While I am not usually that interested in boycentric blockbusters, I am very into seeing The Avengers. I want to see how an open feminist man like Joss Whedon makes a big budget Hollywood film. Will the women be more than window dressing? Too bad The Avengers only has one female lead — Scarlett Johansson — and she wears a skin tight suit, but hey maybe she has some good lines and kicks ass like Whedon's Buffy.
I want to see if a man who put together a play and performed at a fundraiser for Equality Now right in the midst of the release of a huge movie will make a different kind of blockbuster. I want to see and support a man who says that he thinks that The Hunger Games will make a difference in Hollywood and that it's about time we had strong female characters.
The buzz and early reviews on The Avengers has been extremely positive. It is like the geek fest of all geek fests. It's got all the action heroes like Thor, The Hulk, Iron Man and Captain America among others in ONE movie.
But let's be real. No movies get all perfect and glowing reviews. And when you write a review about a film that asks questions there is no reason why you should be demeaned, told you are stupid and blantly dismissed. It is just a review — your opinion — about the movie. It's not a treatise for Middle East peace. It won't fix the economy. It's a movie review.
But some people take this stuff way to seriously and the reaction to a review by Amy Nicholson who works for Box Office Magazine has become an outlet for ridiculous misogyny. She wrote a review of The Avengers and gave it three stars. She had some issues with the film, but it is in no way a really bad review.
Here are some of her thoughts:
The Avengers almost works. It's funny and it's physical, but even at two and a half hours, it plays like it's on fast-forward. Forget character development—there's not even character explanation. The lesser Avengers are most slighted.
The problem is that after controlling their own fiefdoms, these characters don't play well with others.
If such a thing can be said about a $220 million dollar blockbuster, The Avengers needs more ambition. Sure, it's fine for most films to host their battle royale in downtown Manhattan, but the superfriends deserve more.
But she's been attacked. It seems that when you don't love the boy movies and you are girl you are fair game for misogyny — and some of the misogyny is from women. You become fair game, not your work.
Here are some of the comments (we do't know the gender of the commenters since they don't have to write their names.
These are from one person but in different comments:
Rotten Tomatoes Update: We're in at 32 fresh reviews versus your one pathetically pointless review, you soulless drone. Hope you end working at a McDonalds.
See internet, this is what happens when you give your PA the change to write reviews because it's cheaper than hiring a proper male writer.
And some more:
She asked her boyfriend what score she should give. Just stick to rom-coms, bitch.
No she liked Green Lantern because Ryan Reynolds, rom-com mainstay, was shirtless in that film. That's why she liked it. Numbskulls like you give REAL female journalists a bad name.
Bitch what the fuck is wrong with you, I knew there would be bad reviews from some people but not from spiteful assholes who bash shit for attention.
Personally, I find these comments very offensive and scary. Why is their such vitriol for a review? What is it about this film and other films like this that brings out the worst in folks? Why are there only a couple of commenters who say it's ok to have differing opinions but no one stands up to say that the rhetoric is offensive.
The good news is that Amy is not deterred and scarily this seems to be common not only for female reviewers. I'm guessing that guys don't get misogynistic comments but they seem to also get crap for having opinions – which is by the way what they are supposed to be doing.
Here's a comment from Amy on what has happened
When I realized what I'd stumbled into, I made myself vow I'd never read the comments for my own sanity. And, honestly, I didn't have to. I've seen this pile-on happen before to my critic friends — male and female — and it's always the same, though men get more death threats while women get more poetry like, "Whose $%#@ did you suck to get your job?" It's telling that among all the hatemail, I've only gotten one email that actually wanted to argue the substance of my review. Many more self-described comic book guys have taken the time to write and apologize on behalf of their fellow fans, which was a nice surprise. No worries, guys — I still love nerds.
I think it would be great for the guys who are apologizing to Amy to get on the site and call their fellow commenters out on their crap. This has got to stop.
Joss Whedon Performs at Women's Rights Event, Decries Sexism, Praises 'Hunger Games' (Hollywood Reporter)
h/t Roth Cornet from In Contention