Age of Ultron: The story of Natasha Being Thrown Under the Bus.
I finally saw the AOU. I liked it. I did. I thought the
special effects were amazing, the twins RULED and that Ultron was a worthy foe. (James Spader
can literally read Mein Kampf and we would all swoon.) There is A LOT of anger
with characterizations of Natasha Romanoff and Clint Barton and it all comes
down to one simple reaction: HUH?
Does any of it warrant hateful vitriol sent
to Joss Whedon? FUCK NO and shame on anyone reacting so hatefully. It’s just a
movie. I mean, damn people. (When did Twitter become such a big platform for
bullying online?) But onto the critique. Let’s get one thing out of the way
first. Do I have a problem with Clint or Nat being in love and involved with
other people? Hell no. Do I have a problem when they are given storylines so cheesy
and forced in order to generate some character depth? YES. And that’s
exactly what happened in AOU.
One of the appealing factors for both Hawkeye and Black
Widow is that they solely rely on their own abilities, body and mental strength.
They are the human factor in a world gone mad with…non humans. Another appealing
factor is the ambiguity of their relationship. It kept things interesting. It
made them both complex. They were never defined by black and white standards
but with a shade of grey that enticed the viewer. Do we wanna know what
happened in Budapest? Yes and no. It’s always the uncertainty that keeps the character…and
with it, the viewer on their toes.
of the argument that I see coming up is “why can’t Natasha have platonic
relationship with a man? Men and women CAN be just friends.” Absofuckinglutely.
Nobody is disagreeing with you there. Natasha has demonstrated such platonic
relationship with respect to ALL the men she’s surrounded with. Even shared a
movie with Steve which could have gone in such cheesy, trope-y directions and
yet it remained respectful and true to both Black Widow and Captain America.
They are literally the king and queen of heterosexual platonic friendships.
Same with Tony Stark throughout ALL the movies she’d shared with him.
only man in her life she demonstrated CONFLICTED emotions were with Clint.
Granted, Clint Barton was not given enough characterization in the first
Avengers, so Joss Whedon felt like he had to introduce a plot device, in form
of wife and children, to give Clint Barton motivation. The problem is the
execution. It felt weird, awkward, and cheesy, out of place…I was going HUH!
the entire time on that friggin farm. My husband..who knows jack shit about
Marvel, comic books, simply enjoys the movies went “what the fuck is this? This is weird.” All while, Natasha is demonstrating and in
many ways, inadvertently begging Bruce Banner to have a romantic life with her.
I keep rewinding the film in my head, looking for instances of his own interest
in Natasha…and I can’t find one. He doesn’t even consider her until Steve
brings it up. He actually looked uncomfortable by her never ending advances. I
did like that she took the charge and went after him, but the problem is going and
going AND GOING after him and babysitting him the ENTIRE movie. There was
absolutely no organic lead up to their romance, sort of thrown in…to give
Natasha something to do, basically. She exists in this movie to relieve his manpain. We
are given glimpses into her past, which is DARK and unnerving, only to have her
see herself as a monster because she can’t have children or Clint’s traditional
life. She basically said she was a monster because she can’t have children. You
can debate and argue me on this ALL day. Blame the dialogue. If the dialogue was written better, we could
have gotten a better sense of Natasha and what she actually meant, but no. The
romance quota with Bruce Banner had to be satisfied somehow. He’s a monster,
she’s a monster – ahh match made in heaven apparently. How did Natasha go from
maybe two sentences with Bruce Banner to wanting to shower with him, telling
him she “adores him” and basically beginning him to run away with her the whole
movie without EVER getting so much as a touch, caress or even a kind word from
him? When he landed on her boobs (REALLY WHEDON??) that was so fucking weird.
Banner looked uncomfortable and so was the audience. Chemistry is in the eye of
beholder, some people see it…some don’t. All I know is that it felt very
forced. The bottom line is, the romance between them was extremely unnecessary
and did a LOT of disservice to Black Widow.
want to even get into the Barton Family Saga. Where? How? Clint and Nat shared
a private, alone scene in the previous film…and judging by the ages of the children,
Clint had them at that time and they apparently call Natasha aunt…so why not
mention that family ONCE in those private, alone scenes? Because they were also
just thrown in there. Thrown in there to make you feel bad if Clint Barton
dies. Basically, he can’t be enough on his own to gather audiences love and sympathy.
You have to throw in pregnant wife and bunch of kids to sell him. They have no purpose beyond that. It’s
demeaning. To add insult to injury, we have Laura telling her husband Clint
about Natasha & Banner and he acts all surprised and Natasha calling Clint “my
best friend in the whole world.” We get it Whedon. You want nothing romantic
between them, we get it (you were literally one post-it note on their forehead
away from reveling how you feel about
it,) and we are ok with it. Us non crazy ones really are. But that does not give
you the recourse to throw both under the bus with out of the blue behaviors,
families as plot device and insta-love romance that demeans everyone in the
process. This is not about Clintasha or whatever term fangirls use. You turned
Black Widow into “mewling quim” and we are definitely NOT ok with it.
but I follow a few users who do and of course I’m aware of the bullshit that occurs in your fandom but I just wanted to say that the WestAllen/Iris stans are brilliant. The way you guys defend Iris/Candice and always have her back regardless is inspiring. It’s nice to see a fandom defend the black female co-lead no matter what. It’s nice to see you guys stan for her without bringing her relationship with Barry into it her because you know that men don’t define her. It’s nice to see you not try to elevate any other characters above her. It’s nice to actually see black women/girls defend her no matter what and not jump on the white characters tail. It’s nice to see you call out the true scumbags in your fandom who start shit, then try to play the victim card or the hate comes from both sides card when they get called out. I wish I could say the same for other fandoms though, *Cough Scandal cough*
I apologize if you've been asked this many times before, but what are things that bad trans fiction does?
Well, there are all the usual pitfalls of good and bad writing: Repetitive word choice, hollow character, predictable plot, bad pacing, overuse of passive voice, and whatnot.
But with trans fiction, you have a lot of new mistakes you can fall into
Sexism Sexism can be a problem in any written piece, but trans fiction specifically deals with the relationships between genders and defining your identity, and a lot of trans fiction not written by trans people (and even stuff written by younger/not-yet-transitioning) trans people ignores a lot of social realities and focuses on the superficial differences between genders. Sometimes it’s an eye-rolling “girls are always talking lol,” but more often its “being a girl is the most humiliating, awful thing in the world.”
Transphobia Even in stories where the different genders aren’t necessarily painted as absolutes and women aren’t depicted as incomplete men, you can still (ironically) find a lot of disgust aimed at transgender people, often with the protagonist talking about how they “aren’t one of those weirdos/freaks/perverts.” I also lump in any story that forces a protagonist to transition, especially with any hormones or surgery; transition by a character’s own initiative is beautiful and awesome. Forced transition is body horror.
Lack of Agency A lot of trans fiction hinges on the protagonist having little or no agency, which is to say the main character doesn’t really make any effective decisions for themselves or drive the plot very much. Instead, outside forces are forcing their transition, push them into action, get them into trouble, and usually get them back out again, like a choose your own adventure book with absolutely no choices. A lot of these stories are forced femme or fall into the “I’m blameless; I didn’t ask for this, I’m just going along with it because I don’t have a choice” categories that also tend to revel in sexism and transphobia mentioned above. This isn’t to say you can’t have the plot, outside actors, or random happenstance shove your characters into bizarre situation, but if they aren’t figuring out what to do and taking actions on their own initiative, then you might as well cast a lamp as your lead.
Fetishization I don’t necessarily care that some people have a fetish for frilly clothes, or even forced femme (actually, forced femme does bother me a little, because again, it tends to be–not always, but tends to be–rooted in sexism and transphobia). I just wish fetish fiction and stories about self-discovery and growth weren’t thrown together in the same sites. It’s like if your local library shelved the dog training and fursuit crafting books together–there’s some shallow relation on the surface, but they’re needed by very different people for very different reasons. The really creepy stories are the ones written by chasers, who actually fetishize trans women; I want those far, far away from me. Those stories also tend to focus on lack of agency and transphobia.
“Being Trans” vs “Being Trans While…” Slice-of-life is fine, and there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with transition narratives, but so much trans fiction focuses on that moment of self-discovery and the ensuing transition that it seems to block out any other stories we can tell. There are hundreds of stories that talk about being trans, but precious few about being trans while other things go on. Most other minority fiction genres don’t hinge on minority status being the major conflict; they don’t focus just on being black or just on being gay or just on being Muslim. Instead, these stories examine how a character’s life and response to challenges is different because of their minority status, what other resources they can draw on, and what solutions are denied to them that mainstream (white, hetero, cis male) characters could use. I think this is why Bek Corbin’s Jordan Winter’s series still appeals to me despite the mild sexism, and why Hit & Miss still makes me happy despite getting so much about transition itself wrong: Because they tell stories of trans character living their lives and having adventures, not just sitting around being trans.
Wish Fulfillment This isn’t necessarily a “bad” thing so much as a pet peeve. I understand why wish fulfillment stories exist, especially for persecuted minorities: Because it’s nice sometimes to go to a place where life is easy and people like you are loved. I’m not going to fault anyone for writing these or reading these, I just personally find stories with no conflict or easily-resolved conflict, or where there isn’t much challenge to overcome to be boring.
stop assuming that not shipping a canon het ship = hating on female characters holy shit
have you ever heard of lesbian and asexual women?? women don’t need to be with a man to be happy, women’s worth aren’t defined by whether or not they are in a relationship with a man.
also a lot of canon romances in media are plagued with sexist and heteronormative narratives so of course a lot of people would be uncomfortable shipping them??
and for fuck’s sake stop assuming that everyone who ships a m/m ship is a ~straight woman obsessed with dicks~. also stop pretending that f/f ships don’t exist because it’s pretty damn ridiculous to see people going “i love women so much which is why i always ship them with MEN and only MEN (:”
yes there is indeed a lot of straight girls with internalized misogyny issues and they need to be educated but the way a lot of fans approach the “gay shippers hating on female characters” discourse is pretty damn shitty
if you exclusively ship het ships, constantly complain about m/m ships and aggressively pretend that f/f ships and ships with nb characters don’t exist, you’re not any better than the self-proclaimed yaoi fangirls.