[reading off Peter’s paper] “My model wife won’t care how dirty my room gets. She’ll always let me win at video games. She’ll play street hockey any time of the day or night.” Why don’t you just marry Harry?
Alright so I’m watching the Ultimate Spider-Man Spider-verse episodes where Spider-Man goes to different dimensions and teams up with different versions of him. And for this third season I’ve given the show a break because it started to actually be a little entertaining and fun to watch.
But then they had to go and mess it up with the Spider-girl episode(well, the Spider-girl half of the episode). So Spider-Man goes to a universe where all the male characters of the Marvel universe are female, which seems like an easy way to explain Spider-girl but if they had shown more characters it would’ve actually shown how scarce the show is with female characters (not one male version of a female character shows up in the episode).
But that’s not even my big issue with it, my big issue with it is that the writer’s short hand for Spider-girl and I guess just characters in this universe was to make them all super sexist and condescending. Really guys? This universe being the gender-swapped opposite of Peter Parker’s universe should basically be the exact same in every other fashion, yet Spider-Girl keeps talking shit down to Peter because he’s a boy and even goes so far to imply that he can’t be Spidey because he is a boy (female green goblin has the same attitude implying this is this universe’s general ideology). That would’ve made sense if Peter Parker and the rest of the male characters in his universe were super sexist and condescending to women but they aren’t! There’s actually been no reference to the issue of sexism in the show at all up until this point, so why would you introduce that to the female versions of the characters!?
I’m sorry but that’s just bad and lazy writing that’s AGAIN talking down to it’s audience. They needed a constant reminder to the viewer that “get it, they’re women!” aside from the obvious visuals when they could’ve just written the characters exactly the same. And on top of that, the sexism is written off as a joke. It’s supposed to be funny that Spider-girl is sexist, and it’s never confronted or brought up as genuinely insulting and not ok. And that ultimately turns Spider-Girl being a girl into a joke as well. The viewer’s supposed to be like “haha, I get it because she’s saying boys can’t be Spidey even though the real Spidey’s a boy”. Also I think the implication that a world dominated by women is somehow more overtly sexist than one dominated by men is laughable (which was it’s implication in the context of the show).
And to make matters even worse at the very end Spider-girl gets damseled and Peter has to rescue her. It’s not a huge part of the episode but that tossed up on everything else was just like “really guys? are you kidding me right now?” For a show that has been praised for it’s diversity, this episode set this show several steps back.
I think addressing sexism in cartoons can be a good idea when it’s used as a teaching tool for children but to casually throw it in there as a (poorly written) joke lessen’s the seriousness of the issue which is messed up especially when you’re talking to children (most of which are little boys). Ultimate Spider-Man has had a ton of bottom of the barrel episodes in the past but this half of an episode was the most problematic and cringeworthy one I’d ever experienced.