The Female Perspective: Agent Carter and the Feminist

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 


As with many of my blog posts, I came across an article today about how we need to stop calling the TV show Agent Carter, feminist. Here’s the thing, feminism gets a bad rap. Because of extremists, people see feminists as angry, man-hating, she-beasts that roar, foam at the mouth and other crazy stuff. That’s only one side of the coin, the other side, it’s us normal feminists who merely want equality between the races. We want hashtags that are #likehumanity instead of #likagirl or #likeaboy because that isn’t equality. That’s division.

It is important that we call Agent Carter a feminist show. It is important that we make a big deal about it.
It is important that we call Agent Carter a feminist show. It is important that we make a big deal about it.

A woman named H. Shaw-Williams wrote the piece. It makes me sad when women put down feminist empowerment. There is no shame in being a feminist! Be proud of it! I had a few issues with her article, keep reading and let me know what you think.

First, Shaw-Williams says:

“As a feminist, I don’t find Agent Carter‘s ‘yay-go-women’ moments (of which there are many) particularly stirring or interesting for the simple reason that they are preaching to the choir.”

Hmmm..OK…I see your point but this is the same type of argument made around gay marriage. The whole, “If it’s not a big deal to me, than it shouldn’t be a big deal” thing is no good. It’ll be awesome when equality of any kind is commonplace, when gay marriage isn’t a big deal. But for right now, these things ARE a big deal and should be treated as such. I can almost guarantee that some guys in the audience aren’t feminists and might actually like those “ya-go-women” moments. Maybe those moments will make them realize that being pro-women is actually a pretty awesome idea.

Feminists get a bad rap. A lot of us are actually really cool, smart people.
Feminists get a bad rap. A lot of us are actually really cool, smart people.

Next…

“Peggy Carter doesn’t get to have personality flaws like Thor’s arrogance or Peter Quill’s dumb brashness, because she’s too busy trying to prove that women are just as good as men.”

Um, what? Have you been watching the show because I see Peggy as a flawed character, yes, she falls back on the superhero “don’t get close to me or you’ll die” idea but hey, it’s a woman saying that for once, cool! Not to mention, we see her sad at the death of a friend (other than Steve Rogers) and we see her be stubborn and pig-headed about things. She’s not perfect. And I don’t feel like she is “too busy trying” to prove her worth. I think she is busy because she is actively proving her worth. You want her to be whiney and angry sometimes, well, let’s give her more time to flex her normal person muscles and see what happens but I personally see her flaws and I respect her more for them. She is a smart, sexy and brave lady and yeah, she IS the first female lead for a Marvel show and that SHOULD be commended. It shouldn’t be ignored at all and we shouldn’t compare her to a teenager in “Dead Like Me”, last I checked, Peggy had been through a WAR and her love had been lost to an icy sea, that matures a person right quick. Peggy is an adult and therefore has the life experience to be more mature about her faults, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t have any.

And Finally…

“The desperate need to have Peggy constantly battling sexist adversity also has the rather ironic side effect of creating an overwhelmingly male cast. “

Check out the time period this show is in my friend. It’s a time when men were predominantly in the work force so of course her interactions are mostly with men. Of course Tony Stark hires a man to work with Peggy. It all makes sense. If you look at other shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D you see a good balance of male and female cast members. The show wouldn’t be realistic if she worked with a whole bunch of women. Personally, I feel like there are plenty of females in the cast, just not in lead positions because Peggy is at work 90% of her time and that means she spends time with men.

Of course the cast is mostly men, look at the time period it exists in!
Of course the cast is mostly men, look at the time period it exists in!

One point Shaw-Williams makes that I do agree with is when she says,

“The problem with setting Agent Carter up as the show which will prove to Marvel that female characters are bankable is the logical extension that, if it fails, it will somehow prove that female characters are not bankable.”

This is a fear of mine but so far, Agent Carter has been a pretty big success for Marvel so for now, we’ll keep hope alive. Not to mention, plans have already been announced for both a Wonder Woman movie and a Captain Marvel movie so I have hope that one day, this won’t even be a big deal.

Upcoming movies like "Wonder Woman" and "Captain Marvel" give us ladies hope that more female-led Marvel movies are on the way.
Upcoming movies like “Wonder Woman” and “Captain Marvel” give us ladies hope that more female-led Marvel movies are on the way.

What do you think? Too much feminine fuss about Agent Carter?Or just the right amount?

Sound off in the comments!

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