I haven’t Fisked anything in a bit, so I’m feeling Fisky, and I discover this bit of awful today posted on the Dixonverse. (fun board, run by comic book writer Chuck Dixon and his fans) It is from Ms. Magazine, and it is a piercing piece of journalism that dares to expose the horrible misogyny and racism of IRON MAN 2. As a Wise Latino, who is always understanding of everyone’s feelings and since I also just watched Iron Man 2 this weekend, I feel uniquely qualified to explore this profound issue. As usual, original article is in italics, my comments are in bold.
Gender 101 from Iron Man 2
By Natalie Wilson
And for the record, I didn’t know Ms. Magazine still existed. I thought that it had been put out to Shrill Harpy pasture back in the ‘80s.
It’s right there in the title: Iron MAN, not meaning “human” but male. Indeed, though I for one am hoping for an Iron Maiden movie starring Olivia Munn! As I sat watching the movie with my 13-year-old son (and cringing at the overt sexualization of females), I cringed when I found out this lady had a kid. Poor, poor child. I realized that Iron Man 2 is about the glory of males, the fact they are indeed “iron” and that, with their strength and ingenuity, the world will be saved. Hey, if magic unicorns wanted to step up and save the world, I’d be all in favor of taking the rest of the day off.
A number of other significant gender lessons are imparted in the film.
First, on men and masculinity:
1. Men don’t cry, they scream, as Ivan (played by Mickey Rourke) does when his dad dies. Not only am I a wise Latino, I am also a writer. Trust me lady, nobody wants a weepy pansy villain. Plus, Ivan was a RUSSIAN. Badass Russians only have three emotions: Revenge, depression, and vodka.
2. Men like power tools, technology, welding and weapons. Talking, not so much. Duh. Ironically, my wife also prefers tools, tech, and weapons. Which is one reason I love her so much. And men do talk. We talk a lot. Just not about the stupid crap that people like you enjoy. Go watch Sex in the City 2 for that boring ass shit. Iron Man 2 was too talky. Hell, there were only two action sequences in the whole damn movie.
3. Men are big wheels and lone gunmen. Not all of them, just the ones interesting enough to make movies about. They may say, “It’s not all about me,” as Tony Stark (played by Robert Downey, Jr.) does at the beginning of the film, but, really, it is. Lady, he’s Tony Friggin’ Stark. If you don’t get that, I don’t think anyone can help you.
4. Men need to leave a legacy and build a better future. The best way to do this is via weapons, wealth and womanizing I don’t know about the womanizing, but an America without weapons and wealth would be speaking German right about now. (well, actually we’d still be a British colony) Weapons and Wealth (or guns, germs, and steel if you prefer) are what put us on top.
5. Men’s hatred of women is cute and humorous–or as one blogger puts it, “Tony Stark’s privileged sexist playboy antics are hilarious,” teaching viewers that “Men’s sexism is funny and endearing, as is their greed.” Yes. Tony is a great character, played wonderfully by Robert Downey Jr. Tony is a playboy. That’s the character. When you find yourself easily offended by the personal habits of someone who doesn’t actually exist, you may want to reexamine your life.
6. Men are fabulous at business–so fabulous that they can successfully privatize world peace. Well, how’s that whole UN thing working out for you?
7. Real men (aka Tony Stark) think the “liberal agenda” is boring. AMEN!! I cheered at that line. It is absurdly boring. It consists primarily of guilt, angst, and crying, and it only makes sense if you’ve been brained really hard in the skull with a brick.
8. Men will always need to be in the theatre of war. As such, they might as well turn their bodies into weapons. So that explains all those push-ups… Well, I suppose that we could just try to ‘love’ our enemies into not murdering us.
9. In fact, the male body is a weapon. Literally, figuratively, metaphorically. Disagree. The MIND is a weapon. Everything else is just a tool. Man is iron. Or, as Andrew O’Hehir’s naming of the Iron Man suit as “impenetrable iron-dong costume” Yes, because dongs are humanoid, red and gold, and can shoot laser beams. in his Salon review Because hell, when I think of profound thought, I think of Salon. suggests, the iron suit allows for the fulfillment of the male body not only as weapon but as walking erection–hard and ready all the time. WARNING: If massive walking laser erection that can fly and shoot missiles lasts for more than four hours, seek medical attention.
Wait a second though… wasn’t the single most effective combatant in the whole movie a woman? More on that in a bit.
Secondly, on females and femininity (these lessons are longer, you see, because females need a lot of teaching):
1. Women are for dancing, either around poles or on stage as props. Wherever they are dancing, they should be scantily clad. Yes, because movies featuring fat, ugly dancers really kill at the box office. And pole dancing while wearing a burkha is not only difficult, but unsafe. Note to cameraman: Shoot women dancers from behind so as to get maximum amount of booty shots, as in the opening scene of Iron Man 2 where our gaze is directed to numerous bent-over butts in red spandex hot pants. As O’Herir points out in his Salon review, there is “no irony” in these “loving, loop-the-loop tracking shots of these dancin’ hoochie-mamas with their spray-bronzed legs and perfect Spandex asses.” Wait… was he saying that was a negative? Screw you, Salon! Rather it is, as this blogger aptly names it, “a vomit-inducingly sexist scene involving various swooping close-ups of womens’ body parts as they gyrate.” Yes, because attractive women dancing as a backdrop for selling a product would never occur in real life! How dare Iron Man 2 be set in a world we recognize!
2. Women are objects. When Tony is shown his new car, he makes a joke about the woman standing next to the vehicle: “Does she come with the car?” And what part of that would be out of character for the, you know, the character? In other words, women, like cars, should be sleek, good looking, fast and expendable. Lady… Are you insane? That’s an Audi R8. There is nothing EXPENDABLE about it! It is not your Prius. Tony assesses new female character Natalie Rushman (Scarlett Johansson) using the same parameters: Her intelligence, multi-lingual skills and martial arts training don’t seem to matter; he uses Google to find her old modeling pictures. I thought that part was pretty realistic, since if you use Google to look up anything, you are going to get boobies. Go ahead and try it as an experiment. I’ll wait for you…
See? Boobies. I told you so. Don’t blame Tony Stark for the fact the internet is mostly porn.
As Froley of ReelThinker notes, she is put “in her underwear just for the hell of it” and her character is no more than a “near-cameo.” Near-cameo is Salon speak for person with the longest action sequence. This incites Froley to assume that director “Jon Favreau must be some kind of chauvinist dog, because he takes every opportunity to objectify women.” Well, have you seen Swingers? Man, that one is a classic.
But hold on a second. ScarJo (look how trendy I am!) plays Black Widow, a sexy super spy the defected from the USSR with super kung-fu moxy. Once again, since we’re talking about fictional characters (since we’re watching Iron Man, and not some Sundance Festival piece of crap that no one outside of Manhattan will ever watch) and the Starkmeister is a known womanizer, then if would make perfect sense for Black Widow to have those photos on the internet, because the character would use that to her advantage against the other character. Though I’m doubting very much that Ms. Magazine or Salon will be able to make that logical leap. (see brick to skull thing above)
3. Women need to have good make-up know-how. Both Stark’s assistant Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Natalie are not only beautifully made-up themselves, but also have the skills to mask Tony’s various bumps and bruises with foundation. Yes. Because ugly people go far… How many female CEOs wear Birkenstocks and don’t shave their armpits either?
This skill, along with their ability to take precarious, mincing steps on incredibly high heels, frames femininity as a performance that benefits males. High heels are tools of Male Oppression! BURN THEM!
4. Women’s most important asset is their bodies. Even when they are in full-on battle mode, they should remain hyper-vigilant about their bodily display. They don’t get to wear “iron man” suits, but really tight body suits. What fun would it be if their boobs and butts were hidden under metal? Actually, check Google. I’m pretty sure somebody is into that too.
Wait. Tony Stark should have been played by somebody ugly. Last I heard, women like Robert Downy Jr. Obviously this movie was just pandering to women! (there, see how stupid that sounds, Salon? Yeah, **** you too).
5. Women are petty and jealous. Make fun of their jealousy by telling them “green doesn’t look good on you,” as Tony says to Pepper when his ogling of Natalie is obviously bothering her. Hey, lady. Have you ever actually talked to women about other women? Women are MEAN to each other in ways that men can’t even comprehend.
You may say that this is just a stereotype… Sure. Did you go to high school? Girls are brutal to each other, and practice psychic warfare designed to ruin other girl’s self esteem. Or is that somehow men’s fault too?
6. The female body is weak. Pepper, after being saved by Tony near the end of Iron Man 2, says “I quit…My body can’t take this stress.” After two hours of watching Tony’s body take bullets, bombs, electric shocks and poisoning, we hear that poor Pepper can’t take the stress–of being a CEO for a week. That’s because he’s Tony Friggin’ Stark, and because it is a movie. In real life most humans are turned to jelly after fifteen seconds of the flailing about that passes for fighting. That would be BORING. So we watch characters that can kick ass.
(ironically, despite Ms. Magazine’s astute observations, misogynistic director Jon Favreau gets beat up badly while womyn ScarJo kicks booty. Apparently the folks from Salon had gotten up for popcorn at that point)
7. Women are very forgiving. Ignore her, lie to her, bring her the one food she is allergic to as a gift and make it known that you are a lifelong womanizer: Character… The word zips right over their head. None of that will matter as long as you kiss her at the right moment. Or, as Kyle Smith gleefully notes, “The Gwyneth Paltrow character is comfortable with being Tony Stark’s assistant instead of judo-chopping and blasting away at bad guys herself, in the somewhat silly manner of virtually every female lead in action movies these days.” Yep. So now if a woman does what the male lead does, then it is “silly”. Make up your freaking minds!
Yes, it’s soooo silly when we act as if females want to be part of the action! As one blogger put it, “If I were Gwyneth Paltrow and I just played the role of a stiletto-heel-wearing submissive secretary cleaning up after some rich white chauvinist asshole, I’d send back my Oscar.” You would send back your Oscar, assuming you could get one, which you can’t, because you’re a no talent hack who writes for Salon. Meanwhile, the lovely and talented Gwyneth Paltrow is laughing at you, while she sits on a giant pile of money.
Finally, the film provides lessons in racism and homophobia:
1. Tony Stark explains his desire to no longer making weapons with, “I saw Americans killed by my own weapons in Afghanistan! I can’t put it better than this blogger: “Do I even need to mention how stupid and racist it is to say that he was OK with his weapons being used to kill all those other non-Americans?” Huh? Uh… who are we currently fighting? Should Iron Man have been like that one Tom Clancy adaptation where the Jihadists suddenly turned into white supremacists? In this same vein, as noted in my earlier post, various Others are framed as “evil terrorists,” namely Middle Easterners and North Koreans. Yes. It is absurd to think that Iran or North Korea would ever be a threat! (meanwhile, on Earth, they’re skipping the robot suits and building nukes)
2. Black actors are exchangeable. Swap Don Cheadle (Iron Man 2) for Terrence Howard (Iron Man 1). No one will notice. My goodness, you are stupid. No really, I mean you are really really dim-witted. Terrance Howard was replaced because he wanted too much MONEY. Not only was it noticed, there was a hat tip to the geeks in Don Cheadle’s first scene where he said “I’m here, deal with it.” Indeed, deal with it, bitch.
p.s. Don Cheadle is a better actor. Deal with that, all you player haters.
p.p.s. Nick Fury was played by a black man. Nick Fury was originally white. You don’t hear me screaming reverse racism. (okay, yes, geeks, I know. Ultimates… let’s not get too geeky)
3. Organizations which discriminate against homosexuals deserve huge donations. In the sequel, Tony donates a modern art collection, which Pepper has collected over 10 years, to the Boy Scouts of America. Okay, you want to pick a fight with the BSA. Kiss my ass and die. No seriously. Kiss it good. Then die. Go to hell, and die, on fire. A lot. Oh, it’s not enough to cry about Iron Man picking on you, but you mess with the scouts, you’re lower than whale crap. They’ve done a thousand times more good than your pathetic, self-righteous, proud-to-be-a-victim, naive, liberal bullshit has ever even dreamed of accomplishing. You despise them because they have the audacity to stand up for what they believe in, instead of bending over to your agenda. And you people just hate that.
Bonus note: The sexist message of the Iron Man films spills off the screen and into our fast-food culture, with Burger King offering “four lifestyle accessories for girls and four action-packed toys for boys.” Girls, get busy accessorizing! Boys, take action! News flash lady. Boys and girls like different toys. I’ve got boys and girls. My girls know how to defend themselves, and they can shoot. I’ve raised them to be very intelligent, self sufficient, and proud, but guess what? They liked to play with different toys. I feel sorry for your thirteen year old. When the other little boys were shooting each other with Nerf cannons, did he enjoy that My Little Pony you made him play with?
And not only do you hate the Boy Scouts, you hate the King? Bet you’re one of those people who thinks food should be regulated too… Well guess what, lady. The Burger King will not be trifled with. He is terrifying. He is a force of nature. Do not piss off the King.
The King is watching you…
For this feminist, one thing’s certain: I won’t be stepping out in my non-high heels in order to see the sure-to-follow Iron Man 3.
Nope. Next is Thor, (a Viking! Boo! They’re insensitive! What with all the raping.) then Captain America (who, if the adaptation is faithful at all, should make your little head explode), then Avengers, then Iron Man 3. Me, and my Viking War Children will be at all of them, opening night.
This article was just an example of why the “feminist” movement died a pathetic death as a shell of its once important self. True feminists are women are proud of who they are, and who take responsibility for themselves. My wife is an example of a woman who truly takes no crap. However, since she’s a conservative, she is evil incarnate to the imbeciles at Ms Magazine. The feminist movement as it stands today is just another democrat shill organization that exists primarily to whine, feel picked on, and look for excuses to cry racism. These are the people who hate Sarah Palin, but didn’t say a word about Bill Clinton’s misogyny. Apparently my Rule #1 of racism also applies to sexism.
Hey, Ms. Magazine, Iron Man go you down? Put on your big girl panties and deal with life. That’s what Tony Stark would do.