she becomes the character rather than just act

Natasha Deserves Better: An Essay

It’s been almost a year and Natasha’s characterization in Age of Ultron still makes me uncomfortable.

ONE.

Captain America: the Winter Soldier finally gave her a personality besides Monotone Cut-Throat Spy. It humanized her, gave her a personality, sense of humor, and feelings.

  • Her crying when she thought Fury was dead
  • Her being stunned when she asked Steve if he trusted her, and he said yes.
  • The arrow necklace she wore in honor of Clint.
  • Her poking fun at Steve
  • Her choosing to stay by his side and loyal to Fury

She stopped being just Black Widow, the lethal spy who deadpans and dully stares at everything, and became Natasha, a well-rounded woman.

TWO

Then Age of Ultron gave her a sudden and creepy obsession with Bruce Banner, acting completely out of character and, dare I say it, regressive.

  • Linking her humanity to her uterus was gross enough.
  • Implying that her becoming sterilized shut off a section of her humanity that made killing easier because it was ‘one less thing to worry about’.
  • Calling her choosing to get sterilized for her job, rather than her actually having killed lots of people, warrants a “You’re not the only monster on the team.”
  • Comparing it to Bruce Hulking out and destroying entire landscapes.
  • Having Bruce forgive her for it rather than tell her ‘No, you’re not a monster,’ and making it a scene about the choices they made with their bodies - him taking the serum that created the Hulk and her having the surgery. Nope, he just makes it worse.
  • Having an actress who was currently pregnant cry over being unable to get pregnant. Scarlett was fucking pregnant in that scene, am I the only one who finds it incredibly fucked up?

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anonymous asked:

I've been watching the Fate/Apocrypha anime, thoughts on Mordred possibly being female to male trans?

mordred’s narrative definitely reads like a trans one (hating to be called female to the point of immediately threatening murder when it happens, living basically their entire life as a boy, wanting to be acknowledged as their father’s son, struggling a lot with identity overall) but that was, absolutely not the intention if you ask me. as far as the authors are concerned mordred was never anything but a girl and their hatred of being called one is because being a girl is seen as some kind of weakness, and not because they might not be a girl at all. all the other Trans Relatable™ things about their narrative don’t require the trans part to work either so because the authors painfully obviously never saw mordred as anything other than a girl you can’t say they’re canonically trans even though, they kinda really are

it’s the same shit with nero, she says things like being “firmly rooted between the two genders” and swaying to either side which by all means points towards being nb/genderfluid but the narrative overall never acts like she’s anything other than a woman, and the ‘both male and female’ bits are more than likely supposed to mean ‘nero loves girls as a man does’ which is a whole other can of worms. da vinci too, although perhaps the most explicit case of “thats a trans woman if ive ever seen one”, gets referred to as male a lot and while da vinci is a great character overall and far more than just a joke, the idea that she wanted to become a woman very much is treated as something to laugh about rather than possibly relate or even look up to, at least in the parts that NA fgo translated so far. even OG arturia can very easily be interpreted as trans/nb/whatever but in the eyes of the authors she was never anything other than a girl pretending to be a boy for a while (and boi do they lay it on thick).

like by all means nasu could just press a button and we’d have trans boy/nb mordred but it’s like type moon literally just doesn’t realize that they’ve accidentally been writing trans narratives the entire time and also, that trans people not only exist but are already very widespread in his audience because we’re fucking desperate and it’s rare to find a series this extensive that consistently brings up gender topics even though it’s done kinda poorly

3

I haven’t been in my father’s presence in quite some time. A conscious choice. The longer we are apart – the easier it is to forget the effect his rage has on me. There is damage done to a child that can never be undone to an adult. Anger buried so deep in the soil that it will forever grow thorny vines that entangle the soul. My father’s rage – though understandable – is impossible to forgive. […] For years I sought my father’s approval… his love. So desperately in need of a family. Of some normalcy. I became something I wasn’t. Time and time again, I returned to that same poisoned well – expecting a different outcome. His anger terrifies me. He harbors a hatred that burns so brightly – it sears everything around it. I’m reverted to a frightened, nervous child in its presence. Desperate to calm him – to soothe the battered child within. To be the one thing in this world he loves enough to change for. The demon took hold. He’s lost it. Doesn’t care enough to try. Doesn’t love me enough to listen. He tried to be better for Charles. Tried for the X-Men. Never for me. Each attempt at sainthood made it all the worse. Each glimmer of hope causing all that much more pain… when, once again… he fails me.

Guess who got a huge monologue this issue. I tried to screencap all of it, but that was hard and I didn’t want to. I typed (almost) the whole thing instead

I complained before about Wanda’s lack of inner monologues in this book, which makes it fitting that it would end with an issue-long one. It’s also fitting because she has talked about Magneto in every issue so why not end the book with her thinking about their relationship for a whole issue.

About the monologue itself: it’s interesting from a psychological perspective. I could start talking about Complex PTSD and having a parent with rage issues, but when I start talking about psychology, I can’t stop and you would get annoyed at all the scrolling.

As for how true it is to their history, it’s debatable. Do I agree with every line? No. But their earliest interactions, way back in the beginnings of X-Men, consist of him trying to kill people and her naively trying to stop him. That part rings very true. On the other hand, I disagree with the notion that she repeatedly tried to change herself to please him. She was mostly off doing her own thing by the time she found out they were related.

I thought she was going to start talking about herself and why she can’t forgive him when she said, “there is damage done to a child that can never be undone to an adult,” but she wasn’t. She could have been though. They’re both damaged for a lot of reasons. It’s very easy to empathize with Magneto as a reader, but when you’re fourteen and the guy taking care of you has serious rage issues, that’s a different thing. (People are going to try to correct me and claim Wanda wasn’t fourteen when she met him. It’s been retconned back and forth. Don’t make me find the panels.)

Someone, somewhere, probably on a message board, is going to argue that this monologue makes her seem selfish. That all she cares about is getting his attention and validation. And sure, some of this calls back to the House of M monologue (“you chose this over us”), but that’s such a boring take. It’s so easy to read this as self-centered and childish (especially when what she’s asking him to do is not kill Red Skull) rather than as a natural reaction to this tortured, complicated relationship they have. People generally want their parents to love them. It’s okay that she wants him to love her and that she assumes he doesn’t. It doesn’t make her self-centered and it doesn’t somehow undo her whole character.

I’m mildly annoyed that she describes herself as becoming like a child when he gets angry, but that’s because we just came off an issue of All-New X-Factor where she was actually acting like a twelve-year-old. This isn’t that. This is rooted in psychology and their history, not in an attempt to infantilize her. And it was okay that he called her “child” at one point. It felt right.

I don’t know how this book made me care so much at the end, but it did. How very dare you, book.

Uncanny Avengers #25 by Rick Remender & Daniel Acuña