I recently came across a discussion on Tony Stark as a queer-coded character in the comics (which I’m not going to link to because many of the threads were already deleted, ergo I’m assuming that the participants didn’t want the conversation to be spread), and I found it very interesting. For years I have read Tony Stark as subtextually bisexual in the comics, which hasn’t really translated to the films – at least not to the extent that the character of Captain America has been coded as bisexual in them. There has always been a borderline homoerotic relationship between Tony and his armor especially. But adjacent to this conversation, there was also an interesting thread in which Tony Stark asthe most female-coded superhero was discussed that I found fascinating.
Someone commented on the concept stating that while it may be true for the comics, movie-verse Tony Stark is certainly not female-coded.
But isn’t he, though?
We’ve discussed before how hypermasculinity sometimes seems to go so over-the-top that it does a full 360, coming out the other side seeming rather feminized, the hypermasculine male presented as a sexual object with assets on display (slim waist, thick thighs, full chest) for the consumption of the male gaze. But that’s not the case with Tony Stark; it isn’t his hypermasculinity that makes him seem female-coded, it’s the question of agency.
Tony does seem to possess many traits that we consider culturally feminine, female cliches, such as talking a lot and talking fast, using a rich vocabulary, a short and petite stature as compared to other superheroes, the narrative passing jugement on his promiscuity, the narrative passing judgement on his desire for junk-food, his passive demeanor, his self-consciousness about his body and having to wear underarmor in public to manage his chest, his avoidance of interpersonal conflict, looking for daddy’s love and approval, the way in which he conceals much of his intelligence because he knows that if people saw him for how he really is, they would be off-put by it ie. giving the appearance of being smart-but-not-too-smart, the eroticizing of his appearance in the narrative, the focus on what he’s wearing, his obsessive-compulsive behavior, meticulous grooming habits, delicate features, dressing to impress professionally, carrying conversations, his weakness being his heart, the fact that he has to dress into a suit that conceals his identity, his true self, to interact with the world, a hard outer shell that conceals his soft inside. There are aspects to Tony Stark in the films that are female-coded.
I think that some people might find these aspects difficult to see because there are three distinct personas to the character: there’s the Tony Stark that he projects to the outside world to hide who he really is that is his true armor, there’s Iron Man that is a prosthetic, an armor that shields him and allows him the protection of being who he really is, and then there’s Tony Stark, the person he is in his heart of hearts that we see only when’s alone with the artificial intelligences he created for himself, as his friends, the only friends that really, truly get to see him, because he knows that they won’t judge him (outside of him being alone, we see glimpses of the ‘real’ Tony Stark in Afganistan, in his interactions with Natasha and in two scenes with Steve: while they’re cutting wood and Tony asking Steve whether he knew).
These are the three sides to Tony Stark, and I see a lot of fans confuse his Tony Stark armor, his protective persona, with who he is because that is, by design, the loudest, most visible side to him.
There are many sides to him that are female-coded, but it’s the limited agency that he is given in the narrative that is the most telling. Most of his stories seem to revolve around the stripping of his agency and his struggle to regain it. This character – a genius, billionaire, playboy, philantropist – who ought to be the ultimate male power fantasy has all of his stories constructed around his lack of agency and his need of a prosthetic to claim agency for himself. It’s easy to assume that an able-bodied, rich, good-looking, well-educated, white CEO of the American upper crust has all the power and control in the world, but the narrative begins disabusing the viewer of this notion right off the bat. The narrative deconstructs his agency.
What I appreciated about the Iron Man films was how they subverted the role of the damsel in distress in Pepper Potts. Especially the end of the first film in which Pepper marched through broken glass in her stiletto shoes to save Tony Stark was something that made me stop and think for days afterwards. The third film basically recreated this subversion of the trope louder for those in the back that hadn’t caught it the first time. It was Pepper Potts that was the knight in shining armor, not the title character.
And it is Tony that we see as the damsel in distress, particularly again in the first and the third films. The first film contains the iconic scene of Obadiah Stane literally removing Tony’s agency in a scene that is filmed like a sexual violation, a none-too-subtle air of erotic violence in the air as he uses his date rape technology to incapacitate Tony. This is a turning point in the film. The third film contains a scene in which Tony Stark is zip-tied to a bed frame with the villain taunting him. It is implied that Tony is similarly submissive in bed. The main villain in the scene acts like a spurned lover, a definite air of seduction to his conduct toward the tied-up hero.
That is two cases of villains making eroticized advances toward a physically incapacitated Tony Stark. And it isn’t the violence or the incapacitation that makes the scenes female-coded, it is the eroticization of it. It is female characters that are subject to eroticized violence, generally speaking. The second film does not follow the pattern, but it could be interepreted as an obsessive, spurned man making unwanted advances toward our hero.
I wrote about the interaction between Natasha and Tony previously, on how she allows us to see a side of him that we usually don’t get to see. Some people have described Tony’s hiring of her as sexist, undoubtedly influenced by Pepper’s interpretation of his behaviour as he tried to figure her out (“And she is potentially a very expensive sexual harassment lawsuit if you keep ogling her like that.”), but his interest in her was never that kind of interest. His eyes don’t track her sexual assets. Tony saw something of himself in her, especially in the way she was playing a role, but even more than that, I think Tony saw in Natasha Romanoff something that he wanted desperately to be. In control.
Natasha Romanoff gives the air of being in control even when she gives up control, and in this she is the opposite of Tony Stark.
With this in mind, and I don’t remember whether I wrote about this before, I was quite disturbed by the way the climax of Civil War was shot not unlike a pornographic sex scene, Tony Stark being double-teamed by the super soldiers. The ending of the scene especially, with Steve straddling Tony, pounding on him, grunting, finishing it off with breathing heavily as he falls off Tony having penetrated his arc reactor with his shield, having incapacitated Tony’s prosthetic. Tony spits out blood as the super soldiers walk away from him. It’s rather symbolic, the implications of the scene very uncomfortable.
While Bucky Barnes is another character whose storyline heavily features the stripping down of agency, the female-coding of the strong, stoic silent-type is largely absent. Bucky Barnes and Tony Stark share similarities, and in this he offers a contrast to Tony.
So, yes. I do see Tony Stark of the movie-verse as a female-coded superhero because his story revolves around desperately grasping for agency. Among these hypermasculine heroes, the genius-billionaire-playboy-philantropist is at a disadvantage, so Tony Stark invented, constructed, and put on a suit that hides his true identity in order to have a measure of agency in a hypermasculine world, that allows him to assert himself. And in Civil War he was willing to sign off on his self-created agency because the establishment had managed to convince him that as a person with near unlimited resources, he was a danger to the world that he had risked his life and the lives of his loved ones to protect.
I think one of the most telling aspects of his character vis-à-vis Civil War is that, convinced that it is too dangerous for him to attempt to influence the outside world and other people in it, Tony Stark instead turned within and attempted to modify his own internal world, to (literally) influence his own internal state instead – to accept what he can’t change. This is a classic strategy of the disenfranchised.
Tony Stark is the most female-coded of the male superheroes.
Our solar system is a jewel box filled with a glittering variety of beautiful worlds–and not all of them are planets. This week, we present our solar system’s most marvelous moons.
1. Weird Weather: Titan
Saturn’s hazy moon Titan is larger than Mercury, but its size is not the only way it’s like a planet. Titan has a thick atmosphere, complete with its own “water cycle” – except that it’s way too cold on Titan for liquid water. Instead, rains of liquid hydrocarbons like ethane and methane fall onto icy mountains, run into rivers, and gather into great seas. Our Cassini spacecraft mapped the methane seas with radar, and its cameras even caught a glimpse of sunlight reflecting off the seas’ surface. Learn more about Titan: saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/science/titan/
2. Icy Giant: Ganymede
Jupiter’s moon Ganymede is the largest in the solar system. It’s bigger than Mercury and Pluto, and three-quarters the size of Mars. It’s also the only moon known to have its own magnetic field. Details: solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/ganymede/indepth
3. Retrograde Rebel: Triton
Triton is Neptune’s largest moon, and the only one in the solar system to orbit in the opposite direction of its planet’s rotation, a retrograde orbit. It may have been captured from the Kuiper Belt, where Pluto orbits. Despite the frigid temperatures there, Triton has cryovolcanic activity – frozen nitrogen sometimes sublimates directly to gas and erupts from geysers on the surface. More on Triton: solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/triton/indepth
4. Cold Faithful: Enceladus
The most famous geysers in our solar system (outside of those on Earth) belong to Saturn’s moon Enceladus. It’s a small, icy body, but Cassini revealed this world to be one of the solar system’s most scientifically interesting destinations. Geyser-like jets spew water vapor and ice particles from an underground ocean beneath the icy crust of Enceladus. With its global ocean, unique chemistry and internal heat, Enceladus has become a promising lead in our search for worlds where life could exist. Get the details: saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/science/enceladus/
5. Volcano World: Io
Jupiter’s moon Io is subjected to tremendous gravitational forces that cause its surface to bulge up and down by as much as 330 feet (100 m). The result? Io is the most volcanically active body in the Solar System, with hundreds of volcanoes, some erupting lava fountains dozens of miles high. More on Io’s volcanoes: solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/io/indepth
6. Yin and Yang Moon: Iapetus
When Giovanni Cassini discovered Iapetus in 1671, he observed that one side of this moon of Saturn was bright and the other dark. He noted that he could only see Iapetus on the west side of Saturn, and correctly concluded that Iapetus had one side much darker than the other side. Why? Three centuries later, the Cassini spacecraft solved the puzzle. Dark, reddish dust in Iapetus’s orbital path is swept up and lands on the leading face of the moon. The dark areas absorb energy and become warmer, while uncontaminated areas remain cooler. Learn more: saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/news/2892/cassini-10-years-at-saturn-top-10-discoveries/#nine
7. A Double World: Charon and Pluto
At half the size of Pluto, Charon is the largest of Pluto’s moons and the largest known satellite relative to its parent body. The moon is so big compared to Pluto that Pluto and Charon are sometimes referred to as a double planet system. Charon’s orbit around Pluto takes 6.4 Earth days, and one Pluto rotation (a Pluto day) takes 6.4 Earth days. So from Pluto’s point of view Charon neither rises nor sets, but hovers over the same spot on Pluto’s surface, and the same side of Charon always faces Pluto. Get the details: www.nasa.gov/feature/pluto-and-charon-new-horizons-dynamic-duo
8. “Death Star” Moon: Mimas
Saturn’s moon Mimas has one feature that draws more attention than any other: the crater Herschel, which formed in an impact that nearly shattered the little world. Herschel gives Mimas a distinctive look that prompts an oft-repeated joke. But, yes, it’s a moon. More: olarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/mimas
9. Don’t Be Afraid, It’s Just Phobos
In mythology, Mars is a the god of war, so it’s fitting that its two small moons are called Phobos, “fear,” and Deimos, “terror.” Our Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter caught this look at Phobos, which is roughly 17 miles (27 km) wide. In recent years, NASA scientists have come to think that Phobos will be torn apart by its host planet’s gravity. Details: www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/phobos-is-falling-apart
Although decades have passed since astronauts last set foot on its surface, Earth’s moon is far from abandoned. Several robotic missions have continued the exploration. For example, this stunning view of the moon’s famous Tycho crater was captured by our Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which continues to map the surface in fine detail today. More: www.lroc.asu.edu/posts/902
Discover more lists of 10 things to know about our solar system HERE.
<b>Person A:</b> I feel like this is a one-sided relationship.<p/><b>Person B:</b> What?? No!<p/><b>Person B:</b> It's a three-sided relationship.<p/><b>Person A:</b> ??<p/><b>Person B:</b> you<p/><b>Person B:</b> me<p/><b>Person B:</b> and the memes<p/></p>
4+1+3=8. 8 is the atomic number of Oxygen. Oxygen is why you breath. John is a Breath player. Throughout Act 5 Act 2 John had a flirtation thing with Vriska. Vriska. Do you see it? I’ll say it again: Vriska. Still didn’t catch it? Sound it out with me: Vri. Ska. That’s right. Ska. As in Skaia, the governing force behind the story’s universe. But that’s not really true now is it? We all know Andrew Hussie is the real governing force of the tale. What do we know about Andrew Hussie, that’s it, he is attracted to Vriska. And who is Vriska attracted to at one point? Tavros. The symbol Tavros wears on his shirt is that of the Taurus constellation. Taurus is only one letter away from Tauros as in the Pokemon. Tauros has three tails. Three. Three is how many sides a triangle has. A triangle with an eye in the center is the symbol used by the Illuminati. Eye. Doc Scratch has no eyes. Doc Scratch is an excellent host. Newgrounds hosted [S] Cascade, but the site crashed on its release. Know what else crashed? Three planes on the date September 11th, 2001. One flight did not crash but landed safely. The president on that date was George W. Bush. George W. Bush was the United State’s 43rd president. Did you catch that? He was the 43rd president and 1 flight did not crash into its intended target.
THREE SIDES OF A HEART: Stories About Love Triangles
Here it is! Presented in triplicate for the obvious, oh-so-clever reason.
As excited as I am to be sharing the cover, I’m even more excited for you to read this collection, coming December 19, 2017! Want to know more? Here’s a teaser….
A teen girl who offers kissing lessons. Zombies in the Civil War South. The girl next door, the boy who loves her, and the girl who loves them both. Vampires at a boarding school. Three teens fighting monsters in an abandoned video rental store. Literally the last three people on the planet.
What do all these stories have in common?
The love triangle.
You may think you know the love
triangle, but you’ve never seen love triangles like these.
In Three Sides of a Heart, a collection masterfully compiled and
edited by Natalie C. Parker, your favorite authors tackle the much-debated
trope, and the result is sixteen fresh, entertaining, and yes, even romantic
stories you don’t want to miss.
With stories from: Renée Ahdieh, Rae Carson, Brandy
Colbert, Katie Cotugno, Lamar Giles, Tessa Gratton, Bethany Hagen, Justina Ireland, Alaya Dawn Johnson, E.K. Johnston, Julie Murphy, Garth Nix, Natalie C. Parker, Veronica Roth, Sabaa Tahir, & Brenna Yovanoff.
Synopsis: Stolen from Earth when you were only a teenager, what is left of your life
consists of training to become an obedient pleasure slave on Sakaar… that is, until
the Grandmaster, your slave driver, decides to gift you to King Loki, who seeks
to visit to observe one of the Grandmaster’s infamous gladiator fights. Now,
you belong to him, obliged to fulfil his every need. A truly tempting
opportunity, is it not? After all—who is the God of Mischief to miss out on all
the fun that comes with being king of Asgard?
Pairing: Loki x Reader Rating: M Chapter: 1/1 (Oneshot) Words: 6725 Warnings: (sexual) submission, kidnapping, (sexual) slavery, imprisonment,
mentions of abuse, dub-con, smut