Why female superheroes shouldn’t hit old ladies.
Yes, it’s the Guardian, a page labelled “Opinion: Women,” where we find Zoe Williams mulling the issues of the day:
The new female Captain Marvel does just that in a film trailer – Superman would never be allowed to stoop so low. What’s going on?
Apart from… some obligatory superhero amnesia and a bit of kinetic energy, the main thing we see is the Captain punching an old lady.
The punch in question is the most memorable shot of an otherwise unremarkable trailer, and as Marvel Comics enthusiasts may know - and as anyone within reach of a search engine could rapidly discover - the titular heroine is almost certainly not punching an old lady, but punching an alien shapeshifter, a Skrull, disguised as an old lady and up to no good. However, Ms Williams is famed for her struggles with research, even as a concept, a thing one might do, theoretically, and doesn’t seem entirely clear what her own point is. And so we must endure a rambling, barely coherent piece, jumping from Jodie Whittaker’s swearing to Germaine Greer and “gender fluidity,” before arriving at a conclusion. Or at least an approximation of one. Namely, that women being at odds with other women – whether in the form of televised debates between feminists, or female superheroes belting sinister aliens disguised as pensioners – is another facet of the Patriarchy and its relentless Male Gaze.
You see, gal-on-gal conflicts are,
cat-fights from which the normal world, the male world, is safely insulated.
Which in turn constitute,
a complete stitch-up, a hollowing out of the sisterhood. The acceptance that men cannot attack women has led to a growing appetite for the razzle dazzle of women attacking each other.
Readers are invited to imagine the thrill of an action-packed superhero film in which every female character agrees wholeheartedly with every other female character, being sisterly and supportive at all times, purely to avoid giving pleasure to men. Readers may also wish to imagine a room full of feminists in which no arguments occur. Perhaps a more fanciful proposition.
Ms Williams has of course entertained us before, as when airing her belief that charity galas, to help Romanian orphans and fund the distribution of retro-viral drugs in Africa, are terribly problematic, indeed abhorrent, because giving money away “creates inequality.” And as when wishing elaborate and protracted humiliation on parents who can no longer afford to give their children a private education much like Zoe’s own.