Yesterday there was a new source of gender battle outrage on the internets, as spelled out by The Mary Sue. It seems that director James Gunn, who has made the film Super and is slated to write and direct GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY has a very active website and online presence and nearly two years ago he ran a piece called 50 Superheroes you want to have sex with that included all kinds of jokes about having sex and rape and gays.
The explosion of outrage over this flooded out from Tumblr on Tuesday night and a doubtless terrified Gunn took down the post in question, but the cache lives on. A lot of people wrote smart angry things about it, including Rachel Edidin, and a lot of people are saying that Disney should Do Something and remove him from the directorial chair of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. In fact, a petition with 4000 signatures already exists.
Which is something I’m not entirely comfortable with, to be honest. (Here’s a similar opinion.) I didn’t like the piece, but it was about what superheroes you’d like to fuck. You know, one of those stupid make believe things that Ask Men runs. Gunn was trying to be a lads mag writer—remember FHM and Maxim?—and it was almost funny in spots but not really. This is not the same as saying it was satire and should be excused on those grounds. I mean what did you expect? “The White Queen is sexy and I would like to gently caress her womanly garden.” I was actually surprised that he knew so much about comics—he might even know who Rocket Raccoon is already. I thought what he wrote could have been so much worse, to be honest. Disney generally keeps the women in its superhero movies fairly competent, so I’m not too alarmed that the movie will be filled with lesbians being raped by men to turn them into sex slaves. But, based on this, I’m not sure GUARDIANS will be all that funny…we don’t need another tepid Fantastic Four movie, that’s for sure
I guess I’m jaded because what Gunn wrote is no worse than what 90% of guys have thought at some point, and probably 90% of the people who have directed superhero movies that we all loved in the past have made similar jokes. I mean, I’m not exactly sure that Sam Raimi wanted to do Kitty Pryde in the butt, but I’m sure somewhere, at some time, he had a picture of the Invisible Woman taped inside his notebook. Maybe even right this very minute.
Which isn’t to say that Gunn doesn’t need to come out and say mea culpa and Gamora is his favorite Guardian and he supports Malala Yousafzai. It’s a good consciousness raising exercise, and a heckuva introduction to his future fan base. I just feel that the outrage energy is better directed at getting more opportunities for women and less at stopping men from having inappropriate sexy thoughts about imaginary women, because that will never, ever stop. Sorry.
Although there is a funny book called Porn for Women full of stuff like this:
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.