Sci, are Clint's issues with food and childhood hunger canon in Marvel? Because they are such a prominent theme in many many fics (I have used it myself) so just curious if they are part of the comics. Also, does Rhodey know that Tony asked Clint to take care of DJ if he and Steve are gone?
I honestly don’t remember it being explicitly covered in the comics. But there are things that are:
-Clint’s father was physically and emotionally abusive
-Like half of the fathers in the Marvel universe, he was also an alcoholic who hit his wife
-They were very definitely poor
-His parents died in a car accident
-He and his brother ran away, joined the circus, and fell under the thrall of yet another abusive father figure.
This equals hunger. So why DON’T I remember this being focused on?
Because everything I’ve ever read about hunger, non-fiction or fiction, has been written by women, or PoC. Guess who almost never, ever gets to write white, male lead character superheroes for the big two publishers? Women. And PoC.
So the things that are written about Clint and his difficult childhood (or Tony and his difficult childhood, or Bruce and his difficult childhood, and hell, I think they retconned Steve’s merely dead dad to be, you guessed it, alcoholic and abusive!, so him and his difficult childhood) are written through a white, male lens. And white men, in general, are more comfortable writing about certain types of abuse (physical and verbal) than others (sexual and emotional).
Because certain types of suffering are ‘manly.’ Are ‘acceptable’ in the backstory of a hyper masculine character. Look at the same tired tropes trotted out over and over and over. The suffering heaped on heroic male characters tends to follow a very easy, very comfortable path, where the writer doesn’t have to think too hard, where the character can be sympathetic, but still ‘strong.’ Still ‘tough.’ Still ‘heroic.’ Still ‘masculine.’
Violence is masculine. Starvation is not. Poverty is not.
Being poor is the worst sin in the United States. It is, and anyone who tells you differently is selling something.
I did my student teaching in an inner city middle school in a not-very-good part of a solidly working class city. And I remember the principal walking around at lunch, surreptitiously handing out lunch cards. These were supposed to go to kids who had forgotten their lunch money that day, to entitle them to a free lunch. But on lunch duty, I soon figured out, she was giving them to the same kids, every day.
I asked her why, and she said, these were kids who would’ve qualified for the free lunch program, she knew it, they knew it, the cafeteria ladies knew it. But the paperwork was never filled out. Hell, the paperwork probably never made it home. Because when they were approved for the free lunch program, the card they were given was a different color than the card for the kids who were paying. And they knew it. Their peers knew it. So they didn’t bring the paperwork home.
To repeat: Twelve year old children, children who had NO PART in their family’s financial standing, NO ABILITY to change that standing, NO CHANCE to do anything other than do their best to get by, preferred going hungry rather than deal with the shame of being visibly identified as coming from a family below the poverty line.
And for some of these kids, the free breakfast and lunch provided by schools was probably the most stable nutrition they got.
Hunger never leaves you. Not ever. But it is a feminine suffering, a thing spoken of condescendingly by late night “Feed the Children” ads showing starving (brown) children in some far off, unfortunate land, and written about by women who can’t figure out how to stretch what little they have to cover the heating bill and the grocery bill. Hunger is food deserts in inner cities and canned food because you can’t afford the time or the bus fare to go to the grocery store several times a month for fresh, and so everything has to last. It is food pantries where you’re given the allotment of rice and beans and maybe, if you’re damn lucky, a can of horrible pineapple chunks as a ‘treat.’
Hunger is not heroic. And that’s why it’s glossed over in comics.
(Also, yes, totally Rhodey knows. 8) )