Joss Whedon quits Twitter

Virtually every important non-superhero character in the film was female. The head of SHIELD was female. The head Korean scientist – female. The replacement for JARVIS – female. The head of Stark Industries – female. And the most badass new member of the Avengers, also female.

It’s unfortunate that your friend took the sterilization revelation badly, but isn’t that the point of any major revelation in a film? If a male character revealed that he’d been abandoned as a child, I imagine that’d hit people hard who’d been abandoned when young. If a female character revealed that they were abused, that’d probably hit people hard who were abused. Black Widow’s childhood training and its effects give her a tragic backstory.

So now it’s sexist for a female character to have a love story. Got it.


Ok so I “only” have 160k followers on Twitter, and I also noticed that after a certain size… things definitely change. I can only imagine what happens when you get to 500k , 1m etc.

The more people that are listening (and reacting) to you, the higher the odds that someone is going to be offended by something you say, unless you stick to banal, boring, PR-vetted “up with puppies!” kind of statements.

So I can understand someone quitting once they get “too big”. It can be hard to manage if you really want to say what you actually think every now and then, versus what a PR firm would have you say.

I am not saying that because I think people should be controversial, I actually believe it’s a good idea to be generally positive on Twitter, but humor can be tough depending on what brand of humor you are into.


No no no, it’s much much much worse than that, she was clearly admitting that being a woman was what made her a monster, that’s your sexism right there.

Or at least it would be if either of our theories were correct.
She feels she is a monster because she was brainwashed into being an emotionless assassin from a young age, has killed innocent people and feels responsible for those deaths even though she has since broken her programming.

But basing your criticism on erroneous data usually plays out so well on the internet, must be something wrong in here.


How do people who have lots of followers use twitter?

Is it mostly via mentions? I can imagine that’s a bit like a firehose, but most people.who have lots of followers don’t do a lot of following as far as I can see.

I like twitter as a way to follow people, can’t say I’d like followers much.

That’s a sideways and extraordinarily disingenuous argument, and you know it. There is a world of difference between “single female character in the ensemble” cast and “a movie with no female supporting characters or extras”. Guess what? Supporting characters and extras don’t get back stories or character development arcs like the main cast do. So when your only female character who does presumably have those things gets that story? yeah, kind of sexist.

And here’s where I lose my civility: that bit where you pretended that what I said as my friend being upset at the mere mention of infertility rather than, you know, the way it was associated with monsterousness? You can fuck right off.


And, from my understanding, she associates the sterility with the sort of thing that makes it easier for her to kill people.

I don’t doubt it wasn’t meant to be interpreted that way. But to pretend that it isn’t at least a little bit skeevy? That’s messed up.

And you may notice that my argument about the sexism wasn’t actually about the fertility/monster thing. it was about the way that when it came time to come up with a storyline for the sole female lead, they defaulted to a romance and her ovaries. That’s the sexism.

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This is neither. It’s a movie with two important female characters in the ensemble, both of whom get significant screen time and backstories. Again, unclear on how giving female characters significant screen time is “sexist”. This sounds like a no-win situation for the filmmakers.

You misread my comment in a really screwed-up way in order to be offended. I’m sorry you took it that way, but in no way was I belittling your friend’s reaction. My point was that her infertility wasn’t portrayed – in any way – as what made her “monstrous”. Her comments in the movie were about how she’d been created as a trained killer at a young age; her infertility was mentioned after the fact as a tragic footnote, as a sort of parallel to Banner’s inferred infertility. I’m terribly sorry if that offended you or your friend in the context of the film, but in the words of many memes, That Escalated Quickly.


Well for one thing it’s kinda nice in that I can ask any random old question and get a pretty damn good answer… any time, day or night. That’s the main benefit to me. Beyond that I just try to be interesting and entertaining, and I like responding to people who show me cool stuff or make interesting observations.

But I am a white dude, so nobody really harasses me. I had a little taste of it once when I wrote a controversial (read: about gender) blog entry and it was definitely… unpleasant. An unending stream of that would mess up your mind, you feel constantly under siege. On the other hand, if you’re picking a work area that is fundamentally (and deeply) controversial, you have to “suit up” to some degree, don’t you?

I do know a fair number of low-profile women on Twitter who don’t have anything bad happen to them, or if they do, it’s super rare. My wife for example, a few others.

But yeah, being a public gender activist on Twitter? Wow. Unending pain and suffering.



You don’t think it was meant to be interpreted as such but it’s still the central conflation in your point?

You may also have noticed that this same past, her being brainwashed, was brought up in the previous Avengers when Hawkeye was coming out of his Loki-induced brainwashing and she tried to comfort him by empathising based on their sharing a common attack on their person-hood.

I didn’t hear anyone jumping to the defense of either characters sovereignty when that happened. Or the Hulks. But I guess he was just asking for it, being all experimenty and such.

Yes it’s a ridiculous point for me to make. Aaaaand?

The character, Black Widow, is a tortured and violated victim of the excess of trade-craft that has nevertheless been able to rise above the limits imposed upon her, saving the world in the process (several times) but that’s not empowering and is in fact sexist?

Pick your battles.


Can we all come to the agreement that the Internet is horrible, people are horrible, and everything is horrible, then get on with our lives?


Not until everyone gets off my lawn.


I’m not on your lawn…


4 thumbs down!


Can we at least agree on this?


Heh. you undermine yourself when you write things like this.

There ARE some problems in the movie, and the way the fertility stuff was handled was a big problem. Like, why did they even HAVE to address that? I liked the movie (not as much as Daredevil, but I liked it), but that entire fertility thing was really weird and out of place and COMPLETELY unnecessary.

It was just awkward and yeah, sexist. It was my least favorite scene. Otherwise, I really like Banner and Natasha together.

BTW, just because there are elements of a film that are sexist does NOT mean the entire film is shit. it is okay to criticize media and entertainment while still enjoying it.

This is how things get better.

There were some great parts about the movie, but also some, “Oh yeah, white dudes TOTALLY wrote this” parts – you can tell they are trying, but … it’s just … not … quite … making it. Know what would help? Diverse producers and writers and directors as well as more diverse MAIN characters.

Seriously, I think Joss really means well for the most part but sometimes I think he thinks he does “enough” and doesn’t deserve any sort of constructive criticism about anything. This isn’t the first time he’s sort of shrugged and backed away, while also claiming the “I love to create and write strong women!” line. You can’t do that if you shut the opinions of feminist women out, at least not fully.

Also, some of it probably has to do with the fact that the movie just wasn’t as good as it could have been due to a lot of creative changes and differences that happened before, during and after filming.

They cut a lot of the film down. YOU CAN TELL.

I suspect that some of these problems are just due to inadequate story telling of certain characters who were just not given enough time, and I don’t think all of that is Joss’s fault. I think his hands were somewhat tied.

But also: They need less white dudes and more diversity and not just when it comes to supporting roles (both in terms of acting and producing/writing/directing).


I’m going to post this here, too because it’s a good discussion the issue at hand:


Especially if you are a mountain.


I get what the calmer heads are saying about the Widow, but my take was a bit different.

The sterilization reveal comes during a scene where Banner is asking what kind of life they could possibly have together. Certainly not the white picket fence and 2.5 kids they are currently hiding out with. He’s a monster, he can’t pass those genes on, it’s unlikely he can even have sex.

Her response is to show she’s as much of a monster as he is, if for different reasons. She’s not looking for the things Banner thinks she is.


I didn’t misread your comment. you know, gaslighting doesn’t really work on the internet?
I said my friend was upset by the movie invoking the not-uncommon sentiment that women without children (or incapable of having children) are some how monstrous or unfeminine or broken in some way.

And you somehow turned that into, in your words:

It’s unfortunate that your friend took the sterilization revelation
badly, but isn’t that the point of any major revelation in a film? If a
male character revealed that he’d been abandoned as a child, I imagine
that’d hit people hard who’d been abandoned when young. If a female
character revealed that they were abused, that’d probably hit people
hard who were abused. Black Widow’s childhood training and its effects
give her a tragic backstory.

So how exactly is that not totally intentional? how exactly is that not belittling her pain? Oh, she’s just SO sensitive any little mention sets her off? WTH is wrong with you?

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