The Female Perspective: Black Widow, Has Everyone Gone Crazy?

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I would be Black Widow in a second, uterus or no uterus.
I would be Black Widow in a second, uterus or no uterus.

I’m going to assume that most of you who read this blog know who Black Widow is, many of you probably know more about her than I do and that’s cool, please feel free to share that knowledge in the comments! That being said I want to address the fact that there seems to be a bit of a firestorm out there about Black Widow’s treatment in the last Avengers movie. Now, if you haven’t seen the movie, there are some spoilers in here so don’t read on if you don’t want to know!

Let’s just get right too it, shall we? The controversy that I have read about and am annoyed by, is the fact that Widow admits that she cannot have children, she is talking with Bruce Banner about her time in the Red Room and her final test,

“You know what my final test was in the Red Room? They sterilized me, said it was one less thing to worry about. You think you’re the only monster on the team?” – Age of Ultron, Black Widow

To me, when I saw that scene all I felt was overwhelming pity for Widow. What a horrid way to grow up, what a horrible test, to be forced into sterilization because others think that that makes you a better killing machine. What I loved about it was that it bonded her and Banner in a way he never expected. He is feeling monstrous, defeated and as if he’ll never have a future with anyone, least of all with this woman he is starting to love. He’s having a pity party and then BAM! someone has it harder than he does. It’s a wake up for Banner.

What Widow is doing is what she does best, revealing little bits about herself so that others understand who she truly is and what she is about. So that people don’t assume she is nothing more than a killing machine, she is a human being.

What Widow is NOT freakin’ doing is proclaiming that she feels sad or sorry for herself. She is NOT saying that this is the worst thing the Red Room did to her (contrary to a theory posed on iO9), she is merely talking about ONE thing that happen to her, that was DONE to her, in the Red Room. Why people have latched onto that as a thing to be pissed off about, I have no idea.

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Oh wait, I do, because she’s a woman and God forbid that a woman, especially one as tough as Widow, admits to any kind of soft side. GOD FORBID. I have to say that as a woman, being forced into sterilization seems like a pretty horrendous thing to have happen. Yes, becoming an assassin and having to kill is bad but that’s something you can eventually change (as Black Widow has done). Being forcibly sterilized can never be changed so yeah, it’s pretty f-ing bad.

I’d like to know, in that scene, was Widow supposed to first say, “Oh yeah, on top of having to be a cold-blooded assassin I was also sterilized and that all just sucks so bad but none of it sucks more than any of the other parts of it,” is that what she should have said?

Give me a break people. Stop reading more into the scene than there actually was.

Now, I agree, there is a huge hole in the world of marketing for Black Widow, even Mark Ruffalo complained about the lack of Black Widow toys for his kids!

@Marvel we need more merchandise for my daughters and nieces. Pretty please. -Mark Ruffalo

To me, that’s more indicative of the problem than Widow expanding her character depth. The issue of her not being up front and center with the boys is a huge bummer for girls, old and young.  That should be what the discussion is about, not about Widow’s uterus and it’s functionality.

I’m going to throw this out there, I adore Joss Whedon, I think he IS a feminist and he does great work. He has written amazingly powerful female characters that are both strong and soft- he showcases HUMANITY in his work, he doesn’t just paint his characters as one-sided. I mean, for pete’s sake, look at Buffy Summers! She wasn’t perfect but she could kick butt. She made bad choices about men, she cried and she fell apart like a regular person. Albeit, a regular person with super powers. Look at Willow, same thing, she turned evil after her girlfriend was killed! What I love about Whedon’s writing is that he doesn’t shy away from allowing a character to be rough and tough and then also weak and soft. He let’s the audience see BOTH sides of his characters (both male and female) and that makes them fuller, more interesting characters.

The fact is, Black Widow does some very cool stuff in Age of Ultron and she saves the day more than once. Yeah, she gets captured but while being captured, she tells the team where the heck Ultron is so yeah, she saves the day and is NO damsel in distress (as a few have complained about).

She can’t ever have babies, so her life is ruined. She is an incomplete woman. –iO9

Is this seriously the argument being used? Lots of women find out they can’t have kids or that the kid making machinery has been taken from them due to illness or injury – to my understanding, it’s always a bad thing, it’s always a tough pill to swallow, why should Black Widow feel any differently about this? Internet people, please don’t twist it to make it sound as if Black Widow has said she is incomplete. That’s reading into a subtext that frankly, isn’t there. She’s trying to tell Banner that they both have issues’s (to put it mildly) and that’s what makes them so perfect for one another. She’s trying to hold onto the man she loves (like any woman would do) when that man is struggling with an emotional crises of faith and person.

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Honestly, Black Widow needs her own movie and I think Joss Whedon should write/direct that bad boy so he can show us how Widow came to be the woman who is desperately trying to get the red out of her ledger.

Oh yeah, as an added note, this whole BS about Jeremy Renner calling Black Widow a slut for a second time?

Check Out The Video Here

That’s just class-A poop. It’s a non-story that some are trying to make into a story. I saw the video clip of the interview and I was not offended in the least, if you actually LISTEN to the interview, he calls himself a slut as well so internet people who think they are fighting for the feminist cause by adamantly defending a fictional hero, calm down and let’s all get back to acting like grownups.

What do YOU think? Tell me in the comments!

7 thoughts on “The Female Perspective: Black Widow, Has Everyone Gone Crazy?

  1. Completely on point, once again. I’m glad someone spoke out against all this madness. My boyfriend and I were just talking yesterday about how we both felt like Black Widow was treated incredibly well for being drafted from a comic book character (let’s be real – comics are typically racist, and sexist. Often it’s merely a product of the time they were created in.)

    Besides, she is played as a temptress because she was trained as a temptress – I really liked how they gave her a heart, and a soul, and regret. She wasn’t just the typical spy-gone-good character we have seen too much of.

    Closing statement: Banner and the Captain are wayyyyy more girly and damsel in distress-y than Black Widow which I think is awesome and well written.

  2. Excellent analysis. Thanks!

  3. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments. I totally agree about Banner and the Captain! I think everyone needs to leave Widow ALONE! She can take care of herself quite well!

  4. […] arguments that abound online. A movie like Age of Ultron is a perfect example, as is my blog from Wednesday. People were taking a 10 minute scene and turning it into a huge debate about a fictional […]

  5. Reblogged this on Mark Adam Thomas and commented:
    I’m struggling to give my female character Nika Silbersichel depth, without making her wimpy or annoying. She starts out weak, and her character arc is all about finding strength and finding herself (and empowerment) in a man’s world.

    My story is a supernatural action adventure story, so just how much personal growth is too much? I like this blog post because it addresses the fact that movie viewers (like novel readers) might just read too much into a character arc than the creator intended.

    Because Nika is weak in the opening chapters, does that mean that the critical reader won’t continue with the book because they hate how she acts and reacts to her world, and how she lets men get away with being awful to her? In the 1930s, even with suffrage, women were not given much respect in the culture.

    Later in the book, she has quite a few revelations and grows (in my opinion), into a very strong female character. But if the reader sets the book down early on, they will never find out. What do you think? Let me know your responses to this, and to the blog post I’ve shared.

    ~Mark

  6. I think with books about unknown characters it is different. My book (The Last Daughter of Lilith) has the heroine starting off weak and confused but she becomes strong and powerful by the end and no one has complained. With Black Widow, she is a well-known character and one of the (sadly) few female hero’s in the Marvel Universe so people seem to read a lot into her character actions. Even though she gets more screen time than every other Avenger (other than Iron Man) people felt/feel the need to nitpick about her revelations about her past. It’s ridiculous, annoying and wholly unnecessary.

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