Badger Pod Nerd Cast 4: Metaphorical rape culture


Maleficient shifts the blame

Maleficient is an unapologetic pandering to a feminist audience. It is the story of strong, capable fairy cut down by the selfish actions of men—furthering the idea that if a woman, even a villainess, does something wrong, a man is somehow to blame.

The fairy Maleficient is drugged and betrayed by her primary love interest, who abuses her in what the writers have called a “metaphorical rape.” However, in cutting off her wings, he does two things. He furthers his own end but also saves her life because, prior to this action, the King had called for her head. By crippling her, he protects her from the soldiers who might have come to kill her. In fact, he could have killed her but didn’t.

Now, instead of making the King a similarly sympathetic character, he is, of course, portrayed as a rapist—because of the fact that he was a lonely orphan trying to make something of himself in a world that would hand him nothing somehow makes him less of a sympathetic character than a fairy who has everything magically handed to her.

So the moment she faces a legitimate life obstacle, she throws a hissy fit and curses an innocent child. Because, as we all know, the sisterhood is all about worthy victims. So Maleficient is allowed to hurt countless people because she was metaphorically raped, but the King is painted as a bad guy for seizing power after a lifetime of hardship and saving her life. Maleficient has never had to go hungry. She’s never had to suffer.

When she does suffer, she wants everyone else to suffer along with her. Arguably the one redeemable feature of this movie is the fact that Maleficient does eventually realize what a bitch she’s been for 17 years. Better late than never, I guess. She tries to reverse her curse, but it doesn’t work. Only through the love and compassion she has for Aurora can she break the spell.

Which is kind of messed up when you consider that she keeps a raven as her personal slave and constantly uses him as a tool for her own ends. Oh yeah, and never mind that the King goes insane with the guilt of his own actions, and that she then kills a mentally ill man after terrorizing him for years. Yeah, we hear almost nothing about that.

So, in reality, this is not a move to create more complex villains but instead a shift of the focus to men. Who of course can never be complex or feel pain, and, hey, men are expendable, so no one will care if they die. It is basically a movie shifting blame to men while the female protagonist abuses them when it suits her.

Beyond the special effects and somewhat decent performances is the recycling of a story. It is in many ways a missed opportunity and does nothing but pander to the girl power demographic while reinforcing modern stereotypes. So much for the new modern Disney.

Rick Remender is called a rape apologist

Captain America writer Rick Remender recently came under fire after a misunderstanding about a series of panels portraying a possible sex scene between Captain Falcon and Jet Zola. What was obviously the actions of two consenting adults became an act of statutory rape after a man on Tumblr posted that Remender had turned Captain Falcon into a rapist and that Jet Zola had been only 14 and not at least 23, as it had been stated in the panels before the implied encounter.

The post in question received 1,868 notes in total, and the results of which had several people demanding that Remender be fired for portraying underage sex and racial stereotypes. Both claims were entirely untrue, as the scene portrayed Jet Zora serving Falcon wine and the two waking up in bed together the next morning. Two consenting adults had a few drinks and went to bed; it was nothing more and nothing less.

Many had not read the previous panel that had stated Jet Zola’s age, a mention that she’d had the same wine on her 23rd birthday. So they of course made a mess of it, creating Twitter campaigns and articles demanding that Remender be kicked off  the project. What is most disturbing in all this is not that social justice warriors are doing what they are good at. It’s more that their stupidity knows no bounds, and that nothing is beyond their reach. Not nerd culture, and not even the sex lives of superheroes. So perhaps it’s only a matter of time before they sanitize it like everything else.

Is Sailor Moon … feminist?

With the arrival of the new Sailor Moon anime, fans were asking a myriad of different questions. The one traveling through Tumblr was if Sailor Moon was feminist. And for those who were convinced she was, was she feminist enough?

The answer, however, is probably not one that feminists want to hear. Which is that it’s downright ridiculous to attach labels to fictional characters because they belong to everyone. Sailor Moon as a story and a character is not even remotely political. It is instead the story of young women growing up in extraordinary situations.

At its heart, it is the story of girls continuously sacrificing every ounce of normalcy from their lives to guard their planet from evil entities. The message is one of love, compassion, understanding, teamwork, and self-sacrifice. Most important is the message that social justice warriors miss: with great power comes great sacrifice.

Too often the ones complaining about the show miss this important lesson. They are more concerned with the girl power aspect of the show and tend not to notice how much this tends to rear its ugly head. Though the main characters are powerful, they suffer for it. The story is often centered around the protection of an all-powerful crystal, and while it has the power to save and heal the planet, it also has the power to destroy everything if it falls into the wrong hands.

So these ordinary girls sacrifice their lives, goals, and dreams to save the planet. As a result, they become distant from friends and family, to the point that it even becomes a plot point in Act Two of the comics. Sailor Moon’s future daughter causes problems as a result of the strained relationship between her and her mother, who is seen as being almost a goddess. She simply cannot relate to her and as a result sets events in motion that put the future in a state of peril.

Their story is one of constant sacrifice. It teaches girls that as with all things, there are trade-offs. We alone can choose the people we want to be. We must choose the things we are willing to sacrifice for our goals. Overall, the story is a good one. It is an unapologetic romance that is sure to get feminist panties in a bunch. It is a fairy tale wrapped in Japanese and Western mythos. One guaranteed to brighten your day and make you believe in miracles once again.

Nancy Silberkleit accused of gender discrimination

Archie Comics co-CEO Nancy Silberkleit has been accused of gender discrimination. Five male employees filed a lawsuit citing what they felt was discriminatory behavior on the part of Silberkleit. The employees state that she used her gender as weapon.

“The word ‘penis’ became somewhat of a campaign slogan and her preferred method of referring to employees in lieu of their names,” their new filing says.

The employees describe threatening behavior on her part that made them feel unsafe. So much so that they hired an armed guard and filed a restraining order to keep her at least two miles from the building. The co-CEO has denied any wrongdoing, but her actions seem to give clues at to her true nature.

Silberkleit demanded that the suit be tossed out because “white guys aren’t members of ‘a protected class.'” If reports are true, she also brought in Hell’s Angels in an attempt to intimidate employees, and asked repeatedly about the handgun and 750 rounds of ammo her husband kept at the office. She was also accused of stalking both employees and their families.

The CEO had this to say: “I have not had any interactions with these people,” she said. “It’s all very puzzling. I don’t know what’s going on in their heads.”

Rachel Edwards
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Rachel Edwards

<span class="dsq-postid" data-dsqidentifier="737">1 comment</span>

  • Hey – thanks so much for the regular film/tv reviews. Apart from the important influence of culture in our society, these reviews are very useful in deciding if something is suitable for kids or even when deciding what to watch on my own/with friends.

    It deserves a separate section (or maybe you should just invert the Feminist Bechdel rating system!)

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