Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Feminist Outcry Over X-Men’s Mystique Sends Some Really Mixed Messages

The feminist movement is sending some really mixed signals.

No big shocker, I know. But let’s point out this latest bit of contradictory messaging anyway.

So the X-Men series launched its latest installment this month, X-MEN: Apocalypse. If you know nothing about these movies, here’s a breakdown from someone who knows next to nothing about them (I haven’t watched any since that absolutely awful X-Men: The Last Stand came out in 2006. It totally killed the whole franchise for me).

X-Men is about men – and women. Thanks for the misnomer, you sexist comic books – who have superpowers. They’re mutants, with special talents like controlling elements, reading minds, healing quickly from what should be lethal wounds… You know. That sort of thing.

Now, like humans, there are good mutants and bad mutants. And among the good guys – for now, anyway – is the very powerful, very agile, very kick-patootie shape-shifter, Mystique. She’s a warrior who doesn’t need a man to back her up.

If anything, she’s the one the guys want to back them up.

But like any superhero can tell you, there’s always a bad guy out there trying to prove that he or she’s more powerful than you. Just ask Iron Man Tony Stark or Captain America Steve Rogers or lowercase-god Thor or alien Superman Kal-El… or…

Oh wait. Those are all guys, aren’t they? Typical boys club, I guess. Just the thing the feminist movement should be delighted to crack with a superhero of its own. Like. Say. Mystique.

Sure enough, they were perfectly happy about it until 20th Century Fox paid and approved for a giant billboard in L.A. of said heroine getting choked by a much, much bigger bad guy.

Cue the uproar.

Critics immediately lambasted the advertisement as promoting violence against women. Poor little Mystique apparently should be allowed to beat up the bad guys without them beating back.

Which, of course, makes no sense whatsoever. Not in real life or in comic books. When you go out of your way to try to take the bad guy down, guess what’s gonna happen?

Fair’s fair, ladies.

That’s why you wouldn’t ever hear Tony Stark or Captain America or lowercase-god Thor or Superman fans crying about a billboard of their favorite hero getting throttled. They knew the mission was dangerous when they accepted it.

So feminists, by your own logic, isn’t it a bit silly to demand something different for Mystique?

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