few visuals.

Now, before I delve too deep into the male tears surrounding the actor or do a blow by blow of each emerging information coming up to the day of release this last Friday the 8th, I’ll just urge you to google-fu the “controversy” and see what the despicable comicsgators had to say in concentrated amounts which perpetuated the whole set of buzz like “she looks emotionless” and “she has an awful grin.”

I mean, I can’t really fault the dudeflakes about this, in their defence, they never had to learn how to read human emotions, especially those of the female persuasion. They were brought up with “sultry,” “angry sultry,” “happy sultry” and “someotherthing sultry.”

My main point of discussion today is not about how slick the script was in terms of how this puzzle piece fit neatly into the MCU narrative nor the brilliance of casting or the character development, either. I mean, unless you are comparing this to say, Face to Face or Citizen Kane, the film is up there in MCU band as well as origin stories of epic heroes but I digress.

The most interesting thing about this film for me was the “feminik points that bringadoo politiks into MY COMIKS” talked about by the flakebros.

I mean, I really don’t want to do a rundown of all the points raised by the hive half-mind, you can see them here, mostly. And, to be fair, it would be a waste of time to talk about these points as they do not translate to your average man whining about the film. They agree to these points at a subconscious level and then say things like “the film was objectively bad and Brie is just not a good actor” nevermind the imdb score or that she’s an actor with a fuckin’ Oscar.

All these inconsequential talking points though, tells me one important thing. Most people talking about the film do not understand what feminism is nor how this film talks about empowerment.

Now, needless to say, from this point forward THERE BE SPOILERS.

If you have not seen the film or if you care about spoilers about the film, go now and come back when you have seen it. No, there is no “I will not see it” option. Go see it, now.

Ready? Welcome back. Again, SPOILERS.

Let’s start with what is happening to Vers throughout the film.

First of all, Kree are an oppressive race with authocratic views of the universe. They may have been comic-book noble once but it is clear that they are the self proclaimed “benefactors” of the races too weak to fight back. Most importantly, they consider wiping out a whole race with the means to -maybe- fight back just because they do not want Kree to rule over them not only an option but a given. They use language very common for such regimes and label the marginalised terrorists and “a menace to society.”

Kree are using Vers. They purposefully limit her access to her potential, keep her in the dark about her -pretty progressive- past and blatanlty lie about where she got her powers to keep her in check. You owe us, you do not doubt us, what has been given can be taken away…

Her very mentor she clearly was somewhat unsuccesfully brainwashed into respecting gaslights her saying that she needs to be less than what she is to be noble. Basically, he tells her to fight with one hand behind her back and you can clearly see the satisfaction on his face when he seems to be overpowering her when indeed, she fights without using her powers. There is a case to be made that the all powerful “Supreme Intelligence” has been orchestrating her programming with her mentor making the whole manipulation essentially an instutionalised effort.

During this time, she is unhappy, confused, trapped in an environment she doesn’t embrace but she lacks the language and an understanding of the alternatives.

Then she discovers about her past. Discovers her roots and remembers that she is a woman who falls down but, to quote Kelly Sue DeConnick, “[…] gets back up because ‘Fuck you.'”

She slowly starts to understand what she is capable of and that the propaganda was just that, propaganda. She starts listening, seeing. Trusting in herself. And finally, when she realises that the “institution” – in this case represented by the Supreme Intelligence – is actually afraid that she one day might, she dismantles it.

Like… literally.

I mean, she turns around and blasts the living daylight out of his brodude mentor and says “I don’t have to prove myself to you…” but I guess the point was not that obivous.

The system played her, kept her doubting herself in order to use her. She realised she is valuable and said “fuck off” and the system tried do get rid of her. She got back up and blasted a hole in it.

My question is, how far away from understanding the way patriarchy operates you have to be to miss this shit?

To all dudeflakebros out there, stay mad. You are a huge source of pain in multitude of arses but you at least provide entertainment.

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